Hidden History: Green Book

Traveling in the 1930's through the 60's wasn't easy for black Americans.

That's why one man created The Negro Motorist Green Book.

It was a guide to let black people know where they could stop in certain cities.

From 1936 to 1966 many black travelers relied on The Negro Motorist Green Book to find safe places to stop while on the road.

"It wasn't very pleasant in some towns for African Americans and there were even unwritten laws on the road. There were unwritten laws that we had to know that we had to know that other people wouldn't have to know," said Linda Vaughn, a retired educator. 

The book was created by a mailman, Victor Hugo Green.

He wanted to make sure others knew where they could and could not go. 

"There were places that we couldn't even get gas and if you got gas, you couldn't use the restroom."

Amarillo was known to have 21 different places in the book, including several restaurants, motels, a tailor and an auto shop.

Vaughn, a retired educator remembers her mother using a Green Book when she was a child.

She says while on a road trip to Houston, she was confused as to why they couldn't stay in a hotel.

"There is an open sign and it said Tradewinds Motel and I was so excited we were going to stay in a motel and she pulled in on the south side of the road and pulls out a pillow and says go to sleep and says lay back and go to sleep, we are under a light, we will all be ok and in my head I am thinking, oh my God, we are poor."

Later, her mother realized she was upset.

"I said we couldn't stay in that hotel last night, I thought we were poor, she said no sweetie, that isn't the reason we couldn't stay in the hotel, we couldn't stay in the hotel because we are black and they don't let blacks stay in those hotels."

Vaughn says although the memories may be hurtful, it is important for everyone to remember history and learn from it.    

"It is history, it is one of those things that has been lived, it has, made people a little stronger and sometimes it has made people a little more hateful."

For Vaughn, the history has made her stronger.

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