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Green Book Listings: City-based diffusion, 1940-1960

Authors: Charles Barbieri*, SUNY - Geneseo, Elijah Freiman*, SUNY - Geneseo
Topics: Historical Geography
Keywords: Green book, diffusion, listings, 1940, 1950, 1960
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Before the eponymous movie released last year, the Green Book was a little-known feature of African-Americans’ struggle to achieve safe and easy travel throughout the United States. It afforded opportunities to obtain accommodation, fuel, and food from businesses receptive to African American customers. Our paper explores the geography of Green Book listings across a spectrum of 50 cities between 1940 and 1960, the latter shortly before the Green Books ceased publication as the Civil Rights movement made the listings increasingly superfluous. The results demonstrate shifts in the composition of businesses, such as the decline of “tourist homes” and the ascension of motels. The results also show stagnation and decline in northern cities when listings remained numerous in the Jim Crow South.

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