History of the Green Book: Ways to Explore the Schomburg Center's Collection of Victor Hugo Green's Green Books

By NYPL Staff
February 25, 2019
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Green Book covers

Green Book Covers: 1948, 1950, 25th Anniversary

"For anyone who may be interested in what the Green Book actually was, here is a link to more information about this act of resistance and source of love and survival for many African-Americans. It started with Victor Hugo Green." —Ava DuVernay

While the film Green Book was receiving Oscars, Ava DuVernay's tweet spotlighted the man behind Green Books, Victor Hugo Green. For those interested in Victor Green's work and the history of Green Books, the Schomburg Center's collection of Green Books can be explored digitally.

Victor Hugo Green

Victor Hugo Green, The Negro Travelers' Green Book: Fall 1956

From 1936 to 1966, Victor Hugo Green, a postal worker who worked in New Jersey and lived in Harlem, published the directories known today as the Green Book. The actual titles included The Negro Motorist Green Book, The Negro Travelers' Green Book, and The Travelers' Green Book. The books listed hotels, restaurants, beauty salons, nightclubs, bars, and gas stations where Black travelers would be welcome. In an age of sundown towns, segregation, and lynching, the Green Book became an indispensable tool for safe navigation.

Here are a couple of ways you can begin to explore the Schomburg Center's Green Books collection.

Green Books Research Guide

The Schomburg Center's new research guide on Green Books provides a starting point for exploring the history and context of Green Books, from articles to books.

Green Books in Digital Collections

View the digitized Green Books in the Schomburg Center's collections.

Navigating the Green Book

Explore the Schomburg Center's Green Books collection with an interactive mapping tool. Map a trip with Green Books or view a Green Books map.

Note: Background information from Schomburg Treasures: The Green Book by K Menick of Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.