‘Driving Without Privilege’ lecture examines the locations, importance and continued legacy of ‘The Green Book’

'Driving Without Privilege' lecture examines the locations, importance and continued legacy of 'The Green Book'

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Historian Lettie Shumate said 50 Wilmington locations were included in The Green Book, a guidebook for African American travelers, published annually by Victor H. Green from 1936 to 1966.

Shumate will lead a lecture on the lasting significance of the book at an event Tues., Oct. 15 at the Bellamy Mansion Museum, 503 Market Street, Wilmington. The title of her lecture is “Driving Without Privilege: The Negro Motorist Green Book.”

“It goes beyond just the Green Book itself and looks at the way the Jim Crow era and automobile culture contributed to the creation of The Green Book,” Shumate said. “I show how black people were resilient in the face of racism and Jim Crow and how that resilience continues today.”

The Green Book provided a list of restaurants, taverns, hotels, service stations and other establishments throughout the U.S. that welcomed African American patrons during a time when segregation and Jim Crow laws made travel difficult and dangerous.

Her lecture will focus on the book’s impact on the rising middle class of African Americans, how tourism and travel represented physical freedom through automobiles and how driving without privilege in history has evolved today.

The Green Book represented empowerment, was a form of resistance, and more people need to know how it contributed to our country’s history,” said Shumate, a UNCW graduate who is on the Bellamy Mansion Board of Directors. “When you truly read and pay attention to history’s facts, it continuously shows us the sacrifices, strength, hope, and resilience of black people in this country.”

The free lecture begins at 6:30 pm at the Bellamy Mansion Museum; however, donations are encouraged.

More information is available here.

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