“Carry your Green Book with you. You may need it.”
If you were a Black traveler journeying through the segregated South, odds are you may have heard these words before setting off. From 1936 – 1967, The Negro Motorist Green Book published by Victor Hugo Green, was a guide where Black travelers found friendly businesses that would serve them while traveling. The Green Book, as it became widely known, helped many Black people safely navigate their travels during the Jim Crow Era.
Fast forward to 2023, and the launch of a new resource guide for the greater UT community entitled The Volunteer Orange Book. The Orange Book was initially conceived by a larger working group. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) asked for permission to move forward as a smaller project with Dorian L. McCoy, CEHHS Access and Engagement director, serving as the lead. However, McCoy will be the first to say that bringing The Orange Book to life was indeed a team effort, especially through the significant contributions of FUTURE intern, Asjha McAllister and CEHHS Marketing and Communications team.
This February, McCoy will moderate a panel about the legacy of the Green Book on Friday, February 13th, from 6-8 p.m. at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center. Presented by CEHHS Office of Access and Engagement, The Beck Cultural Exchange Center, and the UT Commission for Black Communities, a highly-regarded panel will discuss the impact of the Green Book through the lenses of scholarly research and lived experiences.
Derek Alderman, Stefanie Benjamin, Sylvia Peters, and Theotis Robinson, Jr., comprise the panel and will discuss how the Green Book inspired a legacy of resistance and empowerment felt today in the Black community. All are invited to travel to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and join in the conversation. It promises to be an enjoyable evening of learning and understanding.
Since its launch, The Orange Book has become a widely-utilized resource, offering minoritized populations at UT a guide to the Knoxville area and highlights a number of “hidden gems” in the small-business community. What started out as a simple book is morphing into a dynamic web site, with regularly-updated content sure to please many.
You can register at http://tiny.utk.edu/BHM-GreenBook