The real 'Green Book' is in Hagley's collection - Technical.ly Delaware

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Feb. 26, 2019 10:20 am

The real ‘Green Book’ is in Hagley’s collection

An original 1946 copy of "The Negro Motorist Green-Book" lives in Delaware and can be accessed digitally.

The Hagley Museum.

(Photo by Flickr user Doramon, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Academy Awards’ selection of “Green Book” for Best Picture has been more than a little controversial. One thing most can agree on, though, is that the actual Green Book, more formally known as “The Negro Motorist Green-Book: A Classified Motorist’s & Tourist’s Guide Covering the United States,” is an important piece of 20th century history.

Few original copies of the guide, which was published from 1936 through 1966 by New Jersey postal worker Victor Green, are still around, but Wilmington’s Hagley Museum inherited a 1946 copy just last year, when the museum acquired the John Margolies Collection of Travel Ephemera.

The green book guided Black travelers to hotels, restaurants, barbershops, colleges and newspapers that accepted Black patrons. Delaware’s 1946 listings included Delaware State University (then called State College for Colored Students), the Walnut St. YMCA and a couple of hotels on the 700 block of French street, now the site of the government center.

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As part of Hagley’s expansive archives, you can’t currently go see the book on display — but you can access the whole thing in Hagley’s digital archives.

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