Overground Railroad (The Young Adult Adaptation): The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America

Abrams. Jan. 2022. 272p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781419749490.
Gr 7 Up–Adapting her phenomenal exploration of Black travel, Taylor outfits this identically titled offering with the pacing and organization perfect for a younger audience. For nearly 30 years, the Green Book provided Black travelers with listings of safe places to find goods and services first throughout the U.S., then around the world. Particularly prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, driving while Black, especially in “sundown towns,” could very well be deadly. Victor Hugo Green, a mailman by day, set about the life-saving task of listing businesses—accommodations, restaurants, barber shops, beauty salons, tailors, gas stations, nightclubs, and more—that could be relied upon to serve Black travelers reliably and with dignity. This was an especially tricky proposition in the segregated South, but was not much easier in the redlined cities of the North where discrimination was practiced more covertly. The Green Book served as “an ingenious solution to a horrific problem” and Taylor walks readers through its many iterations as it guided travelers along roads, rails, and even through the air, describing the many complications that continuously arose for Black travelers, who frequently found themselves following the rules and still being hassled by racists. Exceptionally supported with photographs, maps, newspaper articles, and other artifacts, this is a priceless addition for researchers and readers seeking to understand not just the complexities and insidiousness of centuries of systemic racism in America, but the drive and determination required to fight white supremacy.
VERDICT An essential first purchase for all school and public libraries.

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