Destinations, Landmarks and Trails

In the segregated US of the mid-twentieth century, African-American travelers could have a hard time finding towns where they were legally allowed to stay at night and hotels, restaurants, and service stations willing to serve them. In 1936, Victor Hugo Green published the first annual volume of The Negro Motorist Green Book, later renamed The Negro Travelers' Green Book. This facsimile of the 1954 edition brings you all the listings, travelogues, and advertisements aimed at the Black travelers trying to find their way across a country where they were so rarely welcome.​

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This is a thorough examination of the Whitney's evolution-- from the precise routes slaves crossed to arrive at the plantation's doors to the records of the men, women, and children who were bound to the Whitney over the years. Although Bouki Fait does not shy away from depicting the daily brutalities slaves faced, at the book's heart are the robust culinary and musical cultures that arose from their shared sense of community and homesickness.

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Through this lens, museum workers and public historians can develop compelling and ethical representations of historical individuals, communities, and populations who have suffered. It includes various examples of difficult knowledge, detailed examples of specific interpretation methods, and will give readers an in-depth explanation of the psychoanalytic educational theories behind the methodologies. Audiences can more responsibly and productively engage in learning histories of oppression and trauma when they are in measured and sensitive museum learning environments and public history venues.​

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Salamishah Tillet examines how contested figures, events, memories, locations, and experiences related to chattel slavery—such as the allegations of a sexual relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, the characters Uncle Tom and Topsy in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, African American tourism to slave forts in Ghana and Senegal, and the legal challenges posed by reparations movements.​

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 The vast majority of slavery sites construct narratives of history that valorize a white elite of the pre-emancipation South and trivialize the experience of slavery for both enslaved people and their enslavers.​

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​The fascinating story of a friendship, a lost tradition, and an incredible discovery, revealing how enslaved men and women made encoded quilts and then used them to navigate their escape on the Underground Railroad.

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​A pictorial and documentary history of the Afro-American's role in the frontier. Beginning with the 1600's and the first traders and trappers, the author traces the Negro's trek westward with the constant changing of the frontier.

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Los Angeles is well-known as a temperate paradise with expansive beaches and mountain vistas, a booming luxury housing market, and the home of glamorous Hollywood. During the first half of the twentieth century, Los Angeles was also seen as a mecca for both African Americans and a steady stream of migrants from around the country and the world, transforming Los Angeles into one of the world’s most diverse cities. 

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​In South of Pico Kellie Jones explores how the artists in Los Angeles's black communities during the 1960s and 1970s created a vibrant, productive, and engaged activist arts scene in the face of structural racism. 

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Black San Francisco is considerably broader in scope than any previous study of African-Americans in the West. It provides extensive coverage of the city's black community during the Great Depression and the New Deal, details civil rights activities from 1915 to 1954, and provides extensive biographical material on local black leaders.​

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For this once-remote city, music forged links as real as those created by railroads and steamships. Classical music embodied the middle-class aspirations for gentility and cosmopolitan stature; jazz and blues gave Seattle's small African American community a vehicle for affirmation and economic advancement; ethnic music helped immigrants adjust to a new home; songs and drumming kept the memories of the Duwamish alive in a changing world. 

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The black migration to San Francisco and the Bay Area differed from the mass movement of Southern rural blacks and their families into the eastern industrial cities. Those who traveled West, or arrived by ship, were often independent, sophisticated, single men. Many were associated with the transportation boom following the Gold Rush; others traveled as employees of wealthy individuals.

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Told through the eyes of author and native Las Vegan Trish Geran, she narrates her Aunt Magnolia's life and times in Las Vegas, experiences that occurred from 1942 to 1960 and stories passed on by early settlers. While searching in her aunt's garden, Trish discovers the evidence that proves what she constantly heard while growing up in Las Vegas, that black people played a major role in the development of Las Vegas.

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The guidebook covers fourteen regions east and west of the Mississippi that represent St. Louis’s rich African American heritage. In the words of historian Gary Kremer, “No one who reads this book and visits and contemplates the places and peoples whose stories it recounts will be able to look at St. Louis in the same way ever again.”

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The city of St. Louis is known for its African American citizens and their many contributions to the culture within its borders, the country, and the world. Images of Modern America: African American St. Louis profiles some of the events that helped shape St. Louis from the 1960s to the present. Tracing key milestones in the citys history, this book attempts to pay homage to those African Americans who sacrificed to advance fair socioeconomic conditions for all.

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This fully illustrated guide to the Smithsonian's newest museum takes visitors on a journey through the richness and diversity of African American culture and the history of a people whose struggles, aspirations, and achievements have shaped the nation. Opened in September 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture welcomes all visitors who seek to understand, remember, and celebrate this history. The guidebook provides a comprehensive tour of the museum, including its magnificent building and grounds and eleven permanent exhibition galleries dedicated to themes of history, community, and culture.

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This book chronicles the rich but little-known history of the Georgetown black community from the colonial period to the present. Black Georgetown Remembered records the hopes and dreams, the disappointments and successes, of a vibrant neighborhood as it persevered through slavery and segregation, war and peace, prosperity and depression. 

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Approximately 75 A–Z entries cover the most significant stations on the Underground Railroad. Illustrations and maps help readers envision routes and strategies of railroad "conductors".  Interactive sidebars offer a firsthand glimpse into the arduous nature of Underground Railroad journeys, the decisions made, and the plans involved. Primary source letters and diary entries detail actual incidents that took place.

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A guide to over 150 sites and landmarks important to African-American culture.​

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The guidebook covers fourteen regions east and west of the Mississippi that represent St. Louis’s rich African American heritage. In the words of historian Gary Kremer, “No one who reads this book and visits and contemplates the places and peoples whose stories it recounts will be able to look at St. Louis in the same way ever again.”

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Culled from the records of the National Register of Historic Places, a roster of all types of significant properties across the United States, African American Historic Places includes over 800 places in 42 states and two U.S. territories that have played a role in black American history. Banks, cemeteries, clubs, colleges, forts, homes, hospitals, schools, and shops are but a few of the types of sites explored in this volume...

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No other state has embraced and preserved its civil rights history more thoroughly than Alabama. Nor is there a place where that history is richer. Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail tells of Alabama’s great civil rights events, as well as its lesser-known moments, in a compact and accessible narrative, paired with a practical guide to Alabama’s preserved civil rights sites and monuments.

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​In Staging the Blues, Paige A. McGinley shows that even though folklorists, record producers, and festival promoters set the theatricality of early blues aside in favor of notions of authenticity, it remained creatively vibrant throughout the twentieth century. Highlighting performances by Rainey, Smith, Lead Belly, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGhee in small Mississippi towns, Harlem theaters, and the industrial British North, this pioneering study foregrounds virtuoso blues artists who used the conventions of the theater, including dance, comedy, and costume, to stage black mobility, to challenge narratives of racial authenticity, and to fight for racial and economic justice.

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Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Memphis Minnie, Jimmie Rodgers, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Howlin' Wolf, B. B. King, Little Milton, Elvis Presley, Bobby Rush, Junior Kimbrough, R. L. Burnside-the list of great artists with Mississippi connections goes on and on. A trip through Mississippi blues sites is a pilgrimage every music lover ought to make at least once in a lifetime, to see the juke joints and churches, to visit the birthplaces and graves of blues greats, to walk down the dusty roads and over the levee, to eat some barbecue and greens, to sit on the bank of the Mississippi River, and to hear some down-home blues music.

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The guidebook covers fourteen regions east and west of the Mississippi that represent St. Louis’s rich African American heritage. In the words of historian Gary Kremer, “No one who reads this book and visits and contemplates the places and peoples whose stories it recounts will be able to look at St. Louis in the same way ever again.”

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Blue as the Lake maps out an African-American landscape unique in American literature. From Idlewild, the black resort on Lake Michigan where he vacationed as a child with his grandparents, to Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, Robert Stepto traces a history of generations finding and making a home. His family lore careens through American history- we meet a black regiment in World War I; legendary jazz musician Coleman Hawkins, and Inabel Burns, pioneering feminist and great-granddaughter of slaves.​

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The first book devoted to the history of African Americans in south Florida and their pivotal role in the growth and development of Miami, Black Miami in the Twentieth Century traces their triumphs, drudgery, horrors, and courage during the first 100 years of the city's history. Firsthand accounts and over 130 photographs, many of them never published before, bring to life the proud heritage of Miami's black community. 

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A unique travel guides takes readers on a historical and cultural journey through New York highlighting all of the historic sites, museums, galleries, shopping, tours, nightclubs, and other attractions relevant to African-American history, from the renowned Apollo Theater to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.​

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African Americans of Martha's Vineyard have an epic history. From the days when slaves toiled away in the fresh New England air, through abolition and Reconstruction and continuing into recent years, African Americans have fought arduously to preserve a vibrant culture here. Discover how the Vineyard became a sanctuary for slaves during the Civil War and how many blacks first came to the island as indentured servants...Scott Joplin...Harry T. Burleigh...Martin Luther King Jr. vacationed here...

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Thelonius Monk, Billy Taylor, and Maceo Parker--famous jazz artists who have shared the unique sounds of North Carolina with the world--are but a few of the dynamic African American artists from eastern North Carolina featured in The African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina. This first-of-its-kind travel guide will take you on a fascinating journey to music venues, events, and museums that illuminate the lives of the musicians and reveal the deep ties between music and community. Interviews with more than 90 artists open doors to a world of music, especially jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, gospel and church music, blues, rap, marching band music, and beach music.​

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Travel Books to Add to Your Must Read List

 

Destinations, Historic Landmarks and Travel Trails

First in a three-part series, NoirGuides has curated a listing of 30 African American travel books focused on important U.S. Destinations, Historic Landmarks, and Travel Trails. Written primarily by Black authors, our selection is based on readings which offer historic context essential to understanding the rich legacy and contributions of African Americans. For travel planning as well as interested readers.