Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ruth and the Green Book, by Calvin Alexander Ramsey. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

Did you ever hear of the The Negro Motorist Green Book by Victor Green? Well, neither did I, until I read this book. Did you know that as late as the 1960's, African-Americans travelling in the southern states would not be served in most restaurants, were not allowed to stay in hotels, and could not use restrooms in many gas stations? This fiction story tells of a family traveling from Chicago to Alabama to visit Grandma. On their way, the family is confronted with the Jim Crow laws in the South which forbade blacks and whites from mixing. Luckily for Ruth and her family, an actual person named Victor H. Green wrote The Negro Motorist Green Book, which listed places where African-Americans were welcome to stay overnight, eat, shop, get a haircut, or use the rest rooms. This story is an excellent history lesson, while at the same time showing how people helped each other out during these trying times. Floyd Cooper's soft illustrations accurately portray the towns and cars of the time.

The last page of this softly illustrated book gives a factual history of the Negro Motorist Green Book and explains that the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 outlawed these practices .


C. Buchanan

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