I’ve just learned this exciting news – Jim Crow era Green Books are now available in digitized form courtesy of the New York Public Library Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – a fine institution to be sure.
Green Books were travel guides for black families traveling through the segregated nation. By the 1940s, the guides included the mid-Atlantic, the South, The Midwest, and the West Coast. The books provided information on establishments such as hotels and restaurants that catered to black folks – and thus people were able to avoid confrontations with the proprietors of “white only” establishments.
You can find this profoundly significant resource HERE.
Today I offer a Southern Pacific Railroad broadside promoting California tourism. This example, a William Howard Bull print from 1897, features elements of the known: Christianity, combined with the foreignness of Spanish mission architecture.
This type of imagery proved enticing indeed for well-to-do easterners looking to broaden their life experiences with a trip to the Pacific coast. Many found the region so appealing that they stuck around (and gave me something to write about…thanks).
But whether they stayed temporarily or set up housekeeping one thing is for sure: tourism never really faded. Anyone trying to find a parking place on a weekend day in Hollywood can attest to that.