©2019 by Sean Whitehurst

The Green Book: Guide to Freedom (2019) <><><><>

This is a documentary from The Smithsonian Channel about The Green Book. It was free to purchase on Google Play or if you have access to The Smithsonian Channel.

https://www.smithsonianchannel.com/shows/the-green-book-guide-to-freedom/0/3467847


This documentary goes through the history of The Green Book. It gave me a new perspective on pre-1960s travel across the entire United States. Where Green Book (the Oscar winning film) focused on struggles of traveling in the South, this movie focuses on the entire country. The documentary spends plenty of time talking about how segregation in the north was more subtle than the south. This led to issues for black motorists, because where they could and could not go was not obvious. The Green Book was an essential travel guide and helped black businesses flourish.


My biggest gripe with the documentary is the third act. It is spent talking about the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama. It is very informative and the only issue I have with it, is that it moves away from discussion of The Green Book. It does cover an acute battle in the war for civil rights very well. I felt it distracted a little from focus on The Green Book and black run businesses.


The documentary ends with the post segregation era. The Green Book directed blacks to black run businesses, the end of segregation led to the demise of these same businesses. The black community used to support black businesses because they had to. Newly found freedom caused these businesses often lost their niche clientele to competition with bigger white run businesses.


If you enjoyed The Green Book, I suggest Trigger Warning with Killer Mike, season 1 episode 1, Living Black. It is a great modern day look at where black run businesses are. There is a movement today among the black community to keep their dollars within the community. www.webuyblack.com serves as a modern day Green Book for those that want to support black businesses.

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