Welcome & Updates

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Above: Green Books courtesy of the following collections: 1940 Edition (far left) and 1960 Edition (far right) – New York Public Library/Schomburg online collection / Spring 1956 Edition – South Caroliniana Library / Below: Cover text from 1959 Edition – New York Public Library/Schomburg online collection / See information at the bottom of this page about where to find Green Books online and in research libraries

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WELCOME to THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES, a one hour documentary

Featuring over 30 interviews filmed in six locations with stories related to Victor Green’s travel guides for African Americans published from 1936 – 66/67, our film combines live action with historic photos/film and mixed-media animation.

We’re in the final stage of interviews, transitioning to post production and hoping to release the film in 2019, pending raising of finishing funds. See detailed production information and photos from our more recent shoots in Myrtle Beach SC, Birmingham AL, Washington DC, New York City NY (second time), and Newark NJ below. Check out the OVERVIEW tab above for general information about Victor Green and the Green Books as well as our initial shoots in Atlanta GA and New York City NC (first time).

Screen our video trailer via the TRAILER tab and, to help support completion with a tax deductible contribution, visit our DONATE tab. Any amount, large or small, helps get us to the finish line!

We are ever grateful to Mary Lonergan and the Len Ragozin Foundation; Ray Curry and UAW Region 8; Associate Producers, Dr. Michael R. Ragan and Dr. Deborah V. Payton George; Curtis Graves; our Facebook fans; and the many angels who have supported us so far on this journey! THANK YOU!

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CHECK OUT OUR NEW MENU TABS ABOVE!

READING: For books by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and related Green Book, Great Migration, and Civil Rights publications by other authors

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“MAPPING JIM CROW”: 2:00 Motion media segment for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES directed, designed, and animated by Kelly Ann Turner with original score by Hank Roberts and Tenzin of Lyra Music

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Visit our Facebook page for the latest updates (button in the upper right corner of this page), including:

The First Annual

VICTOR and ALMA GREEN

APPRECIATION DAY

in Harlem

Sunday, November 18, 2018 from 3:00 – 6:00 pm at the Morris-Jumel Mansion (Manhattan’s Oldest House) 65 Jumel Terrace near 160th/162nd St

Free to the public / Hosted by Calvin Alexander Ramsey with Proclamations signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and others / See our Facebook page for more information

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Honored that Congressman John Lewis, Civil Rights Leader, granted us permission to use his interview about the Green Book in THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES / 2011 Interview created for the Center for Puppetry Arts’ (Atlanta GA) production of “Ruth and the Green Book”, adapted and directed by Jon Ludwig based on the children’s book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey / Videography by Clay Walker / Produced by special arrangement with the Lerner Publishing Group

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SCREENING IN NYC and PERFORMANCE IN CHICAGO

A new 13:00 sample edit from our film-in-progress (edited by Kelly Rose Magnusson of Kelly Rose Productions, Atlanta) screened at the Museum of Arts and Design, NYC (3/1 through 4/8/18) as part of their show, “Unpacking the Green Book: Travel and Segregation in Jim Crow America” featuring an April 5th presentation and Q and A session with Calvin, Becky, and Maira Liriano, Associate Chief Librarian from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. See photos below with more on our Facebook page.

http://madmuseum.org/events/green-book-chronicles-screening-and-discussion-calvin-alexander-ramsey

And at the same time… Calvin Ramsey’s play, “The Green Book” ran at the Pegasus Theatre in Chicago for the month of March (2018) not long after his presentation about his Green Book projects and our film-in-progress at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, February 1st.

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Above: Museum of Arts and Design (NYC) screening of film excerpts plus Q and A with Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Becky Wible Searles, and Maira Liriano (photos by Jimmy E. Searles) / Lower left: Program from Pegasus Theatre (Chicago) production of “The Green Book

 

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Above: Stills from the Museum of Arts and Design screening (l to r): Phillis Holliday (Atlanta GA), Herbert Riley and Dino Thompson (Myrtle Beach SC), and Winter Shepherd (Birmingham AL)

 

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Our goal is to complete a few remaining interviews in early 2019, including the “Black Pearl” historically black beach in Atlantic Beach, SC with listings in the Green Book as well as additional sites in Atlanta so that we can focus on post production (editing, animation, commissioning music, acquiring other photo/video/music rights, etc.) (Above: Vintage Postcard “Street Scene in Atlantic Beach”)

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Above: Historic Charlie’s Place, a night club in Myrtle Beach SC (photo by Jack Thompson) and the 1951 Green Book listing

Interviews in Myrtle Beach, SC / December 2017

. . . focusing on the Green Book listing, Charlie’s Place/Fitzgerald’s Motel, and the initiative led by local musician and community activist, Herbert Riley, to keep the Charlie’s Place story alive, where blacks and whites were welcome, stellar musicians played and stayed (including Little Richard, Muddy Waters, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Fats Domino, among many others), shag dancing got its roots, and the KKK conducted a bloody raided in 1950.

In addition to Herbert, we interviewed Patricia Burgess about growing up next to Charlie’s Place (great to work with her son, Jay Burgess as our Myrtle Beach videographer!) and her long-time volunteer work with the historic Myrtle Beach Colored School Museum; Dino Thompson about his Greek immigrant family welcoming Charlie into their Kozy Korner cafe when other white-owned restaurants would not as well as Dino’s lifelong love of the jazz/boogie/soul music and shag dance scene at Charlie’s; City Councilman Mike Chestnut, owner of Big Mike’s Soul Food, working with Herbert to help raise awareness and funds for restoration of portions of Charlie’s Place into a combination of a museum (including a Green Book room) and small business spaces; and recent Myrtle Beach transplant, John Maloney, who was a white beat cop in Washington, DC just after the end of the Green Book era, recounting his many meals with fellow black officers at iconic soul food restaurants in DC, including Ben’s Chili Bowl, adding to our Washington, DC shoot below. For more pictures, visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/greenbookchronicles.

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Above: Charlie’s Place restoration in progress; (l to r) Jay Burgess, cinematographer for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES Myrtle Beach shoot; Herbert and Mary Riley and Dino Thompson celebrate the installation of the Charlie’s Place historic marker (10/18); Patricia Burgess sharing memories of Charlie and Sarah Fitzgerald at the Myrtle Beach Colored School Museum          

 

Interviews in Washington, DC / September 2017

We were honored and excited to get a second grant from the Len Ragozin Foundation, helping defray costs for our trip to Washington, DC in late September 2017 during the Congressional Black Caucus. Our primary focus was to interview Gloria and Solomon Herbert, publishers since 1994 of the award-winning “Black Meetings and Tourism” Magazine, clearly channeling the spirit and initiative of Victor and Alma Green. http://www.blackmeetingsandtourism.com

Also visited other Green Book sites in the historic U Street district and the magnificent National Museum of African American History and Culture that has a small but powerful, innovative interactive Green Book exhibit, built into half a real 1950’s car!

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Above: Solomon and Gloria Herbert, publishers of Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine, including the new Essential Green Book. (Magazine covers courtesy of BM&T)

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Above: Calvin Alexander Ramsey on historic U. Street in Washington DC in front of the landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl, serving “half smokes” since 1958. While Ben’s was not listed in the Green Books, many U. Street businesses around it were, including the Republic Gardens restaurant and nightclub which opened in the 1920’s, listed here in the 1938 Green Book in the “Theaters” section. The Republic Gardens building has gone through many changes over the years, but their iconic metal awning sign still exists. (photos by Jimmy E. Searles; Green Book cover and page courtesy of the New York Public Library/Schomburg Green Book online collection)

 

Interviews in Birmingham, AL / July 2017

Grateful to have received a grant in late spring 2017 from the UAW Region 8, spearheaded by Raymond Curry. This helped fund our summer 2017 shoot in Birmingham, AL focusing on the A.G Gaston Motel listed in the Green Book (see below) as a prominent gathering spot for African-Americans during Jim Crow as well as a headquarters for Dr. Martin Luther King and Civil Rights leaders. Bishop Calvin Wallace Woods, a “Foot Soldier” in the movement, graced us with an inspiring interview recounting his work with MLK, including the night the motel was bombed. Author Marie Sutton shared insights from her book about the Gaston and Charles Woods III (no relation to the Bishop) of The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute updated us about the Gaston’s recent designation as a National Monument with BCRI. Following up on Calvin’s Ramsey’s “The Green Book” play at Birmingham’s Red Mountain Theatre in February, we also interviewed Red Mountain Director, Keith Cromwell, and actor/high school sophomore, Winter Shepherd, about their personal involvement and vibrant audience reactions to the nearly sold performances.

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Above (l to r): From Birmingham: Author, Marie Sutton; postcard from the Gaston Motel; Civil Rights Foot Soldier, Bishop Calvin Wallace Woods; and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) Outreach Coordinator, Charles Woods III; Below: The Gaston Motel in July 2017 and listing in the 1959 Green Book (photos by Jimmy E. Searles / Green Book courtesy of New York Public Library / Schomburg online collection)

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Above: Director, Keith Cromwell, and Actor, Winter Shepherd, from Birmingham’s Red Mountain Theatre production of “The Green Book” by Calvin Alexander Ramsey (February 2017) (Left photo still from GBC shoot by Drew Francis, cinematographer; Right photo by Jimmy E. Searles

 

Interviews in New York City and Newark, NJ / December 2016

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Green Book specialist and cultural documentarian, Candacy Taylor, during her residency at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (For information about Taylor’s extensive work about the Green Book, including her book-in-progress “The Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America” to be published in Fall 2019 by Abrams, visit her website: http://taylormadeculture.com/the-green-book)

 

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Above: (left) Detail from historic postcard (c. 1938) of the Hotel Dunbar, Los Angeles, built in 1928 (originally as the Hotel Somerville) and listed in the Green Book, often referred to as the Waldorf Astoria of Black America (from laconservancy.org / Thomas Safran & Associates, Coalition for Responsible Community Development) / (right) Candacy Taylor at the Dunbar today; One of the handful of Green Book sites still in operation, the facility is now a senior center (photos by Abby Swanson KCRW)

 

Smitty's_Newark_Anthony_and Gordon_12_16_vlcsnap-2018-11-25-11h18m40s812Anthony Smith and Gordon Brown of Smitty’s ESSO Service Center, the first black family-owned gasoline and auto repair business in New Jersey, established in the 1930’s in Newark. ESSO gas stations were reliable sources for purchasing Green Books.

 

 

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Above: Historic photo of the first staff of Smitty’s ESSO Service Station, Newark, NJ circa 1930’s  Below: 1940’s newspaper ad for Smitty’s ESSO (courtesy of Anthony Smith, current owner and grandson of the original owner)

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Volmer_NYC_12_16_vlcsnap-2018-11-25-15h31m52s391Dr. Albert Vollmer, orthodontist, born in London and raised in Sweden, co-founded The Harlem Blues & Jazz Band “in 1973 with King Oliver’s trombonist/blues singer, Clyde Bernhardt, never suspecting that it would become one of the longer continually performing jazz groups in existence… The Harlem Blues & Jazz Band has as its main concept to keep significant side-men of the Classic Jazz Period working and not forgotten. The continued quality of this group has caused the band to be declared a National Treasure and one of the most authentic Swing Bands playing today.” (quote from the HBJB website / photo still from GBC shoot, Rob Niosi, cinematographer)

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Honored to have our film featured in major publications! See more listed below as well as in the STORIES & HISTORIES tab above (USA TODAY) and in our News and Events ARCHIVE to the right:

NEW YORK TIMES article by Eve M. Kahn:

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SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE article by Jacinda Townsend:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/history-green-book-african-american-travelers-180958506/

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Above left: 1962 Green Book page, courtesy of New York Public Library/Schomburg online collection; Right: Live action crew on location in Harlem, (l to r) Co-Producer, Calvin Alexander Ramsey; Production Assistant, TJ Jones; Director/Co-Producer, Becky Wible Searles, and Cinematographer for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES NYC, Newark NJ, and Washington DC shoots, Rob Niosi (photo by Jimmy E. Searles)

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Did YOU or anyone you know ever use the Green Book to travel or have a listing in it? If so, we’d love to hear your story to consider for this or future films.

Do you have an original Green Book? We’d love to see it!

See Contact Us above right.

 

Left: Calvin Alexander Ramsey (Co-Producer) and Becky Wible Searles (Director/Co-Producer) / Below: Associate Producers from Miami: Dr. Michael R. Ragan and Dr. Deborah V. Payton George

 

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Ads from Green Books: Upper left: 1954 Edition / Above: 1947 Edition

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CONGRATS! To Calvin Ramsey for winning the APEX AWARD for Distinguished Service to Individuals in the Travel Industry presented by “Black Meetings & Tourism” Magazine during the 4th Annual International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit & Trade Show in Miami, July 2017. http://www.blackmeetingsandtourism.com

 

 

lrf-logo-smHelp support completion of this project that has grown from an initial short film into a one hour film! Any amount, large or small, will help us get to the finish line!

See our DONATE tab in the menu above to make a tax deductible contribution through our fiscal sponsors, The Len Ragozin Foundation in NYC. You can also contact us directly or visit the Green Book Chronicles page on the Ragozin site:

http://www.lenragozinfoundation.org/the-green-book.html

Heartfelt thanks to all those who donated to our Indiegogo campaign, the Len Ragozin Fundraiser, and/or have made private donations so far . . .  We love our angels !

 

  • Check out Calvin Ramsey’s profile in HUMANS OF NEW YORK: facebook.com/humansofnewyork/photos/a.102107073196735.4429.102099916530784/958248650915902/

 

 

 

 

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Above: Pages from the 1960 Green Book, New York Public Library / Schomburg Center online collection

To view complete Green Books online:

The Green Books Collection (approximately 25 books in the largest known collection) at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYC (Division of the New York Public Library) / FREE TO DOWNLOAD: http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/collections/the-green-book#/?tab=about

1949 Edition at the University of Michigan                         http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/Race/R_Casestudy/Negro_motorist_green_bk.htm

1956 Spring Edition at the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia SC: http://library.sc.edu/digital/collections/greenbook.html

Small collections of Green Books can also be found in research archives across the country, such as the following locations in Atlanta, GA: Manuscript and Rare Book Library (MARBL) at Emory University, Auburn Avenue Library of Research on African American Culture and History, and Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library.

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NEWS and EVENTS

April 5, 2018: Museum of Arts and Design, New York City (NY) “The Green Book Chronicles: Screening and Discussion with Calvin Alexander Ramsey” plus a Q and A session with Calvin, Becky, and Maira Liriano (Associate Chief Librarian of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture)

March 1 – April 8, 2018: Museum of Arts and Design, New York City (NY) includes new 13:00 sample edit of “The Green Book Chronicles” as part of their show, “Unpacking the Green Book: Travel and Segregation in Jim Crow America” as an on-going screening in their Learning Lounge.

March 1 – April 1, 2018: Pegasus Theatre, Chicago (IL) presentation of “The Green Book” play by Calvin Ramsey http://pegasustheatrechicago.org/productions/the-green-book/

Watch this space for upcoming presentations by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Becky Wible Searles, and other events related to “The Green Book Chronicles”

News and Events ARCHIVE

March 22, 2018: Calvin Ramsey presentation with other children’s book writers at the 14th Annual National Black Writers Conference Youth Literacy Program “Healing, Legacy, and Activism” at Medgar Evers College / CUNY, Brooklyn, NY

November 17, 2017 – March 2018: Becky Wible Searles’ mixed-media xerography piece “Untitled” included in the Whitney Museum (NYC) show “Experiments in Electrostatics: Photocopy Work from the Whitney’s Collection, 1966-1986”

February 24, 2018: Revolution Books in Harlem hosts Calvin Ramsey for a presentation about “Ruth and the Green Book”

February 1, 2018: Calvin Ramsey presentation at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati (OH) about Green Book projects, including progress on “The Green Book Chronicles”

November 28, 2017: Calvin Ramsey’s play, “Damaged Virtues: A Cry from Within” reading at the National Black Theatre, NYC about three slave women under the knife of Dr. J. Marion Sims, known as the “Father of Modern Gynecology.”

July 29, 2017: The APEX Award for Distinguished Service presented to Calvin Ramsey by “Black Meetings and Tourism” Magazine at the 4th Annual International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit & Trade Show in Miami, July 2017.

March, 2017 issue of LOCALE PALATE: FOOD CULTURE OF THE SOUTH: “The Color of Safety: Calvin Alexander Ramsey Chronicles the History of the Green Book” by Jessie Howard with photo by Jimmy E. Searles

February 17-19, 2017: Calvin Ramsey’s “The Green Book” play presented to nearly sold-out audiences at Red Mountain Theatre, Birmingham AL; Keith Cromwell, Director / redmountaintheatre.org

December 2016: Shooting completed in NYC, including interviews with cultural documentarian, Candacy Taylor, Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; musicologist Dr. Albert Vollmer, leader/founder of the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band; and Smitty’s Service Center in Newark, NJ, family-owned by African-Americans since the 1930’s.

July 14, 2016 “Reflections on the Green Book” at the MARCH ON WASHINGTON FILM FESTIVAL, US Navy Museum, Washington DC 6:30 – 9:00pm; Panel includes Calvin Alexander Ramsey and screening of new 20:00 Work-in-Progress excerpt from “The Green Book Chronicles”

May 31, 2016: Calvin Ramsey nominated for the NAACP NYCHA Just R.E.A.D. (Recognize Education Achieves Destiny) Literacy Development Endeavor Award for “Ruth and the Green Book”; Ceremony and celebration at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYC July 7, 2016

May 14, 2016: Fundraiser for “The Green Book Chronicles” sponsored by the Len Ragozin Foundation, NYC

April 2016: Calvin Ramsey and “The Green Book Chronicles” are featured in an article in Smithsonian Magazine by Jacinda Townsend: “How the Green Book Helped African-Americans Navigate a Segregated Nation” http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/history-green-book-african-american-travelers-180958506/

February 12, 2016: “The Green Book Chronicles” received a production grant from the Len Ragozin Foundation, NYC

December 3, 2015: Calvin Ramsey was interviewed on the WUNC public radio show, “The State of Things”: http://wunc.org/post/green-book-chronicleshttp://wunc.org/post/green-book-chronicles

August 7, 2015: NEW YORK TIMES article by Eve M. Kahn featuring “The Green Book Chronicles”: “The ‘Green Book’ Legacy: A Beacon for Black Travelers” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/arts/design/the-green-book-legacy-a-beacon-for-black-travelers.html?_r=0

August 6-9, 2015: NYC Interviews and Location Shooting for “The Green Book Chronicles” including the Jacob Lawrence “One Way Ticket” Show at the Museum of Modern Art; The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and Minton’s

February 18, 2015: Calvin Ramsey presented progress on “The Green Book Chronicles” at the Brooklyn Historical Society (6:30pm)

January 18, 2015 (MLK Holiday): Calvin Ramsey reading of “Ruth and the Green Book” and book signing at the New York Historical Society, NYC

December 7, 2015: Calvin Ramsey presentation at the Stanford L. Warren Library, Durham, NC

July 19, 2015 NEW YORK TIMES Travel Section: Feature article about Calvin Ramsey and the Green Book projects with the online version released 7/14/15

January 21, 2014: Calvin Ramsey presentation at the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage, Bronx, NY

January 19, 2014: Calvin Ramsey at the North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, NC “Created Equal: Freedom Riders” film and guest speakers

August 13 – September 2, 2013: USA Today Special Edition about the March on Washington includes articles about the Green Book and Calvin Ramsey / See complete text in “Stories & Histories” above

September 1, 2013: Calvin Ramsey presentation at the Studio Museum in Harlem “Target Free Sundays: Books and Authors, Kids!” / 144 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027 studiomuseum.org

August 28, 2013: Article about Calvin Ramsey in the Washington Post: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/road-guide-for-african-american-civil-rights-activists-pointed-way-to-1963-march/2013/08/27/1085a2c4-0f64-11e3-8cdd-bcdc09410972_story.html

August 26, 2013 @ 6:00 pm: Calvin Ramsey presentation at the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) honoring Victor Green / 100 Indiana Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

June 8, 2013: Calvin Ramsey interviewed on NPR’s “Travel with Rick Steves” / Archive available at www.ricksteves.com/radio/program-archives.cfm

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