Overview

46

ABOUT OUR FILM

THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES:

Connecting with Victor and Alma Green’s Jim Crow Era Travel Guides

This one hour documentary is inspired by Co-Producer Calvin Alexander Ramsey’s extensive research and creative projects for over a decade focusing on the Jim Crow era travel guide series, “The Negro Motorist Green Book”, published by Harlem-based U. S. Post Office letter carrier, Victor H. Green, and his wife, Alma Green. The books were expanded in later years to include international destinations and renamed “The Negro Travelers Green Book” with Alma eventually taking on the leadership role.

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Above: Illustration for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES by Yohey Horishita

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Directed and co-produced by Becky Wible Searles in six locations around the U.S. (Atlanta GA, Birmingham AL, NYC, Washington DC, Newark NJ, and Myrtle Beach SC), the live interviews are woven around motion media and animation segments reflecting travel graphics and social issues from 1936-66, exploring more than 30 personal stories connected to this little known Civil Rights era story about safe travel. Our goal is to complete the project in 2019/20 with the help of grants, sponsorship, and private donations. (See our DONATE tab above for more information.)

The Greens published the Green Books between 1936 and 1966 as a travel guide for African Americans during the days of Jim Crow laws, listing addresses of tourist homes, gas stations, restaurants, beauty parlors, and other establishments that welcomed black travelers during times when many others did not. Even outside the deep South, travel could be inconvenient, embarrassing, or even dangerous if you were not white. The books were available at ESSO gas stations and other African American-friendly businesses, even including some white-owned establishments. Interestingly there were no phone numbers listed in the book, only addresses, so patrons would simply show up and be invited in, somewhat like a 20th century Underground Railroad.

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Above: Historic photo from the Hotel Dumas in Roanoke, VA, listed in the Green Book, and (on the right) the Dumas today, one of the few Green Book listings still standing Below: An article from the 1941 PM Daily describing the Green Books as being inspired by similar guidebooks for Jewish travelers and a 1960 Green Book full page ad for Vernon “Shaky” Terry’s ESSO Service Station in Malvern AL

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More listings and features were added over time to include the Greens’ own reservation bureau and tour services along with a variety of articles, such as tips about vacationing in locations from New York and Chicago to the Bahamas. Advertising from both black and white-owned businesses expanded from simple listings to full page graphic layouts with photos selling products such as shoes and perfume as well as a variety of services. Many editions also profiled supportive businesses, such as ESSO and Ford, as well as personalities like late-night radio DJ, Joe Rosenfield Jr. and his “Big Joe’s Happiness Exchange” (see below), broadcasting on NYC’s WMGM from midnight to 2:00 a.m. Given that many African Americans felt safer driving at night than during the daytime, a radio show like Big Joe’s would attract many midnight travelers..

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Above: Pages from the 1955 Negro Travelers Green Book highlighting the midnight radio show, “Big Joe’s Happiness Exchange”, ads Green’s Reservation Bureau, and Sightseeing in New York tours / Pages courtesy of the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library (MARBL) at Emory University, Atlanta GA with special thanks to Randall Burkett, Curator of African American Collections / Below: Shoe ad from the 1963-64 edition and cover from the 1966-67 International Edition / Courtesy of the New York Public Library / Schomburg online collection

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At this writing, there is very little known, at least publicly, about Victor and Alma Green, but we are working with others to help change that. Our interviews in New York City in the summer of 2015 were the first time we were able to connect with anyone even remotely related to the Greens. We were fortunate to interview Ramona Green, a niece by marriage, who remembers meeting Uncle Victor at her wedding, but only several times after that, since he passed away in 1960. Also interviewed at that time was Brian Green, Ramona’s grandson who strikingly resembles a young version of the few photos we have of Victor H. Green. (See photos below in “Launching THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES”)

To research more history about Victor’s work as a letter carrier, Calvin Alexander Ramsey made key connections with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) union, first with Orlando Gonzalez in New York City, who then referred Calvin to Mike Shea, editor of the NALC national newsletter, based out of the organization’s headquarters in Washington, DC. According to an email to Ramsey from Shea in late July 2013, “Orlando found an old card in the New York branch files that showed that Victor Green was a member of NALC while working at the Post Office.”

This discovery set in motion a further search by Gonzalez, who wrote the following email shortly afterwards, confirming that while the Greens had lived and published the Green Books in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Victor was employed as a letter carrier for many years in Hackensack, New Jersey. Gonzalez and his associates had located an NALC Memoriam from 1960 stating that Green was indeed an employee at the Hackensack location and had passed away that year. Orlando, Mike, and their colleagues at the NALC are developing numerous events and tributes to Victor Green and, as you can see in our News and Events Archives sidebar, invited Calvin to speak 8/26/13 at their national NALC meeting. We look forward to continuing these connections with our NALC friends and hope that when THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES is completed, our film can add to the tributes.

From Orlando Gonzalez:

“PAYDIRT! Couldn’t be HAPPIER! Glad it wasn’t to good to be true. We have to thank Jeff Fox, Bruce Didriksen and Anibal ‘Sonny’ Guadalupe for their persistence with this. Sonny pointed out that we should look in the Postal Record Memoriams for proof. When we saw a ‘1964?’ as year of death we decided to go through year by year forward and backward and sure enough we found this [NALC Memoriam 1960].”
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If you know anyone from Victor and/or Alma Green’s family or who worked with them, please connect with us at the email addresses listed in the sidebar. We certainly want to honor and respect the Green’s descendants and colleagues as we celebrate their dedication to connecting people around the world!
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Launching THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES

The first round of interviews in Atlanta featured people whose families had listings in the Green Book, used the Green Book to travel, and/or shared related Jim Crow era travel stories. (See photos below for details.) Filming continued in New York City, focusing on the Jacob Lawrence “Migration Series” at the Museum of Modern Art, with curator Leah Dickerman; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (division of the New York Public Library) with Associate Chief Librarian Maira Liriano featuring their collection of Green Books (known to be largest in existence); and several other locations in Harlem including legendary jazz club, Minton’s Playhouse, as well as exteriors of both Victor Green’s former publishing office and apartment (Green lived across the street from Duke Ellington). We were also thrilled to meet Ramona Green, niece by marriage of Victor Green, and her grandson, Brian Green. Ramona’s father-in-law, William, co-published the Green Books with his brother Victor, for a time early on.

Our New York shoot even included a surprise visit from Howard Glener, son of the printer of the Green Books from the 1930s-40s, who remembers meeting Victor Green as a child! Mr. Glener and his wife, Lyla, had read the New York Times article about our upcoming shoot at the Schomburg and made a point to find us so he could share his connections to Victor Green and the Green Books.

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Above top: Director/Co-Producer Becky Wible Searles and Co-Producer Calvin Alexander Ramsey meet Ramona Green (niece by marriage of Victor Green) and Ramona’s grandson, Brian Green, before the shoot at the Schomburg Center; Lower left: Associate Chief Librarian Maira Liriano reviews the Schomburg’s extensive collection of Green Books with Becky;  Lower right: Ramona and Brian see the Schomburg collection for the first time (photos by Jimmy Searles)

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Above: Mural from Minton’s in Harlem, NYC, originally known as Minton’s Playhouse, jazz club and bar on the first floor of the Cecil Hotel, featuring jam sessions in the 1940’s that gave birth to the new sound of bebop (photos above and below by Jimmy E. Searles)

Calvin_and_Leah_MOMA_NYC_8_15_IMG_0380 Left: Calvin prepares to interview Leah Dickerman, Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC about Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series”

Below: One of 60 paintings from Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series” at the Museum of Modern Art

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Ramona Green with Howard Glener, whose father was an early printer of the Green Books, looking at the Schomburg Center Green Book collection (photo by Jimmy E. Searles)

Our original New York team consisted of Rob Niosi (Cinematography / Audio),  Jimmy Searles (Assistant Producer / Research / Photography), and TJ Jones (Production Assistant) with post production in Atlanta by Zach White (Editor), Beau Jimenez (Audio), and John Peterson (Colorist). The “mapping Jim Crow” motion graphics segment was designed, directed, and animated by Kelly Turner with original music for the “Mapping Jim Crow” created by Hank Roberts and Tenzin of Lyra Music. Additional animation and artwork elements were developed by Kodi Bobo.

With the initial intention of creating a short film, this project was started in late summer of 2012 by several student teams, eventually totaling 30 students in TV Producing, Animation, and Motion Media courses at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Atlanta campus under Animation Professor Becky Wible Searles’ direction, with pro bono help from professionals: Professor James Arnold (SCAD Atlanta Film and TV / TV Producing), Jimmy E. Searles (Asssistant Producer / Research / Photography), Professor Sandro Imperato (SCAD Atlanta Motion Media), and Marty McPherson (Production Photography). The next year saw contributions by 25 students from the SCAD Atlanta Illustration department, coordinated by Professors Rick Lovell and Mike Lowery. The experience provided powerful “real world” subject matter for student assignments, aiming for completion of a short film. However, over time the tremendous out-pouring of more stories than we could ever imagine along with an explosion of interest in this subject called for a regrouping to support expanded production to a one hour film with professional crew…. which is where we are now

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 Scenes from THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES Initial Interview Sessions
ATLANTA and NEW YORK CITY

(Production Note: Many of the interviews are shot on green screen in a studio so that other backgrounds, such as photographs, maps, etc. can be added into the final composite, similar to techniques used for combining TV studio weather reporters with background maps and graphics)

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Above: World War II veteran, Wilbert Verrett, and his wife, Dr. Joyce Verrett, talk about using the Green Book in 1964 to find Crosby’s Motel for their honeymoon in Pensacola, FL (photo by Jimmy E. Searles)

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While shooting exteriors in Harlem, we met artist Paula Wynter, who asked us what we were doing. When we told her we were making a film about the Green Book, she said her family used it to travel & agreed to be interviewed on the spot! Her stories were so powerful we have been providing them as clips for Calvin’s radio interviews.

Left: Paula Wynter getting ready for her impromptu interview for the film with Calvin (photo by Jimmy E. Searles)

 

 

 

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Above: Calvin Ramsey (left) interviews Charles Yarbrough in his home in Harlem (photo by Jimmy E. Searles)

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Above: Freddye and Jake Henderson outside of Henderson Travel, Atlanta, the first accredited African-American owned travel agency in the United States, opened in 1955 (photo courtesy of the Freddye Henderson Archives, Auburn Avenue Research Library, Atlanta)

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Above: SCAD TV Producing student, David Howell (Cinematographer / Audio Engineer), helps Shirley Henderson Coleman get ready for her interview about Henderson Travel Agency, owned by her parents (photo by Jimmy E. Searles)

 

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Above: SCAD TV Producing student, Bernard Jackson (Video Preview Development / Research), reviews and logs some of the over seven hours of initial interview footage to prepare for editing. On the left screen is Gary Kirksey speaking about his grandmother, Mary Jackson’s house in Alliance, Ohio that was listed as a tourist home in the Green Book. On the right screen, Curtis Graves, first African American Representative in the Texas State House since the late 1800’s, shares stories about using the Green Book from his father’s ESSO gas station to travel to Miami; You can see more about Curtis Graves’ personal stories in the “Spotlight: Curtis Graves tab above. (photo by Marty McPherson)

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Above: Phillis Holliday talks about traveling internationally through her job at United Airlines in the 1960’s (photo by Jimmy E. Searles)

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Above: Calvin Alexander Ramsey interviews Wellington Cox Howard II about his grandmother, Ethel Cox, who owned a home in Indianola, MS that was listed in the Green Book for tourists (photo by Marty McPherson)

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Above: SCAD Atlanta TV Producing students taking a break in the SCAD TV production studio while assisting with interview shoots, audio recording, research, and logging over seven hours of initial footage for “The Green Book Chronicles”, supervised by Prof. James Arnold. From left to right: Morgan Dixon, Kelly Rose Magnusson, Lance White, Layla Harleston, David Howell, Bernard Jackson, and Ben Tincher (not pictured: Alejandra Morales) (photo by Becky Wible Searles)

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Above: Completed animation still by SCAD Atlanta MFA Animation students, Jeff MacDonald and Daniele Paulet Ranieri, combining 2D rotoscoped animation with vintage postcards. (For more about this process, see the “Animation Behind-the-Scenes” tab)

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Above: SCAD Atlanta MFA Animation students holding vintage postcards they used to create travel animation segments for “The Green Book Chronicles” as part of Prof. Becky Wible Searles’ “Drawing in Motion” course; From left to right back row: Zhou Quan (China), Chivaun Fitzpatrick, Jenna Zona, Ammar Nassri (Syria), Jeff MacDonald, Danielle Paulet Ranieri, and Colin Wheeler; From left to right, front row: Princy Peuse (India), Calvin Alexander Ramsey, and Seungbin Ahn (South Korea) (photo by Becky Wible Searles)

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Above: SCAD Atlanta students take a break from editing, color correcting, and compositing backgrounds for the initial Video Preview interview segments in Motion Media Professor Alessandro Imperato’s “Cinematography and Editing” class; From left to right: Injae Lee (Korea), Britt Lyle II, Professor Alessandro Imperato, Reggie Harrison, and Evleen Huang (China) (not pictured: Sarah Shipman) (photo by Marty McPherson)

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Above left: Production Photographer, Marty McPherson (photo by Jimmy E. Searles)

Above right: Jimmy E. Searles (Assistant Producer, Research, and Photography) works with Director/Co-Producer,  Becky Wible Searles, to plan a segment edit (photo by Marty McPherson)

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Above left: Sketch of  Director Becky Wible Searles by SCAD Atlanta MFA Animation student, Tres Swygert / Above right: From SCAD Atlanta Film and TV / TV Producing, Professor James Arnold adjusts the video control panel for the interview shoots (photo by Marty McPherson)

Stay tuned for more pictures and updates! Your comments are welcome.

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46 thoughts on “Overview

  1. Sam Coles says:

    I fond your article in the Postal Record quite interesting. I’m from Huntington, L.I.,N.Y. Huntington Station Post Office was my start in the USPS and now at the Aiken, S.C. office since 1988- present. I have done some research myself since I read the article. In Aiken, S.C. was at least one and maybe two places African-Americans stayed while traveling during the “Jim Crow” days, 1118 Richland Ave.. Since, I live in Augusta, Ga. I will research the one and two sites. I took some pictures of at least one of them? Just need to verify.
    Thank you, Calvin Ramsey.
    Sam Coles
    706-524=6111 E-mail: slammer1@bellsouth.net

    Like

    • Hello Mr. Coles — Thank you for your interest in our film and research we are doing! Would love to incorporate any research you have done, pictures, etc. if you are interested. I’m directing the film and so coordinating much of the material. Feel free to contact me directly at b_wible@hotmail.com. — Becky Wible Searles

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  2. Edward Forrest Frank says:

    I am working on a video documentary on the Black Guides of Mammoth Cave. A black guide named Matt Bransford ran the “Bransford Summer Resort” out of his home on Flint Ridge a short distance from the Mammoth Cave entrance fro the 1920’s until he was forced out of business when the Park Service took over. The last black guide left the employ of the cave – Louis Bransford retired in 1939, although the Park Service itself di not take possession until 1941. I understand the first guide in 1936 covered New York City. I am wondering what the next edition (year? ) said about the Mammoth Cave area during this period of transition at the cave.

    Like

    • Sounds like an excellent documentary you are working on! Since they are very rare, I have only been able to see a handful of Green Books so far with 1940 being the earliest one. Have you had a chance to inquire at some place like the Schomburg Center? I believe they have around a dozen copies, but I don’t know from what years. I will make sure Calvin Ramsey knows about your question. He may have info that would be helpful to you. Thanks for your interest in our film and please keep in touch about yours!

      Like

  3. Charles Henry Atkinson says:

    Thanks for the informative article. It took me down memory lane as I had lived some of that history and was happily reminded by my friend, Calvin Alexander Ramsey Sr. of those long ago life events. And please correctly state that Ambassador Theo Britton was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and not the Medal of Honor (which is only awarded to military personnel).

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    • Hello Mr. Atkinson – So glad you enjoyed the article! Working with Calvin on this project has been and will continue to be a very inspiring journey. I will double check with Ambassador Britton about the correct name for his award. My understanding was that it was for his service in the Marines, but I appreciate your raising the point and I will definitely look into it. Very excited to be going to NYC in August to shoot more footage with for our documentary. We will post some updates about that when we return. Thank you for your interest!

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      • Hello Again, Mr. Atkinson – Good catch on the medal name! I just double-checked several sources and you are correct that Ambassador Britton was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States, rather than the Medal of Honor. Thanks again for letting me know – I updated the article.

        Like

  4. Marvin Lucas says:

    How can I get copies of the Green Book for Miami, FL, KS, CA, OR, and WA?

    I had no ideal these even existed. Wow so much to learn.

    Respectfully:
    Marvin Lucas

    Like

    • Hello Marvin – Thanks for your interest! How did you hear about us and our film? The Victor H. Green’s Negro Travelers Green Books were published between 1936 and 1967, so haven’t been available for a very long time! From all the examples we’ve seen, each book covers the entire US and later ones expand to international destinations, so they weren’t set up for each state. Gradually other travel guides were started for African Americans and it is possible that there were some that were state specific, but we are not aware of them.

      Originals of the Green Book are rare these days, but there are some here and there at various museums and library collections. We were very fortunate to shoot more footage for the film this summer at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in NYC (a division of the New York Public Library) and learned that they hold the largest known collection of Green Books. It was amazing to see them as we’d only seen very few examples! In an exciting development, the Schomburg has just made ALL the Green Books available to the public in their collection, so that’s probably your best bet for finding them at this time. Here is a link to that info. We will be updating our website soon with this and other links, photos from our recent NYC shoot, a new trailer… AND a crowd-funding campaign to raise finishing funds! Keep in touch! — Becky http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151026/central-harlem/jim-crow-era-travel-guides-for-black-families-now-online-through-schomburg

      Like

  5. JamesA.A.Pabarue says:

    Ms. Sears, I read about your documentary on the Greeen Book in an article by Malcom Jones in the Daily Beast. I am very interested in your project as my grandmother owned a hotel listed in the Green Book in Charlottesville,VA, The Carver Inn. I spent many Summer’s there during the 50’s and early60’s, and have many memories and some photos, etc. of the Inn. Please let me know about the status of the film.

    Like

    • Hello Mr. Pabarue — Fantastic to hear from you re: your grandmother’s hotel in VA! Am very interested in speaking with you re: your memories and photos. Can you contact via email about when might be a good time to chat? b_wible@hotmail.com Thanks for your interest in our film! I wasn’t even aware of the Daily Beast article… so cool! I look forward to hearing from you.

      Like

  6. Sherita Johnson says:

    Just caught Calvin Ramsey on CPAN from his talk about the “Green Book” at the Brooklyn Historical Society. I live in Hattiesburg, MS, where the “Crosby Hotel” is listed in a 1956 travel guide. Ramsey’s work has inspired me to do research on this former establishment since the historic Mobile street, once the heartbeat of the black community during segregation, is now mostly abandoned and/or in ruins from weather conditions and economic downturns.

    Like

    • Hello Sherita — So glad you caught Calvin on C-SPAN! Fantastic that you are doing research about Mobile Street and the Crosby Hotel! I’d love to hear more about what you are finding out — maybe we could include it in the film. If you are interested, please email me at b_wible@hotmail.com and let’s continue a conversation about this. Thanks so much for your interest! — Becky

      Like

  7. Mario "Tee-key" says:

    It probably was a daunting task to research the history of these unkmown pioneers, which most of us were oblivious to. I’m profoundly greatful and inundated with joy to have the opportunity to learn about these great fearless women and men, unbeknown to them the awaiting risks lurking ahead. Thank you for this piece of hidden jem and looking forward to many more discoveries.

    Like

    • Thank you so much, Mario! Calvin has been the steadfast researcher of this subject, gathering information for over 10 years. Since I’ve been collaborating with him on this film since 2012, it’s been interesting to hear that while few people know about the Green Books, some actually have very distinct memories of using them!

      While the demeaning cruelty of travel during Jim Crow is hard to stomach, the courage of Victor Green and others to quietly do what they could to make things better is really transcendent for me. I feel so fortunate to have met Calvin and have him place his trust in me to direct this film! We appreciate your interest so much and can’t wait to share the finished film. You may have seen our notice that we just got a small grant from the Len Ragozin Foundation in NYC and they are also sponsoring a fundraiser for us in NYC on May 14th. That and some other fundraising should help give us a big push to complete major work on the project this summer and go into post production in the fall. Stay tuned! — Becky

      Like

  8. Martha Dawkins says:

    Looking forward to seeing the documentary, sometimes I wish I had one now; not always comfortable traveling across our country. Excellent article in the Smithsonian magazine,

    Martha

    Like

  9. Diane says:

    I am so fasinated by all of this information and for the 1st time since my father Leroy Feggans, Sr. played in the 1st Negro Baseball League for the very predudice Philadelphia Phillies Minor League; I’ve been searching and searching for evidence of more information. Daddy once had his picture in the “all white” Philadelphia Daily Newspaper” but I’ve been unable to get a copy. It had to have been in the 1940’s??? Maybe.

    Like

    • Hello Ms. Wilson — Thank you so much for your interest in our film and the Green Books! Calvin has done a remarkable job of shedding light on this subject and I am honored to be involved in the project. Fantastic to hear your father was in the Negro League! We may be adding a section about that to the film, since travel was certainly an issue. Contact me at b_wible@hotmail.com and maybe we can look into including pictures of your father as a ballplayer. Also, you probably know about this, but in case not, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is located in Kansas City. Their site address is nlbm.com. — Becky

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  10. I am pleased that Calvin Ramsey is teaming up with others like you to tell the good news about functional matters Americans need to know and understand as to “how we got over.”

    Our website at http://www.moremarymatters.com is all about encouraging new generation writers to use writers like him as role models in being useful and helpful with their gifted and talented minds. Robert M. Atkins

    Like

    • Hello Robert – So sorry I missed your comment! It’s been an honor and great journey to collaborate with Calvin. Your website has a lot of great food for thought, for sure! Thanks for your interest in our film. – Becky (Director/Co-Producer)

      Like

  11. Laurita Lockhart says:

    Is the Documentary available for purchase

    Like

    • Hello Laurita – Thanks for asking and sorry your question slipped by me! We are still raising funds to complete the film through grant applications and donations via the Len Ragozin Foundation (tab on our website). If things fall into place we anticipate a mid-2017 release. — Becky (Director/Co-Producer)

      Like

  12. Latasha says:

    Good afternoon,

    I see the release date for the green book documentary is listed as 2016. Has it been released? If so where can one view it? If not can someone give me a specific date to view?

    Like

    • Hello Latasha – Thanks for your interest in our film! Our release date has been pushed into 2017 (probably summer), since we are still in the process of raising finishing funds via grant applications and donations through the Len Ragozin Foundation (tab on our website). Believe me, no one wants to release this more than Calvin and I! However, our goal is to make it a PBS quality film, giving Victor Green and our interviewees the top notch treatment they deserve. Sorry we didn’t remove the “Arriving in 2016” tag on our trailer sooner! That’s in the process of coming off now. — Becky (Director/Co-Producer)

      Like

  13. I certainly intend to get this great reading. I knew about the places that Black people had to be aware of while traveling but I didn;t know it was in book form.Glad to hear about it on W VON radio with Perri Small. Thank you.

    Like

    • Hello Marianne – So glad you got to hear Perri Small’s interview with Calvin today on WVON! Yes, the Green Books are certainly a fascinating piece of history. I’m very honored to be collaborating with Calvin on our film since he is one of handful of people keeping this history alive. You may have seen this link elsewhere on our site, but in case not: You can find the largest know collection of Green Books digitized by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Division of the New York Public Library) here: http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/collections/the-green-book#/?tab=about. Thanks for reaching out to us! — Becky (Director/Co-Producer)

      Like

  14. Please tell Where can I find this documentary for viewing?

    Like

    • Hi David – Thanks for your interest in our film! Although we had hoped to be finished by now, we are still raising completion funds to add a few more interviews and complete post production to PBS level quality, aiming now for a mid-2017 release. I apologize for our trailer still saying “arriving in 2016”. We are in the process of taking that out as we speak, because we know it’s confusing! In the meantime, anyone who would like to help support us can make a tax deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor, the Len Ragozin Foundation, who also gave us a small production grant this year. We need about $80,000 to finish and are applying for various grants, etc. but ANY amount will help us! If you know of any organizations or individuals who might want to contribute, please pass along this link: http://www.lenragozinfoundation.org/the-green-book.html. I will be posting this on our site, but want to let you personally know too exciting things: This summer we were able to get permission to use some footage of Congressman John Lewis talking about the Green Books! And next month, Calvin will be presenting his historical fiction play, “The Green Book” in Birmingham at the Red Mountain Theater: http://redmountaintheatre.org/our-season/the-green-book/. We hope to also use that as an awareness and fundraising opportunity for the film. Stay in touch with us! Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Carol Lott says:

    I’d love to get a copy of the documentary to share with my mother and granddaughters. My days was from rush Mississippi and I’m fairly certain he may have used one of these during his travels back Down South from Ohio.

    Like

    • Hello Ms. Lott – Thank you for your interest in our film! We are still in the process of raising funds to complete it. Keep in touch with us on this site for further information in mid-2017 when we hope to know a release date. If your family happens to find a copy of the Green Book, note that they are VERY valuable now, since they are so rare. Museums and libraries, like the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in NYC (division of the New York Public Library) may be very interested. — Becky

      Like

  16. Is it possible to have a reprint of the Green Book for sale to the public? It could be a phenomenal fund raising tool for Black causes.

    Like

    • Hello Ms. Anderson – I know Candacy Taylor is writing a book about the subject. We were fortunate to interview her for our film this past December. You can find out more about her via her website: taylormadeculture.com. Thanks for your interest in our film! — Becky

      Like

  17. Ms Vanessa Mitchell says:

    Where can the The Green Book Chronicles be purchased?

    Like

    • Hello Ms. Mitchell – The film is not done yet. We are still in the process of raising completion funds, hoping we can finish in mid-2017. We will certainly be posting purchase information on our site! Thank you for your interest! — Becky

      Like

  18. Theresa Drew says:

    Such a wonderful venture to explore the Green Book, its era, and the people that used this valuable resource. I was told about the book a few years ago and experienced so many emotions. Shocked, at first, that such an amazing work even existed; secondly, I grew sad just thinking about what my people, African Americans, have had to endure, due to Jim Crow. During my coming of age in Los Angeles, in the late 1940s-1960s, I witnessed first hand the “White Flight” that took place in our beautiful neighborhood. In 2012, I returned to live in our family home, which my parents purchased in 1950, approximately two years after the end of an ordinance that banned African Americans from living or purchasing property in the area. Now, I
    am witnessing the gentrification of that same neighborhood, typically not as beautiful as it was before, but maybe “Up and Coming”. There are businesses along the main thoroughfare, Jefferson Blvd., now known as the “Artist District”. Their employees park outside of my home and those of my neighbors. I am saddened every day for I see only white, and maybe a few Hispanics that park and walk to work at the various shops. Why don’t I see my people, who also need jobs? We as a people have so many stories to tell. The on-going discrimination is so pervasive that now I see my adult children as victims of some of the same trials that I faced 50 years ago. Why? What can be done to change this systemic discrimination? Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for giving life to the story of The Green Book, it is a vital part of our history, about which I was never taught. I had to research and teach myself about the wonderful contributions made by African Americans to United States History. Please keep us posted on the release date. Sincerely, Theresa Willis Drew

    Like

    • Hello Ms. Drew — Thank you so much for your interest in our film and for sharing your story! Those are very tough questions that we all ask. The only thing I know to do is to try and shed light on inspirational stories so we can model people like Victor Green to be resourceful, innovative, and kind. Very much looking forward to sharing a release date when we have it! — Becky

      Like

  19. Luna Hamilton says:

    I’ve never heard of the ” Green Book” – not ever before right now!!! WHY???
    I’m so glad that I took a nap earlier 2/25/17. I woke up about 2:00 am on 2/26/17. I started reading about 14 Black People who shaped America. I then went on to read about 28 young Black Americans and how they are shaping America and the World! Then I noticed an article about the GREEN BOOK. Wow!!!! It is now 4::am..2/26/17.. I’m still reading.
    I love this part of my history that I was unaware of and I would love a copy of the Green Book Chronicles when it become available. I want to see the document are too!
    Thank you for more knowledge. Wow!!!!

    Like

    • Hello Ms. Hamilton – This piece of American history would have been lost if people like Calvin Ramsey, Candacy Taylor, Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, and a handful of others hadn’t kept it alive through their dedicated research and sharing. I feel so fortunate to be able to work with Calvin on this film in order to contribute to the conversation! We really appreciate your interest in “The Green Book Chronicles” and pending raising completion funds, hope very much to be able to release it in 2017! — Becky

      Like

  20. Brenda Anderson says:

    There is so much rich black history we might never learn it all I wish we could

    Like

    • Hello Ms. Anderson – Artists, filmmakers, and writers like Calvin and I are committed to sharing little known stories that need to be told. Thanks for your interest in our film! — Becky

      Like

      • Bob Thompson says:

        I saw Ms Taylor on a documentory about Rt 66 one PBS. Never heard about Green Book (I’m white.) Haven’t met anyone, white or black, who have heard of it either. I truly hope you are able to capture the enormity of this situation. The idea that Coca Cola MACHINES were marked for whites only is mind boggling. Good luck. I can’wait to see the end product.

        Like

      • Hello Mr. Thompson – Really appreciate your enthusiasm and interest in our film! I’m white also and hadn’t heard of it. It’s been a great journey to partner with Calvin and help shed some light on this inspiring story. We are hoping to finish shooting the remaining interviews before the first of the year (including a great story in Myrtle Beach), so we can focus on post production in 2018, pending raising completion funds. We are so happy to have connected with Candacy and interviewed her for our film. And you can see some photos and information about our recent shoot in Washington, DC on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/greenbookchronicles. Will be updating our website soon as well. Please share our FB page and website with anyone you think might be interested!

        Like

  21. […] data, creating catalogs of information Black people utilized to literally survive while traveling. Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Becky Wible Searles are working on a documentary, The Green Book Chronicles, weaving together […]

    Like

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NEWS and EVENTS

OCTOBER 2019

October 2 and 3, 2019: Calvin’s stage play, “The Green Book” at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center, Decatur, GA. Visit AltantaBTF.org for more information.

Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 2:30pm: The Harrison Museum of African American Culture in Roanoke VA presents “The Incomparable Artistry of Calvin Ramsey” at the Trinkle Theatre at Center in the Square, including a book signing and reception. For information and tickets visit https://harrisonmuseum.com/sunday-oct-13th-230-pm-the-incomparable-artistry-of-calvin-ramsey/

Saturdays (date/time TBA): Calvin debuts his new weekly radio show, “Green Book Nation” on WMCA AM 570. The program will broadcast good news and accomplish-ments from our past to the present as our Green Book projects continue.

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

September 28, 2019: The Santa Monica History Museum, Santa Monica CA presented “Discover the History: The Green Book” featuring Gloria and Solomon Herbert of Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine/Media, co-creators of the NEW Green Book digital travel directory and podcast, and Jo Kieta of Nubian Tours, sharing her experiences using the Green Books as a travel coordinator for Motown performers. We are thrilled to have interviewed the Herberts for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES. The Museum screened a 13:00 excerpt from our film at this free event made possible by the California Historic Route 66 Association. For more information, visit https://santamonicahistory.org/upcoming-activities-programs/discover-the-history-the-green-book/

September 18, 2019: The Arts Council of Princeton NJ presented a lecture about the Green Book by Calvin as part of a fundraiser for the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society. For more information visit www.towntopics.com/wordpress/2019/09/04/calvin-a-ramsey-to-present-w-j-historical-society-lecture/?fbclid=IwAR2XHlrE3ffFXKINOO3yu2CQx4WtIvkwaE4OhqZv-8E__ZN_S3DKax6RZDE

September 1, 2019: Philadelphia Museum of  Art: Calvin read his children’s book, “Belle, the Last Mule of Gee’s Bend: A Civil Rights Story” as part of Meet the Author Storytime in conjunction with the exhibition Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South

August 28, 2019: New Haven CT: Presentation about the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey at the Stetson Branch Public Library

August 3, 2019: Roanoke VA: The Dumas Legacy Ball presents “An Evening with Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Green Book Author / Playwright” celebrating the Dumas Hotel, listed for many years in the Green Books and currently a community center. One of the few surviving Green Book sites.

July 30, 2019: Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library Branch of the New York Public Library NYC: “Hidden Figures Behind the Green Book” presentation by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

June 30, 2019: Harper’s Ferry WV: Calvin Alexander Ramsey book signing at the 75th Anniversary of Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park and Storrer College. Also further research and development for Calvin’s play about John Brown to be presented in 2020.

May 24, 2019: Baltimore MD: Multi-Cultural Book Fair and Festival, Cherry Hill Library reading and Green Book presentation by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

May 15, 2019: Workers Unite Film Festival NYC: Staged concert reading of “The Green Book” play by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

February, 2019: In celebration of Black History Month, Calvin Alexander Ramsey presented talks about his Green Book projects and our film at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, JetBlue, New City Hall, and Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington MA (birthplace of W.E.B. DuBois)

February 2019: GSUTV in partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting featured Becky Wible Searles in their half hour “Indie Filmmakers” series focusing on her background as a mixed-media artist / filmmaker and development of “The Green Book Chronicles” / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuaw3kfYzIw

February, 2019: Calvin Alexander Ramsey’s play, “The Green Book”, was presented in Louisville KY by the Bunbury Theatre Company and Tulsa, OK at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center

January-February 2019: “Cosmocean”, a short collaborative experimental animation visual music film by a diverse team of students from all over the world in one of Becky Wible Searles’ classes at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Atlanta was selected for screening at the London Experimental Film Festival and the Athens ANIMFest in Athens, Greece

November 18, 2018: Calvin Alexander Ramsey initiated and hosted the “First Annual Victor and Alma Green Appreciation Day” in Harlem at the Morris-Jumel Mansion NYC (Manhattan’s Oldest House) with proclamations by Mayor Bill de Blasio and others

April 5, 2018: Museum of Arts and Design NYC “THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES: Screening and Discussion with Calvin Alexander Ramsey” plus a Q and A session with Calvin, Becky Wible Searles, 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 NYC included 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 Alexander Ramsey http://pegasustheatrechicago.org/productions/the-green-book/

March 22, 2018: Calvin Alexander Ramsey presentation with other children’s book writers at the 14th Annual National Black Writers Conference Youth Literacy Program “Healing, Legacy, and Activism”, 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 NYC hosted Calvin Alexander Ramsey for a presentation about “Ruth and the Green Book”

February 1, 2018: Calvin Alexander Ramsey presentation at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati OH about Green Book projects, including progress on THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES

December 2017: Interviews and location filming for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES in Myrtle Beach SC focused on Charlie’s Place / Fitzgerald’s Motel, listed in the Green Books and the grass roots movement to restore it as a community center, spearheaded by local musician and activist, Herbert Riley. Additional interviews about Charlie’s Place included Patricia Burgess, Dino Thompson, and City Council Member, Mike Chestnut, as well as resident, John Maloney, sharing memories of Washington DC’s famous U Street District.

November 28, 2017: Calvin Alexander 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.”

September 2017: Interviews and location filming for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES in Washington DC including Gloria and Solomon Herbert, publishers of Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine/Media Company the Green Book exhibit at the National Museum of African American History, and the historic U Street District.

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

July 2017: Interviews and location shooting for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES in Birmingham AL focusing on the A. G. Gaston Motel, listed in the Green Books and Civil Rights history landmark. Interviews included Civil Rights “Foot Soldier”, Bishop Charles Wallace Woods, author and Gaston historian, Marie  Sutton. Charles Woods III of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, as well as Keith Cromwell, director of the recent production of “The Green Book” by Calvin Alexander Ramsey at the Red Mountain Theatre along with actress, Winter Shepherd.

March, 2017 issue of The Local 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 Alexander 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: Filming in NYC for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES, including interviews with cultural documentarian, Candacy Taylor, Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York Public Library), 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; Panel included 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 interviewed on the WUNC North Carolina 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 (division of the New York Public Library), and Minton’s Playhouse (the Birthplace of Bebop)

February 18, 2015: Calvin Ramsey presented progress on THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES at the Brooklyn Historical Society

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: March on Washington includes articles about the Green Book and Calvin Ramsey / See complete text in the “USA Special Edition” tab above

September 1, 2013: Calvin Ramsey presentation at the Studio Museum in Harlem NYC “Target Free Sundays: Books and Authors, Kids!” 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: Calvin Ramsey presentation at the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), Washington DC honoring Victor Green

June 8, 2013: Calvin Ramsey interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) show “Travel with Rick Steves” / Archive available at www.ricksteves.com/radio/program-archives.cfm

Summer 2012: Initial interviews filmed for THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Atlanta campus with the goal of making a short film with a mostly student and professor crew from the Animation, TV Producing (Film/Video), Motion Media, and Illustration Departments. Interviews included Curtis Graves, Shirley Henderson Coleman, Gary Kirksey, Dr. Joyce and Wilbert Verrett, Wellington Cox Howard III, and Phillis Holliday.

February 2012: The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta GA world premiere of “Ruth and the Green Book”, a live performance with puppets and animated projections adapted for the stage from Calvin Alexander Ramsey’s children’s book of the same name by Artistic Director, Jon Ludwig, with original music by S. Renee Clark, supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. As a professor of Animation at SCAD Atlanta, Becky Wible Searles took a group of Animation students to see the performance and met Calvin, eventually leading to their collaboration on THE GREEN BOOK CHRONICLES starting in the summer of 2012. (The decision was made to convert the project to a one hour film with a professional crew in 2014.)

August – September 2011: Calvin Alexander Ramsey’s original stage play for adults, “The Green Book”, premiered at Theatrical Outfit, Atlanta GA. This full production was preceded by several staged readings at La MaMa E.T.C. in New York and Baltimore Hebrew University, co-sponsored by the Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP, the Baltimore Jewish Council and the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Civil Rights leader, Julian Bond, was cast in a cameo role as Victor Green when the production moved on to a reading at the restored Lincoln Theater in Washington DC.

June 2004: Calvin Alexander Ramsey’s original play, “The Green Book”, was named a finalist in the 12th Annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska where it was critiqued by theatrical luminaries including Edward Albee and Patricia Neal.

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