Detroit, Mississippi, Alvin discussed on 1A



And find people would talk about green book locations, restaurants, beauty parlors, nightclubs. All those types of things, But when we met local people, and we started to talk to them about the green book, it opened up a world of memories. So most of them would tell us a personal story from the time that the Green Book was published, or the time that they used the Green Book. For example, when we got to Birmingham, Alabama has the Kyle Walker Hezekiah Jackson told us the story ofthe Hiss family going to Detroit and his aunt Beatty was ill and they had to go and pick up her paycheck. Actually, she had died. And as it as they drove into the white suburb of Detroit, the police suddenly appeared and they talked to his father in such a demeaning way, calling his father boy that it was traumatic for his brother. And he tells the story about he asked his mother. What is there something that we don't know? We're not allowed to go into this into this pretty neighbourhood. Other people. Doctor, Eva Bay, Um at Dillard University, tells the story that her sister would not drive through Mississippi under any circumstances. A sister who lived farther up north But just go all out of her way because of the number of lynchings in those states. The number of road attacked in those states and she did not want to be subject to it. Well, let's hear from one of the people that you spoke to. Alvin here is Mervyn from Louisville, Kentucky. He's talking about the fear of traveling while black in the gym grow south. Sometimes. The idea that it could happen and the knowledge that it has happened to others made you feel awful. You're so tired when you got to the end of your trip if you're driving From watching to see if the car that had pulled behind you was a share scar. You're driving on the highway, not bother the soul and somebody passes by and ways that fist relate. You know, that's that's not good at all. So when you got a way you were going, you were tired and you needed risk. Well, what emotional toll Alvin did these voyages take on African Americans. A lot of people were left feeling always anxious. Some people really profoundly distrusted white people. And they distrust that even maps. We interviewed one family on and she said that her grandfather didn't even trust the map that he trusts the word of mouth network that would get him from Nashville to Louisville or from Nashville to Mississippi. Because at least he knew he was talking to other black people who knew the truth. He just didn't trust it. Because he knew that along the way there was sundown towns and one of the biggest revelations that came For me out of the Sasha is that there were Mohr sundown towns in the north than there were and explain what a son downtown is for those who might not be familiar. A son downtown is of suburb or a specific town in which black people were Told they should not be in that town after sundown. And if you were, you could be harassed. You could be jailed, or even worse. You could get badly beaten up. But if you When we started this journey people would account would tell us about stories, especially around Detroit, the number of sub suburbs around Detroit that were actual sundown suburbs that you could not be in And from these conversations that you had, you know, you've already alluded to some of this already. But you know what did the green book really mean to these folks? It Wass a lifesaver. It meant that when they were on the road or when they got to a certain location, they knew that they would find welcoming services. They knew that they would find a safe place to rest. They knew that they could take Just exhale and feel relax as Mervyn talked about because you need it that after those long drives, I was reading a book recently and somebody talked about the number of people who had to drive long distances and then would have accidents due to exhaustion. This helped stop that from happening or mitigated of it. Yeah. The experience of of traveling for African Americans wasn't all bad. Here's Mervyn again. On the other hand, though, you meant people who are willing To give you everything they had to keep you safe. To feed you. Put you in the guest bedroom. And you weren't a relative. No, it was Just the way things were done because they knew That if we didn't Make the changes. We would never Never It's alive. You talked about the trust or distrust for maps back, then talk a little bit more about the sense of community that was created around the green book. The green but connected all sorts of people who travelled on the road who wanted to see relatives. So with the green Book if you were a member of for example of the Home Economics Teachers Association or the elementary School Teachers Association are dentists and you have to go to conferences and meetings. You would meet other people who had used the green book or the word of mouth network and they would help you out. Some of the most strong networks we found were among fraternities, Alphas. Among the Masons among church people who went to various conventions in various areas and that word of mouth network combined with the information, the Green Book. Made people feel as if they could go on the road. Now, remember that this place the green Book talked about the specific place So you were still In danger as you were making the trip. But the green Book also sometimes gave you suggestions about how you can mitigate the danger while on the road, and a lot of it was being aware keeping your eyes open for subtle changes. And from the sounds of it, it was helpful for black owned businesses and the black economy. Absolutely we one of my favorite sequences is visiting Jackson, Mississippi, and everyone talks about Ferris Street. There's this guy who was a shoe size shot in person who owns a shoe repair shop there, and he talked about what Ferry Street was like in the hate on Fridays and Saturdays. You could not walk down the street. There was so many people the businesses were full, and people just had a good time. Has a Kaya Jackson talks about when they drove from Burma from Birmingham to New York. How there's his family thought it was a guy to patronize black businesses along the way. They did not know until much later that it was because of fear and segregation. And in all of these towns where this Louisville, Kentucky Walnut Street Whether it's Paradise Valley in Detroit or Jefferson Street in national. This was the center of Black Life. This was the center of strong black economy. In the show we do about Detroit, German Jordan tells about how the African American dollars turned over 10 times within the black communities. We heard from Jade on Twitter. She writes this traveling while black conversation has me kind of thinking that we could use an app like that for the modern day. What do you think about that? Alvin? We talked about that, with a lady named Jan Miles who wrote the Negro Motorist Green Book. I think it's called the Negro Motorist Screen book, and it is a detail of all of the atrocities that have happened to black people on the road. And she talked about the fact that their websites now that people can exchange this information and at the end of this road trip. You gradually began to see how even today That this type of information is highly useful. I still remember a trip that I took about in 16 4015. And I was staying at a hotel in Jackson, Mississippi, and I was traveling with a white producer and we went down and asked for record restaurant recommendation, and the person at the desk was white recommended this restaurant in a part of town. We then set the white producer down record for recommendation. He got a totally different recommendations. Wow. And this. I have never forgotten that because I kept thinking, why does she make this assumption that we would not want to go to the restaurant that she recommended to him? And I should note so the Full name of the book that we're talking about. From the back in the thirties on dawn was called the Negro Motorist, Green Book and the Modern Day one that she referenced oven is the post Racial Negro Motorist Green Book. Yes, that's what's called him to talk with Jan. Miles was so Revealing. I asked her specifically. What is it like emotionally? For you, too..

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