Dozens of sites in Illinois were included in the Negro Motorist Green Book, published by Victor H. Green from 1936 to 1967 to provide Black people with options for safe travel in the face of discrimination and the threat of sundown towns across the United States.
Since the final printing of the Green Book in 1967, many of the Illinois sites featured in the publication have been demolished. For those that remain, often their cultural significance is not widely known, and thus they lack the protections and prioritization that they deserve. If this trend continues, we will lose more of the places and stories of African American communities that hosted Green Book sites and the role they played in the struggle for Civil Rights.
Illinois is in need of a survey of Green Book sites along with collaborative approaches to share the stories of the people who owned and operated the businesses highlighted as well as the travelers who used the guide. Preservation of the remaining Illinois Green Book sites is an opportunity to honor the legacy of the people and communities the Green Book served and to better understand the critical role they played in the struggle for civil rights and equality, as well as travel culture in America.
For more information contact: Landmarks Illinois