What Was It Like to Travel While Black During Jim Crow? | 360 Video | Op-Docs



The Green Book was a critical guide for African-Americans struggling to travel safely in the Jim Crow era. This 360 degree video explores its complicated legacy.

This film offers a revealing view of the Green Book era as told through Ben’s Chili Bowl, a black-owned restaurant in Washington, and reminds us that the humiliations heaped upon African-Americans during that time period.

Sandra Butler-Truesdale, born in the capital in the 1930s, references an often-forgotten trauma — and one of the conceptual underpinnings of the Jim Crow era — when she recalls that Negroes who shopped in major stores were not allowed to try on clothing before they bought it. Store owners at the time offered a variety of racist rationales, including that Negroes were insufficiently clean. At bottom, the practice reflected the irrational belief that anything coming in contact with African-American skin — including clothing, silverware or bed linens — was contaminated by blackness, rendering it unfit for use by whites.

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