Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book

Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
October 04, 2022
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In the vein of Hidden Figures comes a nonfiction picture book about the Green Book, a travel guide by Victor Hugo Green, a Black postal worker from Harlem, made to help African Americans stay safe while traveling during segregation.
As a mail carrier, Victor Hugo Green traveled across New Jersey every day. But with Jim Crow laws enforcing segregation since the late 1800s, traveling as a Black person in the US could be stressful, even dangerous.

So in the 1930s, Victor created a guide—The Negro Motorist Green-Book—compiling information on where to go and what places to avoid so that Black travelers could have a safe and pleasant time. While the Green Book started out small, over the years it became an expansive, invaluable resource for Black people throughout the country—all in the hopes that one day such a guide would no longer be needed.

Award-winning author Tonya Bolden and acclaimed illustrator Eric Velasquez shine a light on this little-known history of Victor Hugo Green and the deep impact of his incredible bookon generations of Black families in America.

Editor review

1 review
Excellent Resource on the History of Black Travel
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
Victor Hugo Green was a postal carrier in the first half of the 20th century, who was fascinated when Black Americans started to obtain cars and use them for travel to avoid racial prejudice on trains. Sadly, at the time, there were still issues that Blacks faced when traveling, so Victor and his wife put together a guide that they published in 1936 along with George Smith. While publication was suspended during World War II, Green persisted, and eventually moved from using his apartment to an office for the company not long after a Black standard oil executive was shown purchasing 5,000 copies to be handed out at Esso gas stations. Green retired from postal work and started a travel agency, always hoping that some day there would be no need for his guide. Sadly, he died in 1960, right before the Civil Rights movement started gaining more ground. The last Green Book was published in 1966.
Good Points
This would be an excellent title to read aloud to a wide variety of ages of children; it's lengthy enough to have a lot of good information, but not so long that it would not hold children's interest. The pictures are brightly colored and show a wide variety of Black Americans traveling. I enjoyed the fact that it talked about sports figures and entertainers along with ordinary citizens and described the problems that were faced at the time. The explanation of "sun down towns" is a great one for children who are unfamiliar with the concept.

The timelines, notes, and further resources will be very helpful for those wanting to look into more information about this interesting publication. From Dawson and Harris's 2021 Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book to Taylor's 2022 Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America, there are a handful of books covering this topic. For first hand views of the book, I'm entralled with the New York Public Library online collection of digitized versions of the guides. (https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/collections/the-green-book#/?tab=navigation) I think it's especially nice that the notes at the end of the book incorporate some of the clip art from the original green books!
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