Know Your History: ‘Overground Railroad’ Follows The Roots Of Black Travel In America
Photo Credit: F.J. Jiménez | Getty Images

Photo Credit: F.J. Jiménez | Getty Images

Know Your History: ‘Overground Railroad’ Follows The Roots Of Black Travel In America

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Leah Freeman-Haskin
Leah Freeman-Haskin Jan 29, 2020

If you are looking for deeply moving and historic reading, Overground Railroad by Candacy Taylor is a fascinating look at the Green Book (also known as the Negro Motorist Green Book), a guidebook, first published in 1936, for African-American road trippers.

Overground Railroad, is an eye-opening book that explores the social history of American segregation and black migration during the middle years of the 20th century.

Overground Railroad by Candacy Taylor | Photo via

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According to, “Published from 1936 to 1966, the Green Book was hailed as the “Black travel guide to America.” At that time, it was very dangerous and difficult for African-Americans to travel because Black travelers couldn’t eat, sleep, or buy gas at most white-owned businesses.

The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses that were safe. It was a resourceful and innovative solution to a horrific problem. It took courage to be listed in the Green Book, and Overground Railroad celebrates the stories of those who put their names in the book and stood up against segregation.

It[the book] shows the history of the Green Book, how we arrived at our present historical moment, and how far we still have to go when it comes to “race relations in America.”

Author, Candacy Taylor, is an award-winning author, photographer, and cultural documentarian. Her work has been featured in over 50 media outlets including the New Yorker and The Atlantic. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants including The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

You can purchase the book on

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