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In the summer of 2019, award-winning broadcaster and educator Alvin Hall and activist Janée Woods Weber hit the road for a trip from Detroit to New Orleans. The route they drove was based on information from the historic travel guide, The Negro Motorist Green Book. During segregation and Jim Crow, African American travelers all over the country relied on this book as a vital resource to quell fears, find safe havens, and travel with dignity. Wherever Alvin and Janée went, they asked about The Green Book. The stories from this trip turned into the Driving the Green Book podcast.
The route Alvin and Janée drove was based on information from The Green Book. They knew that thousands of African Americans would have made a similar trip when returning South to visit family during and after the Great Migration—a period when many Black Americans moved north and west for better jobs, better lives, and better futures. In each city they collected powerful, personal testimony from locals: former Motown musicians, activists, politicians, professors, historians, artists, and more.
A few interviews took place in New York; however, during the road trip Alvin and Janée talked to people in:
- Detroit, MI
- Columbus, OH
- Cincinnati, OH
- Louisville, KY
- Nashville, TN
- Memphis, TN
- Jackson, MS
- Birmingham, AL
- Selma, AL
- Montgomery, AL
- Mobile, AL
- New Orleans, LA
As they drove the Green Book, what surfaced were inspiring and heartbreaking tales that tell a different story from what Hollywood would have you believe.
Driving the Green Book is a living history podcast that preserves a powerful legacy and honors the stories of those who lived through the era, supported and uplifted each other, and fought for equality.
Watch Alvin’s interview with his alma mater, Bowdoin College.
Alvin Hall is an award-winning television and radio broadcaster, bestselling author, and renowned financial educator. His numerous radio programs include The Green Book (BBC Radio 4), Alvin Hall Goes Back to School (The Takeaway, PRI with WNYC), and Jay-Z: From Brooklyn to the Board Room (BBC Radio 4). Joining Alvin on the road is Janée Woods Weber, an activist and social justice trainer. Her writing about antiracism and other social justice issues has appeared in several publications including The Root, Quartz, and Guernica.