Today I talked to Candacy Taylor about her book Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America (Abrams Press, 2020)
Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian. She’s been a fellow at Harvard University under the direction of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and her projects have been funded by organizations ranging from National Geographic to The National Endowment for the Humanities. Her work has received extensive media coverage in places like the PBS Newshour and The New Yorker.
This episode covers the African-American travel guidebook made famous by the Academy-award-winning movie Green Book. Taylor’s book more accurately and completely covers the more than 10,000 former black- and white-owned businesses establishments that served black travelers during the era from 1936-1967, when editions of the guidebook helped black motorists find gas stations, restaurants and lodging that catered to them in segregated America. The episode also addresses the reasons why 75% of those sites are now gone, falling victim to everything from urban renewal and redlining to soaring incarceration rates that have devasted black communities across America.