Traversing LA, a new exhibit in LA’s Olvera Street Historic Monument organized by the California Historical Society and LA as Subject, will bring to light fascinating chapters from the city’s transportation history. Among the featured objects and stories will be that of The Negro Motorist Green Book, a roadside companion considered the “Bible of Black Travel” for African Americans on the road in mid-twentieth-century America. The Green Book listed restaurants, hotels, salons, barbershops, taverns, nightclubs, tailors, garages, and real estate offices throughout the United States—sites of sanctuary that opened their doors to African Americans seeking safety, sustenance, and respite in the face of racism. Although many of these establishments have been erased, others remain, including iconic LA places like Clifton’s Cafeteria and the Dunbar Hotel.
Researcher and cultural critic Candacy Taylor is currently engaged in a project, supported by a California Humanities Community Stories grant, to research and document the sites and elicit stories about them from patrons, proprietors, and community residents.
The exhibit, which will include a rare copy of the book courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Special Collections Department, will open Friday, August 5 with a reception and run through August 27 at El Tranquilo Gallery in Olvera Street. For information, visit the California Historical Society website.