Stories from Segregation: Alvin Hall '74 Hosts Podcast “Driving the Green Book”

By Tom Porter

Journalist, author, and educator Alvin Hall ’74 took a 2,000-mile road trip last year, from Detroit to New Orleans, interviewing people along the way.

Bowdoin community: register to join the conversation with Alvin Hall, Tuesday, November 9 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

He was reenacting a journey that for Black Americans during segregation would have likely required the Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide to help them find safe places to stay during the Jim Crow era. The result is a recently launched podcast series called Driving the Green Book.

Hall took to the road in the summer of 2019, accompanied by his producer, the social activist and community organizer Janée Woods Weber, collecting powerful testimony from many who had used the book during the height of segregation. 

The resulting podcast, Driving the Green Book, produced by MacMillan, is described as “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.”

Published between 1936 and 1966, the Green Book was initially a travel guide for Black visitors to New York City, informing them where they could safely eat and sleep without fear or racial harassment. The book grew to list Black-friendly businesses in every state.

As well as being a Bowdoin graduate, Hall was also a College Trustee for more than a decade.

Relevant links:  

NPR’s 1A Podcast discusses Driving the Green Book with Alvin Hall.

The problem with the movie Green Book. Bowdoin professor Brian Purnell shares his thoughts.