Published November 12, 2020 by Rebecca Goldfine

Alvin Hall ’74 Chats with President Rose about His New Podcast

Journalist, author, and educator Alvin Hall ’74 recently joined President Clayton Rose to talk about a 2,021-mile road trip he took from Detroit to New Orleans, interviewing people along the way about how they once used The Negro Motorist Green Book.

Hall was joined on his road trip by activist and social justice trainer Janée Woods Weber, and they transformed their conversations into the new "Driving the Green Book" podcast.

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a guidebook published annually from 1933 to 1967 to help African Americans—during the era of Jim Crow laws and segregation—find safe places to buy gasoline, sleep, eat, and have fun. It also offered tips on how to handle different situations that might arise on the road, Hall said.

Hall spoke with Rose about the origins of the Green Book podcast and touched on his initial struggle to find support for his project. He eventually connected with a producer at Macmillan Podcasts who got behind him. “Most people thought of the Green Book as an obsolete, out-of-date publication, something that had virtually no cultural significance at all,” Hall recollected.

But in fact, he continued, “It was a record of Black entrepreneurship during a time of segregation and Jim Crow, because these were all Black businesses set up to serve Black visitors.”

He and Weber drove 2,021 miles in twelve days, and conducted forty-five interviews. “I know there's power in these stories,” he said.

UPDATE: In their end-of-year wrap-up, Bello Collective named "Driving the Green Book" one of the 100 Outstanding Podcasts of 2020.