Published May 17, 2021 by Rebecca Goldfine

Alvin Hall ’74 Wins Ambie Award for "Driving the Green Book" Podcast

Journalist, author, and educator Alvin Hall ’74 has won the Ambie award for best history podcast for Driving the Green Book.

The Ambies are awards for excellence in audio, awarded by the Podcast Academy, a professional membership organization uniting podcast creators and industry leaders. Its mission is to support podcast makers and advance the cultural merit of the medium.

Hall created Driving the Green Book with Janée Woods Weber based on a 2,021-mile road trip they made together from Detroit to New Orleans. Along the way, they spoke to people about how they had once turned to The Negro Motorist Green Book to guide them on their travels across the country.

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 President Clayton Rose last fall about the origins of the Green Book podcast. In that conversation, he touched on his initial struggle to find support for his project, before finally connecting with a producer at Macmillan Podcasts. “Most people thought of the Green Book as an obsolete, out-of-date publication, something that had virtually no cultural significance at all,” Hall recollected.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, 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.