Published February 03, 2023 by Tom Porter

A “Hot New Release.” Alvin Hall ’74’s “Driving the Green Book” Hits the Shelves

Author, broadcaster, and former trustee Alvin Hall ’74 explores America’s segregated past in his latest book, which made it straight on to the Amazon bestseller list after being released this week.

alvin hall in 2019 on campus
Alvin Hall '74 visiting campus in 2019

Driving the Green Book: A Road Trip through the Living History of Black Resistance describes a 2,000-mile road journey Hall took in 2019, along with friend and social activist Janée Woods Weber, who also acted as his producer.

They drove from Detroit to New Orleans, interviewing people along the way. They were 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.

During their trip, Hall and Weber collected powerful testimony from many who had used the book during the height of segregation. Published from 1936 to 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.

Hall’s journey also resulted in the podcast series Driving the Green Book, which earned him a prestigious Ambie award for best history podcast in 2021.

(The subject of the Green Book came to national prominence in 2018 with the release of the movie of the same name, which went on to win three Oscars, including Best Picture. Read “The Problem with Oscar-Winning Movie Green Book,” in which Africana studies and history professor Brain Purnell shares his thoughts on the subject.)