Until the late 1960s, there were laws still in place in the U.S. that discriminated against African Americans.
Not only did that make everyday life challenging, but it also posed problems for black travelers who couldn’t find safe places to stay, eat and even get gas. But an annual guide for black travelers changed everything.
CCTV America’s May Lee takes a look at what black travelers experienced back then and the struggles that continue to this day.
Tracing the history of black travelers' struggle in USUntil the late 1960s, there were laws still in place in the U.S. that discriminated against African Americans. Not only did that make everyday life challenging, but it also posed problems for black travelers who couldn’t find safe places to stay, eat and even get gas. But an annual guide for black travelers changed everything. CCTV America’s May Lee reports.
The year was 1936. In Harlem, New York City, an African American U.S. postal worker by the name of Victor Green put out the first edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book, an essential guide that listed businesses of all kinds across the country that welcomed black travelers during the discriminatory era of Jim Crow laws.
The guide, deemed “the bible for black travel,” was literally a life saver, especially since there were more than 10-thousand so-called “sundown” towns across the U.S. where non-whites had to leave the city limits by dusk.
The final Green Book was published in 1966 with high hopes that this type of guide would never be needed again.
The year is 2016. And in Tampa, Florida, a black man was denied multiple times by an Airbnb host in Idaho even though his white friend was immediately approved for the same dates.
Rohan Gilkes’ experience led to a flood of similar stories from others and the hastag “AirbnbWhileBlack” was born.
Gilkes took action by launching an alternative to the short term rental platform Airbnb. He and Zakiyyah Myer co-founded Innclusive.com, where the motto is, “Be Yourself.”
After coming under intense fire, on November 1, Airbnb initiated new polices to combat discrimination. All hosts must now agree to the “Community Commitment,” which prevents them from declining a guest based on things like race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.
It’s progress toward a long-standing goal of tolerance and acceptance in this country that still hasn’t been reached, but heightened awareness of the issues could finally bring about meaningful change.
Mr. Hilary Shelton on current race relations
What has been the reaction from the black community towards the Donald Trump victory on election night? For more, CCTV America‘s Elaine Reyes spoke with Mr. Hilary Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau director and senior vice president for Advocacy.