Bloomberg • Best Nonfiction Books of 2020: "[A] tour de force."
The basis of a major PBS documentary by Ric Burns, this “excellent history” (The New Yorker) reveals how the automobile fundamentally changed African American life.
Driving While Black demonstrates that the carthe ultimate symbol of independence and possibilityhas always held particular importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road. Melding new archival research with her family’s story, Gretchen Sorin recovers a lost history, demonstrating how, when combined with black travel guidesincluding the famous Green Bookthe automobile encouraged a new way of resisting oppression.
Gretchen Sorin is distinguished professor and director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program of the State University of New York. She has curated innumerable exhibitsincluding with the Smithsonian, the Jewish Museum and the New York State Historical Associationand lives in upstate New York.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Journey 1
Chapter 2 "Humiliation Stalks Them" 18
Chapter 3 African Americans and the Automobile 34
Chapter 4 "Through the Windshield" 77
Chapter 5 Driving While Black 119
Chapter 6 Travel Guides for Everyone 150
Chapter 7 Victor and Alma Green's the Negro Motorist Green Book 176
Washington Post • 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2020 Finalist • Kirkus Prize for
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