Smithsonian ‘Green Book’ Exhibit makes its way to Capital City

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BATON ROUGE La. (BRPROUD)– The Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibit is making its way to the Capital City for the first time.

The exhibit shows the story of how the green book guide helped African Americans travel safely during the Jim Crow area.

Some of those stops were here in the Capital City.

Imagine having to watch your every move, depending on a book to help keep you safe, that’s what it was like for many African Americans during the Jim Crow era.

Capitol Park Museum Director Rodneya Hart said, “People found a way to live a more equitable life.

A former postal worker by the name of Victor Green created the first green book in 1936. Green hoped this guide would allow blacks a life with more freedom.

“It was a way that you navigated your entire trip before you even left home. You figure out where you would eat, sleep, use the restroom, ” said Hart.

Black people would use this book to find places where they wouldn’t have to face the repercussions of Jim Crow Laws.

“It could be the difference between life or death to go to the wrong neighborhood or the wrong restaurant,” Hart explained.

The Smithsonian Institution will help this guide come to life through its traveling exhibition at the Capitol Park Museum.

She said, “Visually, it’s really stunning. Lots of broad graphics, beautiful photography. Lots of really great material culture that helps people understand that these were actual, tangible human beings.”

Beauty salon objects.

The entire 2nd floor of the museum will be dedicated to The Green Book which shows how significant this guide was to our nation’s history.

“This is the first location of the three that will be able to put the entire show in one space,” Hart said.

Exxon previously known as ESSO Standard Oil is supporting the exhibit.

Hart added, “The distribution made the difference. It is why it was able to continue and also why it was able to gain its significance. “

Hart said she’s honored to host this event as the first black female director for this museum. 

The three-month exhibit will make its way to Baton Rouge on Aug. 21.

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