So unless you’ve been (cliche saying coming up) living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the movie ‘The Green Book‘, which is about a African-American pianist who goes on tour in the south and has a White driver/protector to get him around. Like most movies, (I haven’t seen it but can guess the outcome) they face some turmoil, there’s a climatic part and in the end, they develop a friendship.
Anyways… to get to my point.
The green book is a real thing. A real, green book. And I held one yesterday.
As stated before I hadn’t seen the movie but my parents did and said it was fairly good, considering my mother tends to avoid movies based in times
where blacks were in slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights era. But yesterday, my father shows me that he ordered a Green Book. My mother side eyed it and I think she scoffed at it. She stated, “I don’t want to see that.” My fathers reply, “Well it’s our history. Can’t forget it.” Then I chimed in, “As of right now, its not easy to forget.”
Killer Mike has a show on Netflix called ‘Trigger Warning” where he– just go watch it. But the first episode is where I learned that the Green Book was an actual thing.
On his first episode he takes on the challenge to just buy Black. Watching him not be able to eat, drive, and even sleep comfortably because something wasn’t black owned or produced was interesting to see. I mean, just living day to day, you don’t about all the things we’re using that aren’t black owned or produced. Were just living life. But for him to have strictly limited himself to only buying black and trying to live was clearly beyond a challenge.
In the episode he talked to some elderly men who spoke about the green book and how it was helpful for Blacks in a time where we weren’t welcomed everywhere. So this green book was basically like a modern day Yelp, except it was for Black people so they could be safe while trying to get a haircut, eat, sleep, or buy gas. Ya know, exist peacefully.
Like. (Insert Bruh meme)
Just thinking about what past generations of Black people had to go through to live a life really gets me misty!
So I kind of skimmed trough the book, and it had actual addresses of places where Blacks could go. The states were in alphabetical order, then went by cities and towns. Under each it would have what the place was, like barbershop or restaurant or actual homes of people and the address followed. What was crazy to me was so see an address of a house near where I visit a friend in downtown Indianapolis.
I’ll watch “The Green Book” eventually, but movies like that, you have to prepare yourself for. You have to be in the mood to see a Black person act out the past realities. I was watching Grown-ish the other day and one of the characters hosted a movie night for the black students and decided to play “12 Years a Slave.”
No one wants to watch that for the cinematic pleasure of it. One and done for me, please.
But this post was simply to reflect. I love learning about our history since the school system omitted so much of it. I find myself learning more now than I ever did during Black History month or just regularly as a child. It was always the basics (not meant negatively) like Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Harriet, Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., and George Washington Carver with the Peanut butter, when there are so many more!
The Harlem Renaissance for instance. I don’t think I learned about that time until college.(?) They started assigning us literary readings, and of course I went for the Black authors like James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Claude McKay and those are just a few authors; this is without mention of the the jazz artists, the dancers, the painters, and key figures like W.E.B. Dubois and Marcus Garvey.
We have so much history be it good or bad and we need to remember even though we may not always want to see the bad, like my mother, but it is important to remember like my Father mentioned. And like its been said often, we need to celebrate out history more often than just the month of February.
I’m guilty of not even celebrating for the month of February.
I’m going to challenge myself to learn more about our history the rest of the year. The Harlem Renaissance has always peaked my interest, so i’m going to try and submerge myself in that smorgasbord of history. Feel free to join me!