Gawker Media auto blog Jalopnik had a fairly sobering post up, in remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, that described “The Green Book”, a publication that ceased publishing in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act.
The book was created to assist black travelers, by listing businesses and establishments around the country (and later some other countries) that were open and friendly to blacks.
The ideal, as it’s described, would be that the book would no longer be needed at some point. To a degree, that occurred during the civil rights movement, but we can all agree that even in 2011, equality has not entirely arrived. Yes, it’s better than it was but there is still a long way to go.
And not only in civil rights. Employment equality is still not entirely “there” yet for minorities and women. There are still areas of the south that unofficially (because officially is illegal) do not welcome black people. I’ve seen some here in Texas. GLBT groups are still looking for equality in a variety of areas for gays and lesbians. Hell, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was just finally repealed a few weeks ago.
The Green Book is sobering but it’s a reminder of where we have come in the process to create a more perfect union. It is hosted by the Henry Ford Museum and you can download the [very large at 91MB] PDF of the entire 1949 guide here.