Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey
This picture book was the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film The Green Book. Ruth’s story is fiction, but The Green Book and its role in helping a generation of African American travelers avoid some of the indignities of Jim Crow are historical fact.
Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family’s new car! In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she soon found out that black travelers weren’t treated very well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused service to black people. Daddy was upset about something called Jim Crow laws . . .
Finally, a friendly attendant at a gas station showed Ruth’s family The Green Book. It listed all of the places that would welcome black travelers. With this guidebook–and the kindness of strangers–Ruth could finally make a safe journey from Chicago to her grandma’s house in Alabama.
- Can identify and critically think about interpersonal dynamics of racism, sexism, and classism, and understand the nature and harm of stereotyping.
- At Starting with Stories we encourage parents to help their children “notice” in many ways. After Reading Ruth and the Green Book , as your family takes vacations notice the different kinds of people in the places you visit and discuss who is there and who is missing.
- The Johnson County Library has a compilation of the actual Green Book. Check it out and look for places in your community or places you have visited where people of color would have been allowed to stay.
The Negro Motorist Green Book Compendium
A Compilation of Four Volumes of the Classic Jim Crow-era Travel Guide for African Americans Covering All Four Decades During Which the Series Was Published From the 1930s to the 1960s.