Presented: Dr. Ethan Bottone, Northwest Missouri State University
The "Green Book," a Jim Crow era travel guide created by Black Americans for Black Americans, has received much recent popular and academic scrutiny. Consisting of almost 30 editions published between 1936 and 1967, the "Green Book" facilitated safe travel by Black travelers through hostile areas of the United States. It provided escape from harassment and potential violence instigated by unwelcoming shopkeepers and patrons. As a toll of resistance, the many editions of the "Green Book" provide a kind of road map that can reveal Black geographies previously forgotten by hegemonic knowledge structures.
This presentation addresses this gap by understanding how the text of the "Green Book" can be read through the epistemologies of Black geographies and critical geographic information science (GIS science). By comparing the spatial data of the "Green Book" to historical data, trends in urban neighborhood composition can help understand how Black travel patterns shifted during the Jim Crow era. Furthermore, such mapping reveals the complex networks of spaces developed by Black Americans to live within a segregationist society while actively resisting discrimination through the construction of counter-public spaces.
Bottone is an assistant professor of geography and the assistant chair, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University. He received his PhD from the University of Tennessee, where his dissertation focused on the intersections of race, mobility and travel. Currently, his research explores multiple aspects of just and sustainable tourism, including a forthcoming chapter investigating the affective atmospheres present at the Titanic Museum attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.