Overground Railroad: The Green Book & Roots of Black Travel in America (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


Taylor has done America a great service by documenting the history of The Green Book and what remains today of the locations it listed. The Green Book, published from 1936 to 1967, was a guide for black travelers, showing businesses that welcomed African Americans. It allowed them a degree of the safety and support they needed to enjoy travel despite the constant potential for being targeted with racial hatred and violence. In its later days, it also became a voice for demanding civil rights. Taylor’s details about the development and use of the book are fascinating, but her work entails so much more. She's created an impressive history of the African American economic progress which grew from having and working with automobiles, and from the increasing mobility and business opportunities they afforded. It's also personal for her, inspired by her stepfather Ron, a decorated Vietnam marine whose stories amazed her and moved her to travel across the country while searching for Green Book businesses and photographing them herself. Taylor is adept at using the past as a context to understand race in America today and what we can do to fight for equal treatment. Most importantly, this book is a smart and deeply affecting look at black people's long and agonizing struggle to get basic respect and justice. More than any book I've read, Overground Railroad made me understand the endless, malicious obstacles put in the way of basic living, solely because of skin color. It's a powerful book. I'm already eager to read it again.

— Tim McCarthy

About the Author


Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian. Her work has been featured in over 50 media outlets including the New Yorker and The Atlantic. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants including The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She lives in Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at taylormadeculture.com and follow her on Twitter @candacytaylor. 

Praise For…


"With passion, conviction, and clarity, [Candacy] Taylor’s book unearths a fascinating and true—if not willfully obscured—history of African American activism and entrepreneurship in the United States. This remarkable study broadens our understanding of black life, leisure, and struggles for equality in twentieth-century America, presents the Green Book as a social movement in response to a crisis in black travel, and makes a compelling case for the need to protect more diverse African American sites that have been heretofore underappreciated."

— Brent Leggs

“In scope and tone, “Overground Railroad” recalls Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns…At its center, the book is a nuanced commentary of how black bodies have been monitored, censured or violated, and it compellingly pulls readers into the current news cycle.”

— The Los Angeles Times

"A fascinating look at a groundbreaking guide."

— The New York Post

“…her book is a moving and needed history. The overt white nationalism of our era highlights the covert racism that never went away.”

— Bookforum

"An enriching look at African American history through the lens of the black motorist, and as one of the few books on the subject, this is essential for most collections."

— Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Overground Railroad is an eye-opening, deeply moving social history of American segregation and black migration during the middle years of the 20th century.”

— BookPage, STARRED review

“The overarching story of the Green Book reminds us that individual acts of bravery contributed immeasurably to standing up to segregation.”

— The Daily Beast
Product Details
ISBN: 9781419738173
ISBN-10: 1419738178
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: January 7th, 2020
Pages: 360