The ABC Travel Green Book: Connecting the African Diaspora Globally is an ambitious, updated homage to Victor Hugo Green’s historical resource.
Between the 1930s and 1960s, Black American travel writer Victor Hugo Green published the Negro Green Book to give Black America valuable information traveling the country. Green, knowing the racial discrimination Blacks faced while traveling in the Jim Crow era, created the resource to alert Black travelers about the safe places to visit and patron while on the road. It is this legendary concept that Martinique Lewis offers an updated version entitled the ABC Travel Green Book: Connecting the African Diaspora Globally. Lewis, who is a seasoned diversity travel consultant and president of the Black Travel Alliance, takes on an ambitious project in homage to Green’s legendary work.
This book seeks to cover some of the same ground as Green. While legal, overt discrimination isn’t as prevalent, the book encourages travelers to discover and patron Black owned businesses. It is clear this is a mission-minded endeavor as Lewis delivers a lengthy list of businesses and companies. The book offers a range of categories from restaurants to barbershops. Lewis wisely includes practical services that are often difficult for Black travellers to find abroad. For example, a glance at the international section will provide readers with Black owned establishments providing hair care and wellness services.
That said, the book has its limitations. While the book certainly delivers information, it feels incomplete. It is unclear what criteria companies had to meet to warrant inclusion. If part of the mission is to honor the past and promote the Black-owned businesses, it would have been helpful to have context as to what makes an establishment remarkable. More in-depth information about each region and list selection would have taken this book to the next level. Perhaps, it is presumed that the reader should do the additional research to find more desired information. However, the challenge with marketing as the go-to resource is that there is an expectation that you will deliver comprehensive information.
In addition, there are some regional sections that are lacking. As expected, the United States is very heavily represented, covering half the book. That leaves the rest of the world in the other half. The challenge with identifying as a global resource is that more detailed representation beyond North America is needed. Curiously, there are few offerings within the African continent or the Caribbean. While certainly many of the businesses in this region would be Black owned, there’s very much a need for new travellers to connect with reputable services and businesses in those regions. Given that this is a first edition, there’s hope this list will grow and become more vibrant.
That said, this is a solid resource for the traveller seeking to create an itinerary beyond the typical listings while supporting Black owned businesses. However, readers should view this book as a supplement to their online research. The potential in future editions of the book is limitless, it will just take some time to get there.
The ABC Travel Greenbook: Connecting the African Diaspora Globally is available on Amazon, Google Play and Barnes & Noble in both hardcopy and ebook editions.
All book reviews are the personal and subjective opinion of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.