African American Museum in Philadelphia's Sanctuary turns the 'Green Book' into exhibition

ByBethany Owings WPVI logo
Monday, August 8, 2022
'Green Book' s art exhibit at African American Museum in Philadelphia
The African American Museum in Philadelphia has an exhibit that takes visitors on a journey through the history of road tripping for Black travelers.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The African American Museum in Philadelphia has a traveling exhibition that takes visitors on a journey through the history of road tripping for Black American travelers.

Karen Rogers brings us the details in this week's 6abc Loves the Arts.

Derrick Adams: Sanctuary turns the "The Negro Motorist Green Book" into large-scale installations.

"Sanctuary really talks more about Black mobility and Black perseverance," says Adams.

The exhibition is inspired by postal worker Victor Hugo's Green Book, first published in 1936.

"It was used as a guidebook for Black drivers and their families who were traversing the country in the mid-20th century," says Dejay Duckett, Vice President of Curatorial Services at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, "Places where Black people could go and be safe."

The first edition covered only New York State but the Green Book grew to safely guide Black travelers across much of North America.

"It's listed by state, representative of the barber shops, the auto repair shops, the hotels, the restaurant," says Duckett.

The 'Beacons of Light' symbolize 'sundown towns.'

"Cities where, if you were Black, you cannot be seen out at a certain time at night, or you will be subject to violence," says Adams.

The beacons are made with children's milk cartoons molded into buildings.

"Places that would house people who were in need," says Adams.

"There are very serious details that deal with sundown towns but there's also this through the way of joy, of humor," says Duckett.

Adams celebrates driving style and culture.

"When my parents and grandparents got on the road they were decked out," says Duckett.

He also gives double meaning to familiar road trip mantras.

"Are we there yet? Can we take a break?" says Duckett.

Here the questions refer to progress in the battle for Civil Rights.

"The idea of leisure is being readdressed as a form of political resistance," says Adams.

"You think of your own personal place of safety. What is your beacon of light?" says Duckett.


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701 Arch Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106

Derrick Adams: Sanctuary on display through August 28th, 2022