The Negro Motorist Green Book, or Green Books as they were often referred to as, was used by Black families when the needed to travel through segregated America. The Green Book was created by Victor Green, each book had a state by state list of accommodations that would house everyone. My grandmother says she remembers using Green Books as a young child when her family travels. In my copy some states, like Texas, are not even listed in the index.
I noticed that some of the states not listed just so happened to be the same states that Blacks migrated from during the Great Migration (1917-70). On the map I painted those states a dark navy, the mid range blue states are the more neutral states, and the brightest colored states are were Black families migrated to.
I hate driving. Every time I get behind the wheel, I don’t know if I will make it home. Every time a new video about police brutality released, I cry and have to work up the courage to drive so I can complete any errands I have.
The purpose of this painting is to make an impersonal piece of personal information personal again. Think about it, when you look at someone’s license if doesn’t really tell you who they are as a person. It doesn’t tell you their interests, their relationships, or their hobbies. A license, or most IDs, give other people a free pass to make assumptions about who you are as a person. For me personally, this can lead to racial profiling that can have life or death consequences.
Since making this painting, it’s actually sparked a lot of conversations with people on campus. I attend what some might considered to be a conservative school. I mean, they try to be accepting and such, but this is Texas. There is only oh so much the school can do. Anyway, the general response has been positive. People on campus seem to like my reasoning for making this painting. I’ve decided to make this a series and do the licenses of different people. I plan on asking one of my best friends and my boyfriend’s mother. If I can do this right, then I can help other minorities like myself show people that we’re really not that different from them.