Sunday, February 13, 2011


Ruth is excited when her father buys a new car. It's supposed to be for his job, but first the family is going to use it to travel from their home in Chicago to Alabama to see Ruth's grandma.

The trip starts out as a grand adventure, but soon the reality of life in the south in the 1950's sets in. No one will let Ruth and her mother use their restroom, so they have to go into the woods. They can't eat at restaurants or stay in a motel.

The second day of their trip, Ruth and her family stay with a friend of her father's who tells the family to look for Esso stations, because that company is friendly to blacks. At one of the Esso stations, a clerk shows them THE NEGRO MOTORIST GREEN BOOK, a publication that tells Blacks about places they can eat and stay. Ruth's family relies on the book to help them for the rest of their journey.

RUTH AND THE GREEN BOOK is fiction, but THE NEGRO MOTORIST GREEN BOOK was actually published from 1936-1964. Pair this book with SIT-IN, another terrific read about life in the segregated South.

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