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‘Driving While Black’ shows history of US Black motorists

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) – A new film explores the story of African Americans cruising from the Great Depression to the height of the civil rights movement.

“Driving While Black”, which airs on most PBS stations in the US this week, shows how the car has freed African Americans to move around the country while still heading towards segregation and violence.

The film was inspired by Gretchen Sorin’s 2019 book, Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights. The book was a compelling story about how the car opened up opportunities for blacks in the US

The car enabled African Americans to avoid separate trains and buses throughout the American South, and gave blacks the opportunity to travel across the country. Tour guides featured a modern subway to show black travelers which hotels and restaurants they would serve.

Free movement opened the window for migration across the country and away from Jim Crow to include the modern civil rights movement.

The project is one of many recent works examining the travel of colored people despite discrimination and the threat of racist violence. Candacy Taylor’s “Overground Railroad: The Green Book and The Roots of Black Travel America,” published last year shows how the Green Book, a travel guide for African Americans, helped black travelers find their way around segregated and a traveling traveler Build a network.

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