Louisville girl creating modern-day ‘The Inexperienced Book’

The Green Book was created to help black people navigate the Jim Crow south. Now a Louisville woman is creating one to promote black-owned businesses.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – During the Jim Crow era, African Americans had something called “The Green Book” with them when they traveled in a time of segregation.

It served as a travel bible, and the pages had lists of safe places such as hotels and restaurants around the country that served blacks.

“The Green Book” was published each year between 1936 and 1966 and was created by a New York postal worker named Victor Hugo Green.

The cover said, “Carry your Green Paper with you … you may need it”.

Green was known to travel to different cities and get companies to sign up. Every year when the guide was published the list grew.

Today a Louisville woman is rewriting this book, this time to promote black-owned businesses.

Louisville had its stake in businesses listed in the pages of Green’s book, and today almost all of them are gone or renovated.

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“The legacy has faded with him, and so I wanted to be able to carry on that legacy to create a space for promotion and support and unity within the black business community,” said the author of the Modern Day Green Book, Theo Edwards- Butler.

In June 2020, Edwards-Butler pondered the idea for the updated travel guide. This time it lists names of black owned companies that any traveler around the world can find.

She first created a digital database with a list of names that she still collects.

“Quite a lot of knocking on people’s doors, but sliding into people’s DMs virtually or simply if you want to tell,” said Edwards-Butler.

The list of black-owned companies in the book is designed to identify and promote every black business, from restaurants to online stores to brick and mortar stores.

“You can be online, you can be stationary, black-owned companies often don’t have the support, even within their own community. They know that you see the Jewish communities, Hispanic communities, even other minority and white communities gathering them in There are hubs near their stores, “said Edwards-Butler.

On the last day of Black History, the first digital edition of the Modern Green Book.

15 companies are presented. One of them is a Louisville-based womenswear website called Noted Boutique owned by Brittany Boone.

“I think black-owned companies want to serve everyone, of course, but we definitely need to be able to keep an eye out for our own people too, because if we don’t, no one else probably will,” Boone said.

The physical copy of the Modern Green Book is expected to be released in June.

Contact reporter Senait Gebregiorgis at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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