This is the fifth and final post in our summer series about Dale Award recipients.
“See how happy I am?” Peyton Morgan ’14 said, showing off the picture on his driver’s license. He acquired the license in anticipation of a seven-week summer road trip, during which his only guides were a GPS and The Green Book. The book, published by postal-service worker Victor Green between 1936 and 1964, once served as a guide to hotels, restaurants, and businesses that would serve African-American travelers.
Backed by a Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Award, Morgan followed an itinerary through 15 cities across America as he documented the present state of the locations listed in the book. Undertaking the trip on a newly minted license was daunting (“I’m surprised they let me go!” the Chicago resident said), but his determination drove him — literally — to find meaning in a largely forgotten text.
Searching for the listed establishments, Morgan found little: Only two people he met had heard of The Green Book, and while some buildings still stood, few remained as they had been during the segregation era. Sometimes, all physical evidence had disappeared completely. “The visit of that day would consist of going to the side of the highway, and realizing that the neighborhood is no longer there,” he said.