The Negro Motorist Green Book was first published in 1936 as a guide for Black people traveling through hostile, racist towns in the Jim Crow South. The legacy of the publication helped hundreds of Black travelers to safely explore the country and encourage other generations of explorers. One Black woman wants to preserve its legacy with a new travel guide to open travelers to the African diaspora around the globe.
Martinique Lewis is a travel consultant and owner of the ABC Travel Green Book series, a new collection of travel guide books highlighting Black-owned tours, restaurants, and places of interest-based on the local Black population. Lewis was inspired by her own travel experiences meeting Black people from other countries.
“After traveling the world and being blown away by the people who look like me in places I’d never think Black people were, I knew I had to somehow create a resource that helped others have these experiences,” says Lewis in an email interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“Not only did I want to connect the African diaspora globally, I wanted to celebrate Black businesses around the world to help keep the Black dollar circulating. There is not one resource that compacts all this information and no search engine or travel site can tell you where in Israel you can get your hair braided. But we seek that info and now it’s available through the book!”
“In addition to running her own business, Lewis also works to advocate for diversity within the travel sector ranging from her Diversity Report Card to her work on the board of the Black Travel Alliance, an organization seeking to amplify Black narratives within the industry. She also works closely with the Nomadness Travel Tribe, a collective of Black travelers spanning over 20,000 members around the world.
Lewis hopes for the new series to inspire the next generation of Black travelers. “I want people to realize that the African Diaspora is everywhere, and there is a vast opportunity to amplify black voices, stories and businesses with the ABC Travel Greenbook,” she added. “I want the travel industry to not just talk about it, but be about it.”
They no longer can say they didn’t know the Black restaurants or Black history tour in Amsterdam to put in their travel publications or to add to their itineraries because the ABC Travel Greenbook tells you where they are,” Lewis says. “I also want people to realize Black people didn’t only get to destinations through the slave trade. We were explorers too, and sailed the seas just like everyone else. I want people to treat this book like one of the most powerful resources in the world, because it is.”