Located on the corner of 16th and South streets, Budweiser was popular throughout Philadelphia. According to saxophonist Sam Reed, Billie Holiday performed here.
Saxophonist Benny Carter played here with Jimmy Tisdale and his orchestra.
What’s old is new again. The Negro Motorist Green Book published by Victor H. Green, a postal worker in Harlem, is all the rage. Access to the Green Book in the New York Public Library Digital Collections and the “Green Book” movie sparked interest in the crowdsourced travel guide that was published from 1936 to 1966.
The Green Book empowered African Americans to “vacation without aggravation.” The guide helped travelers, including musicians, athletes and businesspeople, navigate Jim Crow laws in the South and racial segregation in the North. “Your Rights, Briefly Speaking!” is a precursor to the current mantra to “know your rights.”
A network of postal workers scouted out advertisers for the travel guide. Green Book listings included hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, theaters, barber shops and beauty parlors. Green envisioned a time when his publication would no longer be necessary:
There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment. But until that time comes we shall continue to publish this information for your convenience each year.
That day did not come until July 2, 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in public accommodations.
Over the course of 30 years, there were dozens of Philadelphia listings. Some businesses advertised every year; others for one or multiple years. Green Book listings were sites of sanctuary. They were also sites of resistance.
The Green Book Walking Tour stops at sites in Center City and South Philly.
The walking tour starts at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (now The Bellevue Philadelphia) and ends at the repurposed Attucks Hotel (distance: 0.7 miles).
The Green Book Walking Tour is led by All That Philly Jazz Director Faye Anderson, a storyteller who is passionate about uncovering hidden and forgotten stories.
The Green Book walking tour is on pause during the coronavirus pandemic. To schedule a Mapping the Green Book in Philadelphia presentation, contact Faye at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 27th annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicks off this week with the screening of Ben is Back starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges as mother and son who are grappling with a history of addiction.
The story is ripped from the headlines as Philadelphia struggles to deal with the opioid drama unfolding on the streets of Kensington.
Executive Director J. Andrew Greenblatt said in a statement:
From our powerful, socially relevant and incredibly timely Opening Night screening of Ben is Back to the definitive look at Philadelphia music legend Teddy Pendergrass for our Closing Night selection, and the incredibly diverse line-up in-between, the films premiering in this year’s Festival will be discussed and remembered for a long time to come.
Artistic Director Michael Lerman added:
Andrew and I have been doing this together for ten years and I love that we continue to find fresh, unique films that delight and challenge audiences. I’m so proud of the program the team has put together and I can’t wait to share the adventure we have in store for you.
What’s in store is a lineup of more than 100 films over 11 days. As a curator of art, technology and social change content, my must-see films include:
The film is based on a true friendship. Art also imitates life. Before passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African American motorists used the “Green Book” travel guide to vacation without humiliation.
The Closing Night film, Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me, tells the untold story of Philadelphia’s legendary R&B singer whose “For Women Only” concerts were the stuff of, well, legends.
To view the full schedule and purchase tickets, go here.