On Traveling While Black

A few days ago, I saw a Facebook ad for the 3rd Annual National Antiracist Book Festival, which was being hosted by the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.

The event was held virtually yesterday. All of the sessions sounded interesting, but I already had plans for most of the day. I squeezed in a 9:00 am session called “On Traveling While Black.” I love traveling, as many of you readers know. Traveling equates to freedom for me, so I was curious to learn more about the Black experience of traveling. I’ve watched the movies Green Book and 42 in the past fews years, and they gave me a glimpse of what it was like in the 1960s in America. Pretty horrifying, as you would imagine.

Boston Globe reporter Tianna Woodard moderated the discussion between University of Pennsylvania professor Mia Bay and writer and journalist Deborah Douglas. They’ve both written books about the Black travel experience: Traveling Black and U.S. Civil Rights Trail, respectively.

I’m putting both books on my reading list. Traveling Black discusses the history of travel segregation through the lens of many court cases, which were mainly started by Black women. U.S. Civil Rights Trail sounds like a straight-up travel guide, in which Douglas hand-picks some main stops to visit on the “trail.” She seems to be an enthusiastic and curious traveler, so I’m sure the guide is awesome.

I hope to keep an eye out for next year’s festival, so I have more notice and can attend a few sessions. Have you attended an antiracist book festival before?

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