SCHOLARLY WORK

Articles, Books and Chapters

October 18, 2018

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a tool used by the Black community to navigate systemic racism throughout the U.S. and around the world. Whether providing its users with safer roads to take or businesses that were welcoming to Black patrons, The Negro Motorist Green Book fostered pride and created a physical network of safe spaces within the Black community. Building a bridge between this artifact which served Black people for thirty years and the current moment, we explore Black Twitter as an online space where the Black community navigates identity, activism, racism, and more. Through interviews with people who engage with Black Twitter, we surface the benefits (such as community building, empowerment, and activism) and challenges (like dealing with racism, appropriation, and outsiders) on the platform, juxtaposing the Green Book as a historical artifact and Black Twitter as its contemporary counterpart. Equipped with these insights, we make suggestions including audience segmentation, privacy controls, and involving historically disenfranchised perspectives into the technological design process. These proposals have implications for the design of technologies that would serve Black communities by amplifying Black voices and bolstering work toward justice.

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January 14, 2022

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a publication that offered resources for the Black traveler from 1936 to 1966. More than a directory of Black-friendly businesses, it also offered articles that provided insights for how best to travel safely, engagement with readers through contests and invitations for readers to share travel stories, and even civil rights advocacy. Today, a contemporary counterpart to the Green Book is Black Twitter, where people share information and advocate for their community. By conducting qualitative open coding on a subset of Green Book editions as well as tweets from Black Twitter, we explore similarities and overlapping characteristics such as safety, information sharing, and social justice. Where they diverge exposes how spaces like Black Twitter have evolved to accommodate the needs of people in the Black diaspora beyond the scope of physical travel and into digital spaces. Our research points to ways that the Black community has shifted from the physical to the digital space, expanding how it supports itself, and the potential for research to strengthen throughlines between the past and the present in order to better see the possibilities of the future.

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