We are pleased to announce Public History PhD student, Lisa R. Withers has received a Doctoral Dissertation Completion Grant for the period July 1 to December 31, 2020. This program is funded through the Graduate School and will enable Lisa to focus full time on writing her dissertation entitled “The Negro Motorist Green Book and African American Community History: Networks and Resistance Infrastructure of the Life Behind the Veil in North Carolina.”
The Negro Motorist Green Book answered a key question for African American travelers passing through unfamiliar places: Where is the Black community or individuals who are friendly to the Black community? Relevant works of scholarship related to the Green Book primarily focus on the experiences of African American travelers on the road and the significance of the publication as a form of protest. Lisa’s research takes the opposite approach to understanding the Green Book by investigating the people associated with the publication’s listings who helped to facilitate African American travel through local communities in North Carolina.
The dissertation argues that even though the Green Book was publicized as a travel guide, the booklet was a publication of individuals who were willing to forge a new network for African American travel and who were willing to visibly participate in a resistance movement against efforts to prohibit African Americans from safe professional or leisure travel. Ultimately, this dissertation is about the formation, maintenance, and use of networks as acts of resistance during the Jim Crow era, how knowledge is passed down from generation to generation within a family or community, and how public historians can use both archival sources and community engagement research methods to simultaneously preserve knowledge, create new knowledge, and contribute to civic dialogues about the early to mid-20th century as modern society still grapples with the legacies of Jim Crow.
Learn more about Lisa R. Withers HERE.