The Global ‘Green Book’ That Black Travelers Need Now
Safe traveling recommendations for Black people during Covid-19
When author and diversity consultant Martinique Lewis visited Amsterdam years ago, she made a pivotal discovery. “Black people are in places you’d never expect,” she says. “There’s so much Black history in Amsterdam. If you go to the Red Light District, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions, you will see statues of Black people on top of the buildings. Slavery was illegal, but rich families displayed their wealth with these figures of Black people.”
This experience was one of several that motivated Lewis to create a guide for Black travelers. This past August, she published the ABC Travel Greenbook: Connecting the African Diaspora Globally, inspired by Victor Hugo Green’s Negro Motorist Green Book, which guided Black travelers during the Jim Crow era.
“Seventy percent of Black travelers are more likely to visit a destination if we see ourselves,” Lewis says. That’s why she decided to build upon Green’s important legacy of publishing an annual booklet that listed safe and welcoming spaces for Black readers. Lewis’s international version lists everything from Black-owned hotels, hair salons, and restaurants to airports with Black aviation directors—all over the world. The ABC Travel Greenbook is a print and digital book that provides tips and info pertinent to Black people about dozens of countries. It also advises on where not to go. Places like Luxembourg and Malta are flagged for high levels of racism.
The World, Opened Up
The fear of traveling in my body made the world seem small, until I did it anyway
Lewis has traveled for most of her life. Family excursions to Italy, Spain, and Jamaica, paired with study abroad in London, solidified her love of globetrotting. A highlight of those times was spotting Black people in places she never expected.