PCC Professor Talks Black History and the Green Book at Rotary Event Today

Published : Wednesday, February 6, 2019 | 5:42 AM

Pasadena City College history professor Dr. Christopher West will take a look at Black History Month and share insights about “The Green Book,” recently made popular again by a movie of the same name, at an open-to-the public Pasadena Rotary Club luncheon on Wednesday.

The meeting starts at noon at the University Club, 175 N. Oakland Avenue in Pasadena and no RSVP is required.

Dr. West will be utilizing interactive web-based guides and original source materials to give Pasadena Rotary Club members and the public a glimpse of one facet of the entrepreneurship and innovation of African American families to enjoy the benefits of private automotive travel in the U.S. during past times.

Green, an African American New York postal carrier, began publishing the annual “The Negro Motorist Green-Book” in 1936, and later renamed it “The Negro Travelers’ Green Book.” The book was a 15-page handbook of hotels, restaurants and businesses that catered to African American travelers.

For 30 years, with the assistance of a network of postal carriers and motorists, the “Green Book” offered information for families traveling in racially segregated Jim Crow America.

The 1940 facsimile edition, for example, brings all the listings, articles, and advertisements aimed at African American travelers trying to find their way across a country where they were so rarely welcome.

Dr. Christopher West’s creative and dynamic teaching inspires Pasadena City College students to delve deeply into the complexities of American history and grapple with both the aspirations and contradictions of the country’s founding beliefs.

A native Angeleno, Dr. West transitioned to the academy completing his doctoral thesis “More Than My Color: Race, Space and Politics in Black Los Angeles, 1940-1968,” at the University of Southern California, where he became the first African American man to earn a Ph.D. in History.

His service to USC included directing the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund that assisted economically disadvantaged and ethnically underrepresented students. West’s arts administration experience includes service as the curator of history for the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, where he originated and designed exhibitions that traveled nationally.

Dr. West received his B.A. in American History from the University of California, Berkeley and earned his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Southern California.

Wednesday’s brunch is $33, which includes complimentary valet parking. For inquiries, email office@pasadenarotary.com.

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