This poem is a map is a poem is a bundle of histories.
Victor Hugo Green named for Victor Hugo of Les Mis, Hunchback of Notre Dame fame
Was born in Manhattan a postal worker turned travel critic
in 1936, he compiles a nationwide list of Black-friendly local businesses because
“Oftentimes painful embarrassments suffered which ruined a family vacation or business trip”
Green publishes Green’s Book it catches on, an agency forms “Yes! We Can
arrange your vacation Cruises tours tickets…” 20 years hence 1956
Associate Editor Novera Dashiell pens “Many Happy Returns” a brief history of the Green Book (not so
brief as this one) and a passionate plea for MORE ADVERTISING because Mr. Green said,
she said, “If Black-owned business is good it can be better with advertising”
Victor H. Green and Company necessary Black-owned big business
target market the heretofore still always already targeted Black traveler
Green Book falls into obscurity after Civil Rights Act closes, 1966
This poem is method reticent archivist straining for knowns following omissions
This map is not so much an elegy for the Green Book institution, publication, brand
but for its spirit and the real Black folks who self-listified so real Black folks might travel safe from white
This poem to reanimate so many listings exhume ghosted streets restage 5-star spots
Mrs. L. Jackson Tourist Home 35 Bath Rd., Newport, RI
Miss M.J. Grimes Tourist Home 210 Mean St., Greenville, SC
Winter’s Farm Powell, PA for reservations Tel. Towanda 233J2
Mrs. Elvira R. King Tourist Home 1312 Linden St., Scranton, PA
Motel Simbeth “US-1 8 miles N of Columbia, South Carolina”
Johnson Tourist Home 1220 Lancaster St., Orangeburg, SC single $2 double $3
Dr. Gibbs Tourist Home 914 Anderson Rd., Greenville, SC condemned
James Hotel 228 Spring St., Charleston, SC now McDonalds
Thomas Chicken Shack Restaurant 235 9th St., Chattanooga, TN now stonecutting
Richardson Tourist Home 140 E. Chestnut St., Washington, PA now tennis club
Motel Simbeth “US-1 8 miles N of Columbia” now Walmart
C.F. Holland Tourist Home 1118 Richland Ave., Aiken, SC now loanshark
Shaw Hotel 15 N. State St., Wilkes Barre, PA now state-owned
Green Leaf Restaurant 1117 Washington St., Columbia, SC now state-owned
Savoy Restaurant Old Winnsboro Rd., Columbia, SC now state-owned
noticing how real Black folks build or pay for everybody else
this re-mapping is not all losses
Black Chattanooga, TN reimagined E. 9th St. now MLK Blvd.
Black Dallas, TX Martin Hotels now Bessie Smith Ctr
Black Anderson, SC Ess-Tee Restaurant now a park
celebrating Black life geography’s temporal survivors more life in
Rocket Court now Rocket Motel in Custer, SD near Rushmore family-owned & operated
College Inn Restaurant still open 324 Church St., Cheraw, South Carolina
This map is Black metadata is poem this map is cartographic fatigue
is white wanting to find other truth
wanting knowing lamenting reproducing the ways that
Black wealth Black land Black home Black place Black life
is first to go wanting
to believe some remain
to hope from a safe place and wanting a map
to feel full of addresses
to remain full of photographs
to prove and to wonder if it’s possible to find answers
in this skin and knowing and no—ing and finally

This note acknowledges M. NourbeSe Philip, for her life-bearing obliteration of archival language; Katherine McKittrick, for her work on the numeration of Black bodies and the speculation on Black geographies; Rhaisa Williams, and my colleagues in “Performing Ghosts”; and the makers and listings of the partial 1956 Green Book, “mapped” above and at