1936 — Victor Hugo Green, an African-American mailman from New York City, created The Negro Travelers’ Green Book — the inspiration behind the multi-award winning film. It was the first-ever travel guide for people of color during the Jim Crow era. At its heyday, more than 15,000 books were printed each year, listing or advertising hotels, restaurants, gas stations and even laundromats, clothes stores and pharmacies that welcomed the black traveler. It even offered a reservation service to avoid "embarrassment on the road."
Standard Oil Company (and its ESSO service stations) was one of the corporate supporters of the guide book, demonstrating to the rest of Corporate America that the burgeoning upwardly mobile "Negro market" was a market worth investing in. Many African-Americans, and their descendants, became life-long fans of ESSO (ExxonMobil)…. The book stopped printing in 1964, with the ending of Jim Crow and the start of the Civil Rights era.