Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance
Winner of the Bancroft Prize
Winner of the David J. Langum Prize
Winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award
Winner of the Order of the Coif Book Award
Winner of the OAH Liberty Legacy Foundation Award
A New York Times Critics' Top Book of the Year
"This extraordinary book is a powerful addition to the history of travel segregation...Mia Bay shows that Black mobility has always been a struggle."
--Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist
"In Mia Bay's superb history of mobility and resistance, the question of literal movement becomes a way to understand the civil rights movement writ large."
--Jennifer Szalai, New York Times
"Traveling Black is well worth the fare. Indeed, it is certain to become the new standard on this important, and too often forgotten, history."
--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., author of Stony the Road
From Plessy v. Ferguson to #DrivingWhileBlack, African Americans have fought to move freely around the United States. But why this focus on Black mobility? From stagecoaches and trains to buses, cars, and planes, Traveling Black explores when, how, and why racial restrictions took shape in America and brilliantly portrays what it was like to live with them.
Mia Bay rescues forgotten stories of passengers who made it home despite being insulted, stranded, re-routed, or ignored. She shows that Black travelers never stopped challenging these humiliations, documenting a sustained fight for redress that falls outside the traditional boundaries of the civil rights movement. A riveting, character-rich account of the rise and fall of racial segregation, it reveals just how central travel restrictions were to the creation of Jim Crow laws--and why free movement has been at the heart of the quest for racial justice ever since.