Black people have always traveled with a purpose. These 5 historical travelers paved the way for Black freedom and civil rights for generations to come.
“The Train Conductor”: Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in 1849. After obtaining freedom in the North, Tubman returned to the South freeing hundreds of slaves via the underground railroad. Each trip was approximately 90 miles which she later rerouted to Canada. During the Civil War, Tubman led an armed expedition at war. Her exhibition freed 700 slaves in South Carolina and made her the first woman to lead an exhibition.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman
The Green Book: Victor Hugo Green wrote The Negro Motorist Green Book. The book served as a guide for black travelers during the Jim Crow era. The book started in New York City as a reference for businesses that welcomed Black people. As more Black people became car owners, Green decided to expand his book to cover hotels and restaurants across the country. He sold thousands of books per year, helping black motorists find safe spaces across the US.
Soaring Through The Skies: Bessie Coleman was the first Black and Native American woman pilot. Because of Coleman’s race, she was not able to go to school and get her pilot’s license in America. She did not let the rejections stop her from reaching her dream, so she attended night school and learned French so that she could go to pilot school in France. Coleman received her international license from Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Her life mission was to inspire Black women to go for their dreams.
Aviators: The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military aviators in the US Army. President Roosevelt announced the Tuskegee Experiment in 1940. The Tuskegee Airmen served in North Africa and Europe during World War ll from 1942-1945. The brave and noble service of the Tuskegee Airmen initiated the integration of the US military.
Outer Space exploration: Guion S. Bluford (Philadelphia Native) was the first Black person to travel to outer space. Prior to his space travel, Bluford served in the Air Force as a pilot. His first mission was on the space shuttle Challenger. He participated in several missions, clocking 700 hours during his time with NASA.