How the ‘Green Book’ Shaped a Generation of Black Travelers: Women Who Travel

LA: You mentioned, when you would arrive in cities like Nashville, you wanted to put your dollars into Black businesses. What are some of the modern day 2020 businesses that you fell in love with on the road, or who took you in, or that you got to spend your money at?

JWW: Well, my favorite place, it exists in 2020, but it’s actually quite old: the very revered Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans. I’ve been to New Orleans a few times for work and I’d never been to Dooky Chase, so I was super excited. It was run by the famed cook, Leah Chase, who passed away last year. This restaurant is Black-owned, serves Black soul food, and has been in operation for decades and I was so excited. It was the last place that Alvin and I ate together on this trip. For 2,000 miles, we talked about how excited we were to go there, because Alvin and I, one of the things that we love to do is eat together. So we were so, so incredibly thrilled to finally arrive at Dooky Chase. I didn’t really know what to expect, because I had never been there before. So I was really delighted to discover when I walked through the front doors of that restaurant, it has this refined air. It was a beautiful dining room, beautiful tables with white tablecloths, lovely servers walking around attending to the needs of the diners. Then in the back of the restaurant are these long tables with the most delectable, scrumptious-looking soul food you have ever seen in your entire life. It looks like all your aunties and all your grandmothers came together to deliver this manna from heaven to you. Alvin and I piled our plates high. We had hot sausage, we had fried chicken, we had green beans, we had cornbread. We sat down at that table and we ate and we ate and we laughed and we were so happy and I cannot wait to go back there. I highly recommend everybody has to experience Dooky Chase at least once—or 20 times—in your lifetime.

MC: I would love to know, just as a last question, what you hope listeners of the podcast walk away with?

JWW: A couple of things. I hope all listeners, but especially young, Black people feel inspired to talk to their elders, to gather their stories about our history. It’s often not told in the history books and when it is on screens, it’s often from the white perspective. I think it’s important for us to collect and tell our stories to the world, with our voices, with our experiences. I also hope that everyone understands and realizes that despite the numerous challenges around racism and white supremacy and economic oppression, African Americans are innovative and resilient people and we have thrived in this country. Black people are extraordinary and we have so many more stories to offer. Just the fact that I’m sitting here generations later, I’m a descendant of enslaved Africans. My Black family grew up in the Deep South during reconstruction, during Jim Crow. I’m here right now, exploring this. I’m a testament to the fact that we are strong, that we are still here. We’re still here and we’re going to be here.

MC: That feels like the perfect place to wrap up. If people want to listen to Driving The Green Book, where can they find it?

JWW: Apple Podcasts.

MC: Perfect. And where can people find you on social media?

JWW: You can find me on Twitter at @janeepwoods.

MC: If you want to learn more about the podcast, we will link to a story that we have on our site in the show notes and you can learn more, hear more stories—read them, and then go click through to hear them. You can find me @ohheytheremere.

LA: You can find me @lalehannah.

MC: Be sure to follow Women Who Travel on Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter. Thank you so much Janée for joining us—and we’ll talk to everyone else next week.

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