The Green Book exhibit at the Gilmore Car Museum
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Imagine you’re on a long family trip. Only you can’t stop for the bathroom. You can’t stop to eat or stay at a hotel. There are only a handful of places you can go and they could be several hours apart. That’s what family trips were like for African Americans in the Jim Crow era, from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

Some of the greatest African American musicians of our time performed during racial segregation—artists like Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, and The Supremes. But if you were black, you weren’t allowed in the venue down the street. You had to go to Idlewild resort about thirty minutes northwest of Big Rapids.