“Traveling while Black” has become a phenomenon that highlights the harsh reality that people of African descent endure when they venture beyond their own communities. Instead of basking in the freedom that comes with expanding one’s horizons, many Black travelers find that racism has no boundaries.
With the launch of “The Global Green Book: A Black Survival Guide” comes an opportunity to globally build upon Victor Hugo Green’s attempts to highlight venues — Black-owned or otherwise — where Black people can receive various services and accommodations with dignity and respect when traveling.
The guide, released late last year, accompanies an online map that’s regularly updated with help from travel ambassadors across the world.
“We won’t settle for just being accepted,” said Sinclair Skinner, creator of the Global Green Book, an online version of which can be found on ILoveBlackPeople.com. “When we go somewhere, we should be treated amazingly. If we don’t set that standard, no one will set it for us.”
The Global Green Book compiles recommendations across the world for legal services, transportation, finance, health, education and child care, beauty and food. In the months since its inception, people perusing ILoveBlackPeople.com have been able to pinpoint Black-owned and Black-friendly places on nearly every continent.
Recent recommendations include hotel accommodations in Kitwe, Zambia, and an investment firm in Liberia.
“This book and app is not about promoting businesses, but the love and humanity of Black people,” Skinner said. “The information is powerful but we have to unlock it within each and every one of us. We have to make sure this decade is the last time Black people were disrespected and didn’t know where to go.”
Over the past few years, owners of online platforms have coalesced around efforts to challenge dominant narratives about Black people’s global awareness. For instance, TravelNoire curates images of Black people traveling across the world.
However, not even the increased awareness has quelled concerns about the harsh treatment people of African people face while abroad. July 7 will mark three years since a group of white men attacked and killed Bakari Henderson, a college graduate vacationing in Greece. Henderson’s death sparked conversation about the xenophobia Black people encounter in their travels.
For writer and photographer Nakia Brown, the human element has proven the most important aspect of her tour across Africa since December, which has taken her through parts of Uganda and Tanzania, including a compound owned by the family of late Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere.
Within a matter of weeks, Brown’s expedition will end in Accra, Ghana. By that time, she said, she should have the material needed for an upcoming literary work that features men and women holding snippets of her poetry written on a large white poster board.
Many of these African women and men engaged in dialogue with the native Baltimorean about the global African liberation struggle, Brown recounted.
“The African principle of community is important to apply in travel,” said Brown, a Pan-African activist who is fluent in Swahili. “This trip wouldn’t have been possible without people on the ground.
“It’s better to know someone in the village than to know the village — and that’s how I conduct my travels,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s the experience that matters. I wouldn’t travel somewhere if I didn’t have a human connection to that place.”