Next month, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) will hold its annual conference in St. Louis. After the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the state last summer, NCTE membership expressed a desire to support its members of color who will be visiting Missouri.
In response, Rachel Morgan — an elementary school teacher and mother of Crossroads 7th-grader, Tate — worked with the Early Childhood Education Assembly (ECEA) to develop the St. Louis Green Book, a list of black-owned businesses in the area, supported by Dr. Susi Long and Dr. Meir Muller, professors in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina, whose work focuses on racial equity.
Morgan’s Green Book was created in the spirit of Victor Hugo Green’s 1936 Negro Motorist Green Book, which listed safe places for African Americans to eat, sleep, play, and work while traveling by car during the Jim Crow era — including in the St. Louis area, as explored in St. Louis Magazine.
NCTE hopes their conference-goers will patronize Black-owned businesses while in St. Louis. However, as the introduction to the St. Louis Green Book states: “merely supporting such businesses is not enough. We must commit to direct, focused, consistent, non-negotiable, anti-racist teaching in our schools and communities.”
Morgan will speak about the Green Book at the NCTE conference, and is currently working with ECEA to develop an inquiry-based curriculum for upper elementary and middle school students to engage issues of racial equity.