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The Musicians’ Green Book world premieres on PBS / November 26

Left to right: Darlene Love, Little Anthony, Josephine  Beavers, Howard Hewett, Johnny Britt.  
Credit: George W. DeLoache

Celebrate the vibrant jazz, R&B and soul music of African American artists who, during segregation, created the foundation of modern American music. Like many other Black Americans, they relied on Victor Hugo Green’s Negro Travelers’ Green Book, a directory of lodgings, restaurants and entertainment venues where African Americans were safe and welcomed.

Now explore the history of this essential guide with vocalists, musicians, historians and others who reflect on living through segregation in THE MUSICIANS’ GREEN BOOK: AN ENDURING LEGACY

The program premieres on PBS stations as part of special programming beginning Saturday, November 26, 2022 (check local listings) it was announced today by PBS and Ed Vodicka, CEO and executive producer, Grand Songbook Media, Inc. 

THE MUSICIANS’ GREEN BOOK: AN ENDURING LEGACYshines the spotlight on legendary jazz, R&B and soul performers who kept The Apollo and Howard Theatres and Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom jumping and toured the Southern one-night circuit on their road to success.

Featured in the program are legendary and contemporary stars performing an exciting mix of classic songs, including Josephine Beavers, Johnny Britt, Howard Hewett, Little Anthony and Darlene Love, and candid interviews with activists, jazz historians, producers, arrangers and notable musicians who were a part of the circuit.

The virtual “underground musicians’ green book” — a network of friends, family and fans — provided food, lodging and fellowship for Black entertainers on tour. Navigating the injustices of racial segregation was difficult and, at times, dangerous — even for renowned Black artists like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Little Richard and Sam Cooke.

Green’s book was a guide to a parallel world of vibrant Black neighborhoods like New York City’s Harlem, Chicago’s Bronzeville and Washington, D.C.’s U Street, where Black entrepreneurs created thriving businesses that served and sustained Black patrons and artists.

Informally known as the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” these venues included glamorous theaters, swinging dance halls and rural juke joints, where icons and rising stars alike honed their craft and won audience acclaim. 

Music was a uniting force during segregation and remains so to this day. THE MUSICIANS’ GREEN BOOK: AN ENDURING LEGACY will honor the genius of these Black artists, who, during these difficult times, changed America with their songs. 

PBS special programming invites viewers to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. Viewer contributions are an important source of funding, making PBS programs possible. PBS and public television stations offer all Americans from every walk of life the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content.

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