Traveling Black: Race and Resistance on the Road, the Rails, and the Skyways | National Humanities Center

Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

Traveling Black: Race and Resistance on the Road, the Rails, and the Skyways

African American History; Discrimination; Racism; Racial Segregation; Travel

Mia Bay (NHC Fellow, 2009–10; Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Chair in American History, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania)

February 23, 2023

Advisor: Aric Foster, NHC Teacher Advisory Council

This webinar will offer an overview of the African American experience on planes, trains, automobiles, and other forms of transportation from the antebellum era to the present day. It will look at the forms of segregation and racial discrimination that have often confronted Black travelers and explore the central role that resistance to travel restrictions has played in Black civil rights struggles.

Webinar Resources

Before the live webinar please be sure to review the available materials in the webinar resource folder. Use the code provided in your registration email to access these resources.

  • “Digest Of Jim-Crow Laws Affecting Passengers in Interstate Travel.” History Matters, American Social History Project / Center for Media and Learning (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (George Mason University).
  • “Complaint letter, May 12, 1955, from Rep. Charles C. Diggs Jr. to the President of Continental Airlines asking his airline to cease segregation practices in U.S. airports.” May 12, 1955. Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
  • “Susie Givens Letter to Carrie Clifford.” The Crisis 2, no 6 (October 1911): 255.
  • DuBois, W.E.B. “On Being Black.” The New Republic, February 18, 1920, 338–41.
  • Ellison, Ralph. “An Extravagance of Laughter.” In Going to the Territory, 147–63. New York: Random House, 1986.
  • Hughes, Langston. “My America.” In What the Negro Wants, edited by Rayford W. Logan, 220–24. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1944.
  • Schuyler, George S. “Vacation Daze.” Negro Digest 1, no. 7 (Spring 1943): 69–72.
  • Smith, Alfred Edgar. “Through the Windshield.” Opportunity, May 1933, 142-44.
  • Terrell, Mary Eliza Church. “Betsy’s Borrowed Baby, undated.” In Unpublished Papers of Mary Church Terrell, 44–57. Alexandria: Alexander Street Press, 2004.


History / African American History / Discrimination / Racism / Racial Segregation / Travel /