The 21st Show

Black History Of Route 66


Located just one block away from Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield is a revamped former Texaco gas station filled with the stories of the lived experiences of Black people in Springfield during the Jim Crow era. As Black travelers embarked on the newly built highways in the U.S., including Route 66, they also had to strategically navigate to safely make it through a segregated and unsafe society.

To know which hotels, restaurants, and other establishments they could visit, Black travelers relied on the Green Book. The 21st spoke to three guests about the Black history of Route 66 during the Jim Crow Era and preserving the stories of the Green Book sites in Illinois.


Gina Lathan, PhD, President and Co-Owner of Route History

Stacy Grundy, PhD, Vice President and Co-Owner of Route History

Bonnie McDonald, President and CEO of Landmarks Illinois


Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

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