Driving While Black shows how the advent of the automobile brought new mobility and freedom for African Americans, but also exposed them to discrimination and deadly violence and how this history resonates today. The video chronicles the riveting history and personal experiences (i.e., liberating and challenging, harrowing and inspiring, deeply revealing and profoundly transforming) of African Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond. Driving While Black explores the deep background of the recent phrase “Driving while Black” rooted in realities that have been an indelible part of the African American experience for hundreds of years—told in large part through the stories of the men, women, and children who lived through them. Driving While Black draws from a wealth of recent scholarship and is based on and inspired by Gretchen Sorin’s recently published study of the way automobiles and highways transformed African American life across the 20th century. Her book is Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to the Civil Rights, W.W. Norton, 2020.
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