Still looking for a way to beat the summer heat and maybe look into a quick getaway? Yes, maybe, but just don’t want to go to the same old places yet slightly intimidated about going afar? Well, turn to the web, as there are two sites that just might wow you into making a decision.
Uncovering the world of travel sites devoted to Black American travelers was Ashley Southall, who discovered Nomadness Travel Tribe. Nomadness, a collective of more than 10,000 globe trotters, comprising members from 36 countries, trotting across the globe, was created by Evita Robinson, 31, as a Facebook page in 2011. Her purpose was to help other African-American travelers navigate their way through countries that seemed intriguing but whether Black people were welcomed by those indigenous to the region was uncertain. Robinson states that her site is somewhat analogous to the “Negro Motorist Green Book,” which helped Black vacationers navigate their way through the South during the segregation era, helping them to know where they were welcomed and where they were not; it’s probably still useful today.
Other travel sites, such as Travel Noire, Soul Society and Black Adventuristas, have also been formed with the idea of opening up travel options to Black Americans a little farther afield than they would normally go. One such traveler is Marie Richardson, who is a member of the Black American Hikers Association, which searches out mountains more than a mile high all over the world, and then climbs them. However, on a recent trip to Tanzania, Marie opted out of the climb, as she had chosen to go scuba diving instead. “You can’t do both,” she said.
Another astonishing feature about Nomadness is that it operates worldwide in real time. Someone is always available to give advice to Black travelers on where it is safe to travel, where Blacks are welcomed, activities of interest, how to respond to discriminatory remarks (oh, yes, it does happen, even outside of the United States), interracial and intercultural dating abroad and, most importantly, haircare tips. According to Robinson, “One of the most common reasons people want to join Nomadness is knowing that anywhere in the world you want to go, there is someone there.” To join the site, you must have at least one passport stamp.
Travel Noir was created by 27-year-old Zim Ugvchukwu. The site has more than 125,000 Instagram followers. According to Ugvchukwu, “Brands have been struggling to figure out how to reach Black travelers in ways that are authentic and unoffensive, and are turning to influencers to create meaningful campaigns.” (See New York Times, Sunday, July 26, “Black Travelers Find Fellowship Online.”)
Another pioneer has passed away, but not before leaving a meaningful imprint and lasting legacy on the Civil Rights Movement. D’Army Bailey, a lifelong crusader and activist for just causes and civil rights, passed away at the age of 73. With singular of purpose, determination and dedication, Bailey had a mission to transform the dilapidated Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was slain, into a civil rights museum. Bailey was a true fighter. The son of a Pullman porter and a barber, he was born Nov. 29, 1941, in South Memphis. He was originally named Darmy after his grandfather, but when a grade school teacher separated his name with an apostrophe after the D, it just stuck.
Spurred to action by the United States Supreme Court’s school desegregation decision, Bailey was expelled from the historically Black college Southern University, located in Baton Rouge, La., after being arrested at an anti-segregation demonstration. Undeterred, he transferred to Clark University in Worcester, Mass., and eventually went on to graduate from Yale Law School in 1967. By then, fighting for the cause had gotten into his blood. As executive director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council in New York City, he recruited lawyers and law students to go to Memphis to support King during the infamous sanitation strike while sending others to Mississippi to help Blacks register to vote.
From New York City, he relocated to Berkeley, Calif., where, in 1971, he was elected to the City Council. However, his firebrand style of Black Nationalism soon got him booted from the council and labelled “an obstructionist and a racial provocateur” for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at council meetings. He didn’t believe the United States was “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
According to records, Bailey became president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memphis Memorial Foundation. He was then able to buy the Lorraine Motel with $67,000 raised from local citizens, a bank loan of $50,000 and a $25,000 contribution from the national public employees union. True to his word, he opened the National Civil Rights Museum July 4, 1991. Bailey, who went on to become a Circuit Court judge, is survived by his wife, Adrienne, and two sons, Justin and Merritt.
Condolences go out to the family of Claude Johnson, who lost his mother; Bill Pickens of Sag Harbor, who lost his wife; and the family of Carl Simmons, a former New Yorker and good friend of Rep. Gregory Meeks, who was living in Atlanta at the time of his untimely demise.
Harlem School of the Arts welcomes Eric G. Pryor as president of the beloved 50-year-old cultural institution. Pryor is inheriting the rich legacy left by former President Yvette L. Campbell, who did a wonderful job during her tenure. Good luck to all.
Until next week … kisses.