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Prior to the legislative accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement, black travelers in the United States faced major problems unknown to most whites.White supremacists had long sought to restrict black mobility, and were uniformly hostile to black strangers.Writing of the road trips that he made as a boy in the 1950s, Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post recalled that his mother spent the evening before the trip frying chicken and boiling eggs so that his family would have something to eat along the way the next day.One black motorist observed in the early 1940s that while black travelers felt free in the mornings, by the early afternoon a "small cloud" had appeared. They often had to spend hours in the evening trying to find somewhere to stay, sometimes resorting to sleeping in haylofts or in their own cars if they could not find anywhere.
Travel essentials such as gasoline were difficult to purchase because of discrimination at gas stations.
Would he like to stop overnight at a tourist camp while he motors about his native land 'Seeing America First'? Such restrictions dated back to colonial times, and were found throughout the United States.
After the end of legal slavery in the North and later in the South after the Civil War, most freedmen continued to live at little more than a subsistence level, but a minority of African Americans gained a measure of prosperity. Well-to-do blacks arranged large group excursions for as many as 2000 people at a time, for instance traveling by rail from New Orleans to resorts along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
There would be no restaurant for us to stop at until we were well out of the South, so we took our restaurant right in the car with us....
Stopping for gas and to use the bathroom took careful planning.