The Negro Motorist Green Book was a literal lifesaver for Black men and women during the Jim Crow era and other times of racial strife in America. It was an ongoing resource that allowed our ancestors to travel about the country, as safely as possible. NatGeo will release a powerful documentary, Black Travel Across America—with host Martinique Lewis, on Feb. 6, 2023, that will highlight some of the very locations listed in the green book, as well as some of the country's most impactful Black-owned businesses of today.

Lewis, a passionate advocate for Black travel and our right to take up space all around the globe, goes on a journey with visits to places like The Harlem YMCA, the Negro League Baseball Museum, Ruby Jean's Juicery and more. NatGeo aims to explore the optimistic parks of our dark history, while honoring the ingenuity of the Black community.

"This film is a new age Harlem Renaissance. We're celebrating our past, even though it's like the most known unknown. NatGeo took the stance of we're going to cover this and celebrate Black excellence of the past, and present and talk about what it looks like in the future. I'm so excited to bring that to the screen" Lewis says. "I'm just so ready for people to hear these stories of giants and the sheroes that people may not have heard of. But, they're the reason we have a lot of things we have today."

For the Black travel diversity consultant, this piece runs deeper than just America's Black history. Within her journey, she was also able to further connect with her own family's history and legacy in Denver, Colorado.

Host Martinique Lewis outside of Kansas City's Ruby Jean Juicery. Image: courtesy of NatGeo.

"It wasn't even until 2020 that I learned about this side of my family. My aunt told me of this man who was my grandfather's uncle, Benny Hooper. He was the reason the Five Points neighborhood in Denver succeeded. They literally called him the mayor. He helped Black-owned businesses thrive back then. For me, it was this overwhelming sense of life full circle, based on the work I'm doing with my own version of a modern day Green Book for Black travelers."

The show was produced and written by an all Black team. For Lewis, it was also important to not just highlight these historic destinations and Black businesses, but she was also intentional about wearing Black designers and even tapping Black makeup artists in the process.

"I wanted it to be all Black everything. But in addition, I also want Black people to really understand the Black history in their own local destinations. It's up to us to learn it, because outlets and tourism boards won't always bring it to the forefront."