Green Book

by Beck Smith

Green Book is a movie that centers around the American South in the 1960s seen through the lens of an African American man. Dr. Don Shirley is an extremely famous African American piano player who hires Tony Lip, a white man as his driver and bodyguard to bring with him on his tour through the deep South. 

The South remained segregated through the sixties and although Dr. Shirley was hired by white people to perform at their events, they still often treated him as a second-class citizen. The movie explores the glamorous and high society lives of many wealthy upper-class white men and women while displaying the role that Dr. Shirley plays in it. In this movie, the South is overall depicted as an intolerant and deeply racist region of the country with Dr. Shirley having very similar experiences in almost every city he visits. 

Segregation is obviously at the forefront of this movie when Shirley is not even able to have dinner in the dining room at the event he was scheduled to play at because it was for white patrons only. He was then forced to eat dinner in a broom closet even though he could be seen as the guest of honor. The only moments in the movie where Dr. Shirley is seen as completely human is when he is playing the piano, but every moment before or after that time he is met with prejudice and racism. This movie shows the South as an area that was truly frightening for African Americans and helps to convey why green books were a necessity for every member of the black community. 

This movie depicts the South in an overwhelmingly negative light with a focus on the racially divided and segregated South. Although accurate, it does not attempt to romanticize or glorify the South, something that most southern movies like Gone With The Wind are all too familiar with.  

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