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Jan. 30, 2023

The Green Book

In 1936, Victor Hugo Green published the first edition of what he called The Negro Motorist Green Book, a 16-page listing of businesses in the New York metropolitan area that would welcome African American customers. By its final printing in 1966, the Green Book had gone international, with a 100-page book that included not just friendly businesses throughout the United States but also hotels and resorts that would be safe for African American travelers in Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Africa, along with a list of currency exchange rates. 

Joining me this week to help us learn more about why African American travelers needed the Green Book and how Victor Green and his family created such an important and long-lasting publication is award-winning television and radio broadcaster and financial educator Alvin Hall, author of the new book, Driving the Green Book: A Road Trip Through the Living History of Black Resistance.

Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The musical interlude and music under the outro is: "Whiskey on the Mississippi," by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons by Attribution 4.0 License. The image is "The Travelers' Green Book: 1961," Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections.


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Kelly Therese Pollock  0:00  
This is Unsung History, the podcast where we discuss people and events in American history that haven't always received a lot of attention. I'm your host, Kelly Therese Pollock. I'll start each episode with a brief introduction to the topic, and then talk to someone who knows a lot more than I do. Be sure to subscribe to Unsung History on your favorite podcasting app, so you never miss an episode. And please tell your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, maybe even strangers to listen too. On today's episode, we're going to discuss the history of The Green Book. Victor Hugo Green was born in Manhattan on November 9, 1892. In 1913, he began working in Bergen County, New Jersey, as a postal carrier for the United States Postal Service. In 1917, Victor married Alma S. Duke. Unlike Victor, Alma was from the south, having come to New York from Richmond, Virginia, as part of the Great Migration. The couple moved to Harlem, a burgeoning center of Black life in New York. We don't know exactly why Victor first started thinking about the idea of a travel guide for African Americans, but it's possible that he was inspired by the trips that he and Alma likely took to see her family back in Virginia. These kinds of trips would have been common for many African American families, who had moved to northern cities, but still had ties to the south and traveled for weddings, funerals, and other family gatherings. Until 1910, more than 90% of the African American population lived in the south, where, after the Civil War, and especially after the end of Reconstruction, they continued to experience segregation, state sponsored violence, such as lynching, and a lack of economic opportunities. With the United States' entry into World War I, factories in northern cities experienced labor shortages. Northern factory owners sent agents to the south, to recruit African American workers to move north and work for them, sometimes even offering transportation and low cost housing. With the push of adverse conditions, and the pull of employment opportunities working together, African American families started to move from the rural south to the urban north in huge numbers, and that massive relocation continued for decades. By the end of the Great Migration in the 1970s, 47% of African Americans were living in the north or the west. It's important to note, of course, that even in the north, African Americans often faced hostility and discrimination, relegated to the least desirable housing and jobs. In Chicago in the 1920s, for instance, restrictive housing covenants that were put in place as a result of the influx of African Americans, meant that up to 85% of the city was off limits to African American families. In 1936, the first edition of The Green Book was printed by Gibraltar Printing and Publishing Company, located at 800 6th Avenue in New York. At that time, the book was titled, "The Negro Motorist's Green Book," and it cost 25 cents. The goal from the start was, as Victor Green later wrote, to give an African American traveler, "information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments, and to make his trips more enjoyable." This information included lists of businesses, including hotels, gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores, either run by African American proprietors, or confirmed to be welcoming to African American patrons. The first edition of The Green Book included only information about the New York metropolitan area, but they quickly expanded their reach in future editions. Victor tapped into his network of postal carriers to learn about businesses that would be accommodating to African Americans. Readers, too, sent in suggestions, including the addresses of private homes that would house Black travelers. One thing not included in The Green Book, but about which African American travelers would need to know, was the location of sundown towns: all white communities that forcibly kept African Americans and often other minorities out after dark. Sometimes they would post signs that said something along the lines of "whites only after dark," meaning other ethnic groups were welcome to work in the town, but not to live there. The attempts to exclude didn't stop at signage. Often the residents and law enforcement would employ harassment, threats, and even violence to enforce their racist policies. Since the sundown towns weren't listed in The Green Book, travelers would have needed to rely on word of mouth knowledge to carefully map out their trips to avoid those towns. While publishing The Green Book, Victor continued to work full time for the Postal Service, using his nights and weekends to work on The Green Book. He retired from the Postal Service in 1952, turning to publishing full time. The only major retailer to sell The Green Book was Esso gas stations, which welcomed African American customers. In the 1940s, more than a third of the Esso dealers were themselves Black and the company hired African American workers in other roles too, including as chemists and office clerks. Other Black owned businesses, Negro Urban Leagues, and even Black churches sold the guide as well. At one point, The Green Book was so popular, that Green printed 20,000 copies per issue. In the 1949 edition, Victor Green wrote, "There will be a day sometime in the near future, when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we, as a race, will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication, for then we can go wherever we please and without embarrassment. But until that time comes, we shall continue to publish this information for your convenience each year." When Victor died on October 16, 1960, he was still publishing The Green Book every year. His wife Alma took the reins and continued to publish the book each year. On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Public Law 88 - 352, better known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in a number of areas, including public accommodations. The final issue of The Green Book was published in 1966. Joining me now, to help us learn more about The Green Book is award winning television and radio broadcaster and financial educator Alvin Hall, author of the new book, "Driving the Green Book: a Road Trip Through the Living History of Black Resistance."

Hello, Alvin, thanks so much for joining me today.

Alvin Hall  9:55  
Kelly. I'm so glad to be here. I love talking about this book.

Kelly Therese Pollock  10:00  
Yes, it's a terrific book, so I'm excited to talk about it too. I want to start by asking you a little bit about your own personal experiences with the Great Migration. You talk about how you sort of inadvertently were part of the Great Migration, or without knowing so could you talk a little bit about that to start with?

Alvin Hall  10:17  
Yes, I grew up in the Florida Panhandle, below Tallahassee, Florida, about 25 miles. And very few of my relatives ever left this piece of land that all of us had lived on all of my relatives since about 1869, somewhere around there, that they all moved there. And so I had no idea about the Great Migration. I think, one relative had moved to Philadelphia. Another one had moved to Atlanta, but that was about it. Everybody stayed. So when I went off to college at Bowdoin College in 1970, I had no idea that I was participating in the Great Migration. I had no idea that my desire to move north to get better opportunities, to get better education, just to have a broader landscape in which the function was the underlying reason that millions, 6 million African Americans had left the south. So I was participating in that completely without knowing it.

Kelly Therese Pollock  11:24  
Yeah. And so you talk in the book about how you didn't know anything about The Green Book. Your family didn't even have a car, there was no reason to have access to this publication. So how did you first come to know about it and decide to do, both the the podcast and the book about it?

Alvin Hall  11:42  
For a while, I worked for the BBC. And I used to fly back and forth to London all the time. And I was on a flight from JFK to London, and I opened a magazine, and in that magazine was an article that mentioned The Negro Motorist Green Book, and I thought, "God, I've never even heard of this, what is this book?" And so I made a little note and said, when I got back to New York, I would look it up. I then flew back to New York City, went to the Schomburg, and to my amazement, at the Schomburg, which is part of the New York Public Library system, they had all of these Green Books, the largest collection of any institution in America, and I started thumbing through. Of course, the first place I looked was Tallahassee, Florida, which was near where I grew up. And that made me think about what other places there are across America that are listed, and I started going through. By utter happenstance, a producer in Wales, in the UK, his name is Jeremy Grange, he called me with the idea of doing a radio documentary about The Green Book. And I thought, "Here, this guy is in Wales, I'm in New York City, this is fate making this happen." So I said yes. And we then came up with an idea, pitched it to the BBC. And they commissioned a 37 minute radio documentary about The Green Book that came out in 2016. The construct within that video was that we will go from my past, starting in Tallahassee, Florida, and go into the present at the time, which would have been Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown had been killed, and the Black Lives Matters movement had started. So that was the journey that was essentially part of that a journey through both space following the historic Civil Rights route on our way to Ferguson and time, my own past. That program came out in 2016, and was very well received, but was never broadcast in the States, which was a great frustration for me. So I tend to be a person who tries to come up with another idea when I get frustrated. And that's what I did. I thought, "Well, let's see if I can turn this into a podcast." And, as we say, in the old Baptist Church, lo and behold, I walk into an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art about Jacob Lawrence's series of paintings called "The Great Migration." And at the opening of that exhibition was an infographic that showed how much the population in various cities has changed because of the Great Migration, specifically looking at the increase in African Americans in those cities. In Detroit, in 1910, the African American population was about 1.2%. By 1970, it was over 43%, an amazing number, and I thought, "Wow, wow! All of these people would have had to come from the south, work in Detroit and then occasionally go back and that became the motivation for the road trip, the trip back south, to see relatives, to see friends, and how you dealt with the, the segregation, the Jim Crow laws in the south. And how did you teach your children who had been born in the north about how to cope with that world? And that became the source of the podcast.

Kelly Therese Pollock  15:22  
Yeah, so let's talk some about what that experience would have been like. So the the whole reason that the The Green Book was needed was because of these experiences that African American travelers would have when they were on the road. And you talked to people about their experiences. What were the sorts of things that that they would have to deal with while they were doing that trip, for instance, from Detroit down south?

Alvin Hall  15:48  
Because of segregation, and various restrictions, they couldn't stop at many restaurants. Even well known chains would not allow African Americans to stop and get food. They certainly couldn't use bathrooms at most of the places. And if the place did have a bathroom for colored, it was generally so filthy and disgusting that nobody wanted to use it. It was a danger for you to pull off in a rest area, because then a white motorist could come by and harass you as you sat there or as you tried to get some rest. And the thing that surprises many people was that you could not stop at just any gas station and buy gasoline for your car, because many of those gasoline stations refused to serve African Americans. So many traveled with tanks of gas, small containers of gas in their trunks to help them get from location to location. But there was also the possibility that you could accidentally go through a sundown town. Along these routes were many towns that did not allow Black people to be within their city limits after the sun went down. And that's a place you did not want to stop. So Black people developed all of these habits that were passed along generationally about how to travel. So you would leave in the morning, you drive during the daylight, you so you could be watchful of who else was on the road during that period of time. As you got to certain states, you became aware of the fact that if you passed a car with white people in it, or you drove too slow in front of a white car, all of that could cause them to want to stop you and harass you on the road. So these were things you had to be mindful of when you traveled during this period of time.

Kelly Therese Pollock  17:40  
Yeah. So then let's talk about Victor Green. So he decides that, you know, he's got some information about some places that either hotels that will house African American travelers, or gas stations, things like that, and he decides to put this in a book. Can you talk a little bit about what what you learned about the history of this publication?

Alvin Hall  18:01  
I learned that Victor was really quite the visionary. He took his own personal experience and translated it into this useful guide for all African Americans who were traveling during that period of time. He and his wife Alma would go back to Richmond, Virginia, where she had relatives, and on that trip back to Richmond, he would encounter frustrations and aggravations. Those were his nice words for the racism he encountered along the trip. So he talked to his friends we believe, and he gathered information starting in New England and New York primarily about the places, hotels, restaurants, tourist homes, gasoline stations, barber shops, pharmacies, that you could stop at in these areas, especially in the northeast, and avoid those aggravations and frustrations. And over time, Victor began to expand this. He was helped by the fact that he was a postman working in Hackensack. And in those days, there were two postmen's organizations: the white postmen's organization in America and the Black postmen's organization, and the Black postmen's organization was based in Tennessee. He asked those postmen, both those he knew in the white union and those he knew in the Black union, to look at the places where they delivered mail and give him names of places that should be featured in the guide that he and Alma started. So in 1938, it expanded across America and continued to expand to include more and more states. And it was also helped, not surprisingly, by the porters, who were part who worked on the railroad system. They were a part of his early distribution network, but also I'm sure that they helped him get information about places, in places in locales away from New York, where he could, where travelers could find safe harbors.

Kelly Therese Pollock  20:10  
So, you note in the book that this isn't the only publication like this, that there were other publications that existed as well. What do you think it is about The Green Book that has, especially in this moment captured our imagination, it's the of things that aren't very well known. It's the most well known of them. What what is it about it that stood out from the other ones?

Alvin Hall  20:32  
I think part of what stood out, compared to the other ones was, Victor was very careful during that period of time to constantly expand what he offered. So it started out looking at very simple needs, mostly related to the automobile industry, you know, where you could get your car fixed, where you could stop. But gradually, as Black entrepreneurship expanded, his offerings expanded to include nightclubs, eateries, and places where you could experience leisure and pleasure on your road trip. So I think that was part of what made it last. But to be very honest, the recognition of The Green Book has been tremendously helped by the movie, "The Green Book," which in reality had nothing to do with the actual publication. It was just the name that Peter Farrelly borrowed to give to the movie. And to those people who have seen the movie, you recognize them, it only appears in the movie, maybe three or four times, and that's about it. But just the name, and the feel good emotions that people take away from the movie have been translated to, for many people interest in the actual publication. And I think, if I may be honest, that many people think that the publication was about feeling good about traveling in America, but in reality, it was about avoiding fear, reducing fear of traveling in America. And it also was about among African Americans about where you could find relaxation, and pleasure.

Kelly Therese Pollock  22:18  
So I want to talk some about your journey that you took then from Detroit. As you were trying to trace the route that people might have taken, as you were looking into places that were in The Green Book, is very much of what was advertised in The Green Book still around? Are there were there things you could find? You know, what, what was that experience like for you?

Alvin Hall  22:40  
We started the road trip in Detroit and had a wonderful guide named Amman Jordan to start us in the city. And he took us around Detroit, where these places had existed that it would have been listed in The Green Book, in an area known as Paradise Valley and Black Bottom. And, of course, very few of those places are there. He also took us to the 8 Mile Road section of Detroit, where a wall that was built to segregate Black housing from white housing was built, a six foot high half mile long wall. And starting there with those two things in our minds, Janee and I, at every stage, at every stop, in Columbus, Ohio, Cincinnati, Louisville, going south, Memphis, Nashville, we would see some remnants of places that existed. We'd see a hotel of where a restaurant used to be, of where a gathering place used to be. But most of them were destroyed during a period called Urban Renewal, which, during the trip, we heard so many African Americans referred to it as "Negro removal," which is a term I had never heard until I did this trip. But Kelly, what we discovered during the trip was more related to the places featured in The Green Book, the actual locations and communities. Those places were really thriving. They were places where African American entrepreneurs built lives for themselves parallel to the American dream in which they could not participate. And then that lives away from what today is called the white gaze. That was surprising to me. One of the things that emerged, which was related to my own life was what it was like to live in Black communities without an awareness of white people or what type of white people thought of Black people. That's the world in which I was raised. I was raised in a very supportive African American environment, who really taught us good manners, looked after us, loved us, supported us, protected us from the outside world. And that was a story that I discovered in community after community, the way that African American parents sought to shield their children against the world of segregation and Jim Crow, so they could grow up full of optimism and hope and ambition.

Kelly Therese Pollock  25:30  
Yeah. And I thought it was so interesting. Of course, African Americans are not a monolith. And you talked some about the class differences and the way that the people who were a little bit wealthier, experienced things slightly differently and had need of different resources, perhaps, when they were out traveling. Could you talk a little bit about that? You talk about resorts and things that they would have wanted to know about that perhaps people growing up in your situation would have had no reason to know about.

Alvin Hall  26:03  
One of the great joys of this trip was meeting Mary Ellen Tyus, in Columbus, Ohio, who had throughout her entire life, gone back to what's called the Black Eden, Idlewild, Michigan, a place where upper income Blacks have gone for decades, in Mary Ellen's case, generations to enjoy life among Black people. I did not know about these resorts at all, whether it was Idlewild, Michigan, or Fox Lake in Angola, Indiana. The only one I knew a little bit about what was Oak Bluffs in Massachusetts. And these were places of luxury, of, of entertainment, of Black joy, people going out water skiing, having cookouts during the day, going to dances. And I remember two interviews that stayed in my mind about people who were not part of that class, who discovered those places. And one was a lady that we met in Cincinnati, Ohio. And she described when she went to Idlewild, and how she would go on the roller rink at Idlewild. And she said it was like being in heaven. It was such a joy for her. And the other one was when Hezekiah Jackson, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, talks about his first trip to Oak Bluffs. His Uncle Jerome, who lived in Brooklyn had a friend and they invited the family up there. And it was the first time he was on a ferry. And the first time he did not swim, he said it was like an out of body experience for him being on this ferry surrounded by water. So I can imagine that I can imagine both of these experiences from a lady in Cincinnati and from Hezekiah, because I did not grow up in that world. But now that I know about them, it has become completely fascinating to me. And Kelly, sometimes fate brings the most unusual gifts to your life. Two friends who I've known a long time, have bought places in these upper class Black enclaves. One bought a place in Fox Lake, and another recently closed on a place in Maryland that had been founded by Frederick Douglass' son. Amazing! So at some point, this summer, I'll get to have my first experience in one of these enclaves.

Kelly Therese Pollock  28:36  
Oh, that's wonderful. So let's talk about food. You mentioned that there were lots of restaurants that African American travelers could not stop at. And so they came up with or needed this, this technique, the shoebox shoebox meal shoebox lunch at which was just it was so interesting to think about. It's born out of necessity, but it seems to have really become part of the cultural experience of African Americans who are traveling during this time period. Can you talk a little bit about that and the memories that people that you were talking to had of these shoebox meals?

Alvin Hall  29:16  
I grew up in the deep south where cooking was a place of joy, a place of satisfaction, and often the meal was the time to allow you to get away from the troubles of the world. When African Americans traveled, they recognized that they couldn't stop at restaurants. So what can we make that will last along these road trips that will make everybody happy? And so the ladies who made this food had to be sort of chemists to figure out ways they can make food that would last during this period of time. Deviled eggs, tea cakes, my personal favorite. Everybody talked about the great fried chicken they had in those shoe box lunches. And the memories are so vivid, but also surprisingly consistent. And so it talks about how a restriction was translated by those mothers, aunts and sisters into a joyful memory that replaces some of the hardships they may have experienced on the road. And, you know, some of those shoe boxes were lined with wax paper, some were lined with "tin foil," the more colloquial name for aluminum foil. And I remember that during my first visit to the Smithsonian's African American Museum of History and Culture, that one of the things that was on the menu at that time was the shoe box lunch, and they carried over many of the things that people love from that period of time. But I think there's also an interesting parallel memory here. During many of the interviews, people talked about the fact that they would be on the road, and they would say to their parents, "Oh, I want to stop at Stuckey's," because Stuckeys, had these, these pecan rolls that all of us lusted after, when we were on the road, and their parents would say, "No, we can't stop, we have our own food." It was said matter of factly. You never questioned it at all. Many years later, of course, as adults, we all discovered that the reason we couldn't stop at Stuckeys was because Stuckeys didn't serve Black people. So therefore our parents knew it. They were protecting us from that reality. But when people talked about Stuckeys, we all laughed. And it was a memory even though we couldn't go there, we all remember with great humor for some reason. And Janee, who was my associate producer, had the best statement. It shows the deep grace that people had, that this memory was so warm inside them. But yet it was sustained probably by the memories of their parents' food. So when they looked at not having Stuckeys, they could remember it not with anger, but with humor. I thought that was such a brilliant observation. 

Kelly Therese Pollock  32:23  
Yeah. So when Victor Green started publishing this, he said that, you know, in the not too distant future, he hoped a book like this wouldn't be needed. And of course, eventually, it no longer was published. Could you talk a little bit about that transition, the the time when, theoretically, at least, this book wasn't wasn't needed anymore? And you know that that's a tremendous gain. But in some ways, it feels like something was lost as well, in that moment.

Alvin Hall  32:53  
Victor was an optimist. Victor believed that when the laws changed, there will also be a change in the hearts and minds of white Americans. We know today, that's not true, that many people hold on to those points of views, those beliefs. We interviewed a lady, Jan Miles, down in New Orleans. And she gave a really interesting perspective on this. She said, if you think about it, that the pictures showing people being lynched in America was during her grandmother's lifetime, and her grandmother was still alive. And those people in those pictures, therefore, were still alive. So that memory had been carried on, those beliefs have been shared, as recent incidents in America shows. So as desegregation occurred, and Black people were able to go out into places and into buildings and businesses and become patrons and customers of those businesses, the Black community began to die off. All of those businesses lost revenue. And so a part of Black culture was lost. But in entering this new period, people forget that people don't let go of that. These old beliefs morph into different types of behaviors. And we can pray and hope that people will be more open. But that is a very, very slow process, as we have seen in America. So when I think about Victor's dream, and the statement that you just made, I simultaneously think about Senator Hank Sanders in Selma, Alabama. He was part of the Selma March. And during that period of time, Martin Luther King would ask the group, "How long?" And people would say, "Not long." "How long?" "Not long." I asked Hank Sanders if he was sitting in front of Dr. King today, what would he ask him? What would he say to him? And he said, "I would say, 'Dr. King, I did not know you were talking about biblical years.'" And I think that is at the heart of what I would say to Victor, "Victor, your optimism was well placed, you believed that legislation would change this. But I think you were talking about biblical years." 

Kelly Therese Pollock  35:37  
So I was reading about your art collection, and I wonder if you could talk a little bit about your art collection. And I felt like it was very connected in a way to this keeping keeping alive Black culture that we don't want to have disappear, you know, the same way we're sort of talking about with the Black communities dying off. So could you talk a little bit about your your art collection and some of your your reasoning behind having it?

Alvin Hall  36:06  
The art collection started out, because I needed a break from my career at the time teaching on Wall Street. I was teaching classes, and they were very much about quantitative information, numbers, results, return on equity, and I needed to let my mind do something else. And looking at art enabled me to go on journeys and to participate in the creativity of the artist. And one of the first works I connected with was Carrie Mae Weems' "From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried." That work so captured how I felt at various times in my journey. The red photographs that separated the two blue, big images that had "From Here I Saw What Happened," and the last one was, "I Cried." The narrative that she created to join those works together was just so strong, and for me, that work has remained alive, not only capturing what happened to African Americans during some of the worst periods of American history related to enslavement, segregation, and Jim Crow, but recently, it became about the pandemic. You know, I'm sitting in my apartment in New York City, and reading about all of this, what's happening with COVID. And I cry. Other works, such as Glenn Ligon's, "A Stranger in a Village," that's a work that also speaks to my own journey, because often, as many African Americans, we were the first to do something. So you're in essence, a stranger in a village. So what I try to collect are works that speak more emotionally toward that history, where the work grows with you. The work captures something about your life, within your family, and your experience, and your connection to culture. One of the works that I remember seeing and being blown away by was Ellen Gallagher's "Bouffant Pride." In this, she took ads for wigs that were at the back of Black magazines, Ebony. And then she colored in those wigs using plasticine, and took out all the people's eyes and put them into the wig of the person looking at this, trying to decide which wig to choose. To me, by abstracting that, it became much more universal, not just about the advertisement that was there, but about all the fantasies of reinvention, about how you change the perspective of someone, how you change what their eyes see when they look at those advertising. So my collection is often trying to capture a resonance, an emotional response that will grow and change because I think that's what you share with the future generation. You share the knowledge and wisdom that you have gained from your emotional experiences. And the trick to my mind is to always let it evolve. You carry the wisdom forward, not the trauma.

Kelly Therese Pollock  39:51  
Yeah, that's beautiful. Please tell listeners how they can get a copy of this wonderful book, "Driving the Green Book."

Alvin Hall  39:59  
People Interested in my book can order it from It's also available broadly on Amazon, Walmart, Target, Barnes and Noble, all the bookstores across the country. And it's a book that's not only about The Green Book. It's really about the personal stories of the people who lived during that period of time. And I included my own stories in the book. So the book has a lot of personal reference, in which I connect my own journey to the journey of The Green Book. I think about the two Green Book journeys I took to create this book all the time. Because the thing that remains in me is how people found joy, found satisfaction, protected their children, and found ways to participate in the American Dream that gave them the sense of accomplishment, even when the culture overall didn't want them to have this. I find this so inspirational every day of my life. I have long believed that good things exist in our lives every day. And I think one of the things I gained a stronger belief in from doing this program and writing this book is that the people who gained wisdom about life, were able to grab the right experience for themselves, the right opportunity for themselves and turn it in to something joyful and great.

Kelly Therese Pollock  41:48  
 I love that. Alvin, thank you so much for speaking with me. This was just wonderful.

Alvin Hall  41:52  
Kelly, thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity.

Teddy  41:57  
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Transcribed by

Alvin HallProfile Photo

Alvin Hall

Alvin Hall
is an internationally renowned financial educator, television and radio broadcaster, bestselling author, and regular contributor to magazines, newspapers, and websites.

For five years on the BBC, he hosted the highly rated and award-winning series, Your Money or Your Life, on which he offered both practical financial and psychological advice to people about how to take control of and fix their financial problems. His radio program, Jay-Z: From Brooklyn to the Boardroom, won the Wincott Foundation Press and Broadcasting Award for the best radio program for 2006. Hall has also hosted programs on current events and contemporary art for BBC Radio 4 including After Katrina and most recently, Alvin Hall’s Generations of Money. An eight-part television series for BBC World News called Alvin’s Guide to Good Business was broadcast internationally in 2010. In the US, he is a regular contributor on personal finance and the economy on NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin.

Among Hall’s bestselling books are: You and Your Money: It’s More than Just the Numbers, Your Money or Your Life (winner of the WHSmith 2003 People’s Choice Award), What Not to Spend, Getting Started in Mutual Funds 2nd Edition, and Getting Started in Stocks 3rd Edition. His children’s book, Show Me the Money, has been published in over 20 foreign-language editions. In the US, the book has been named a Best Children’s Book of the Year (2009) by the Bank St. Book Committee, which is run by the Bank Street College of Education. It was also named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People (2009) by a joint project of the National Book Council for Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council.

Hall lives in New York City where he designs and teaches classes about the investment markets for financial services companies, banks, regulatory authorities, as well as information and technology vendors. His acclaimed classroom programs and speaking engagements have provided thousands of people with a solid grounding in such topics as the workings of financial markets, investment products, effective investment strategies, reducing debt, planning for retirement and personal financial management. Alvin Hall is a member of the NYSE Euronext Financial Literacy Advisory Committee to help develop programs to improve knowledge about all aspects of personal finance among the general public. He is also on the Acquisitions Committee of the Studio Museum in Harlem.