TAMPA, Fla. — Two Bay area educators are putting a spin on a directory for Black-owned businesses that was once the only tool to help Black people travel during segregation.
The Green Book of Tampa Bay launched earlier this year to help promote Black-owned businesses. The creators of the site say so far the support has been pouring in.
“On the website, you just go to that link — greenbooktampabay.org — and search for literally any kind of business you can imagine and find a Black-owned business to give you that product or service,” said Green Book of Tampa Bay co-founder Hillary Van Dyke.
Van Dyke and and her business partner, Joshua Bean, launched the website, but Green Book isn’t a new concept. It’s one Van Dyke says she’s taught people about for years.
“For a lot of people, it’s their first time learning about the Negro motorist travel guide that helped Black families travel through the United States and helped them navigate their own country," Van Dyke explained. "Told them where there could stop for food, gas, where they could stay overnight."
As young educators, the two thought of a way to take that concept — a directory of Black-owned businesses — and create it online, but with the goal of promoting those businesses.
“Not only do we want to build on that, but also get people who look like me — white people — to spend their dollars in the black community,” Bean said. “To invest in the black community not through gentrification but meeting the community where it’s at.”
“Our tagline is helping you put your green into Black,” he added.
Green Book of Tampa Bay's creators said they’re considering making a statewide directory. They say businesses are added daily and they encourage people to add Black-owned businesses they support.