Samford May '20 musical theatre graduate Theo Edwards-Butler is launching a new publication to support Black-owned businesses. The Modern Green Book is an online database grounded in the rich history of the Negro Motorist Green Book, originally created in 1936 by Victor Hugo Green, to provide resources for Black motorists to ensure their safety and ease of travel. The new quarterly publication will include articles that discuss Black culture, travel, history and business. "The goal is to support, uplift and celebrate Black-owned businesses," said Edwards-Butler.
The venture was born out of an experience during her time at Samford. "I was Samford's Black Student Union President during my senior year. After a successful Black business expo that we put together, I was left with a long list of businesses and wanted to find a way to continue to support them and work with them. I love history and have been fascinated with the Green Book, and it just made sense to continue that legacy in a new light and for today's entrepreneur and consumer," said Edwards-Butler.
Each quarterly print edition has a theme and features 12-15 businesses sharing their stories. Along with the quarterly publication, an annual book will be released each June, consisting of every business and organization listed in the database. The website will offer an interactive directory as well. The Modern Green Book currently has listings across the US and Canada, England, Nigeria and the Philippines.
"I hope that The Modern Green Book will help people to intentionally buy Black as well as bring light to an almost forgotten legacy in the Black community," said Edwards-Butler. "I also hope that The MGB will shed light on some of the amazing Black-owned businesses out there and help these businesses and organizations go from surviving to thriving."
Edwards-Butler credits Samford for her entrepreneurial initiative and appreciates the support she received from the faculty.
"Samford challenged me both academically and socially. The school helped to fully ignite my passion for activism, giving back and the arts," she said.
The database is updated daily, with new businesses and organizations registering to be part of the service. The print edition can be pre-ordered at moderngreenbook.net until Feb. 22. The first edition will be published Feb. 28. Follow The Modern Green Book on Instagram and Facebook @themoderngreenbook.