Khadijah Robinson, the founder of the modern-day ‘Green Book
During the Jim Crow Segregation era blacks in America were restricted to so many things their white counterparts enjoyed.
In a bid to help black travelers who were able to purchase their own cars at the time, a traveler’s guidebook was birthed.
It was to keep them on the lookout for black-owned businesses that will allow them to patronise their services without pride and prejudice.
Victor Hugo Green authored and published an annual guidebook for African American travelers.
He started with the New York area from 1936 to 1966 and later expanded the coverage to most of North America and even some parts of Canada and Mexico.
Green founded the Green Book to avoid such open discrimination by compiling resources “to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trip more enjoyable.”
It is safe to say that in the age of technology, a new ‘Green Book’ that would help Blacks in general not necessarily, Black travelers alone patronize Black-owned businesses is needed.
Harvard Law Graduate and Lawyer Khadijah Robinson is here to save the day and as we celebrate Black History month, Robinson has created a Dope Black Things ebooklet to honor the month.
The ebooklet was launched as part of the website of the business, Nile and it is referred to by many as the “new Green Book.”
It features over a thousand Black-owned online retailers, products and businesses around the US including apps and media organisations meant to provide services to blacks.
Nile will connect businesses directly with black buyers, just like Green did with his Green Book back in the day.
To Robinson, Nile is more than a business directory or aggregator. The platform was created and is operated by Black women to guide online shoppers, who are said to be the largest members of the fastest rising sector of commerce to Black businesses selling products online.
The platform does not zone in on only Black e-commerce, but it strives to promote Black production.
The businesses featured on Nile are Black owned who make products, “as opposed to offering services or reselling products from other vendors” and makes those products available for buyers on the internet.
On March 1st, 2020, Nile will launch its full site. A business that was just conceptualized last spring and commenced development in September 2019 is set to revolutionize the shopping experience for black shoppers.
In an interview Robinson said: “I love everything about Black people and Black-owned businesses. As a committed millennial, I also love to shop online.
“I found that it was hard to support Black-owned brands when shopping online, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to make it easy, simple, and fun to buy Black online.”
Over the course of her data collection process Robinson said verifying if businesses were Black-owned was her biggest challenge.
For her, Nile is solving a key gap because it caters to millennials who love shopping online and having their wares delivered to their doorstep as opposed to walk-ins.
“There are so many great Black-owned restaurants, bars, bookstores, and other great local businesses out there –– but customers cannot connect with those businesses without visiting their physical locations.
“Nile is for online shoppers who want the convenience and ease of buying online and want to access Black owned businesses from all over the country and world.
“Nile exists to connect businesses with online shoppers who can make purchases from the device in the palm of their hand at any time.”