The Crusader Newspaper Group


By Rhonda Colvin,

Her mom always smiled — except when the family made its annual summer drive to visit the grandparents in Magnolia, Ark. “The smiles were gone while we were traveling,” said Gloria Gardner, 77.

It was the 1940s, and traveling to her parents’ home town was not approached lightly after the family moved to Muskegon, Mich., during the Great Migration. Stopping for food or bathroom breaks was mostly out of the question. For black families, preparing for a road trip required a well-tested battle plan in which nothing could be left to chance.

There were meals to cook and pack in ice. Sheets were folded and stacked in the car to use as partitions if they were left with no choice but to take bathroom breaks roadside.


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