Arts & Entertainment

Pittsburgh Plays Cameo Role in "Green Book"

Film leaves out history of Hill District.

Pittsburgh plays a cameo role in one of the favorite films heading into Oscar season.

Green Book tells the story of African-American pianist and performer Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali) on a cross-country tour with his Italian American driver and bodyguard Tony Vallelonga (played by Viggo Mortensen.) The film's title comes from the guide published for black travelers in the mid-20th century, directing them towards safe motels and restaurants in various U.S. cities.

But as the Post-Gazette reports , there is a possible historical inaccuracy in the film's retelling of Shirley and Vallelonga's brief 1962 stay in Pittsburgh. The film shows the pair staying in an elegant downtown hotel, while nearly all of the establishments listed in the actual "Green Book" were located in the Hill District, mostly on Wylie and Centre avenues.

The article notes that a black celebrity likely would have been able to stay in a downtown hotel without major incident. But while segregation was not legal in Pittsburgh and other Northern cities as it was in the Jim Crow-era South, other black travelers likely would have elected in to stay in the Hill District avoid "trouble or discourtesies."

You can check out the Post-Gazette's article for more details on the history of the "Green Book" and the fate of the Pittsburgh establishments it listed.

Green Book is nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Mortensen) and Best Supporting Actor (Ali.)

How can you start something good?
The Conversation
More stories you may love

How Saving A Church Is Saving Lives Too

A couple bought an abandoned church and turned it into a community center. What they've created is so much bigger.

They're Saluting Our Veterans Every Day of the Year

Meet the Pittsburghers who are making sure our returning vets have jobs, homes and food, and find out how you can help.

How Goats And The Volunteers Who Love Them Are Saving A Popular Park

They're keeping invasive plants from taking over Pittsburgh's Frick Park by doing what comes naturally. For the goats at least!

Our Mission
Have you ever felt like there's just too much bad news? Ever felt like the world is hopeless, and you're helpless to do anything about it? We did too. That's why we created Sparkt™.
At Sparkt™, we tell powerful stories about great people making a difference in their communities, and we show you how you can make a difference too. Join us, and together, let's #StartSomethingGood!
Sparkt Newsletter
Get positive, uplifting stories in your inbox
Follow Us on Social Media
Download the Mobile App
Sparkt™ is a Rabble Holdings, Inc. Media Brand. © 2020 Rabble Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.