But Ms. Parker, 32, said that she canâ€™t imagine just being able to pack up and go without a plan, like some white families might be able to do.
So for the last six months, she has been meticulously planning their journey. She knows which towns her family will stop in, which theyâ€™ll drive straight through, and which theyâ€™ll avoid entirely. She also knows which stretches of the road her children wonâ€™t be allowed to drink juice or water on, to avoid bathroom breaks in towns where the family could encounter racism or violence based on their race.
â€œWe try not to stop in places that are desolate and we try to only stop in cities for gas,â€ she said. â€œIf we have to stop for gas in a rural area, we use a debit card so we donâ€™t have to go into the gas station store. If we are going to stay somewhere overnight, we look at the demographics to make sure we arenâ€™t going to a place where we would be the only black people or where we would be targeted, especially at night.â€
Ms. Parker grew up road tripping with family between New York and North Carolina, and her parents took similar precautions. She and her husband have also considered getting a dashboard camera, so that if they are stopped by police and things turn deadly there is some record of it.
In a way, Facebook groups for black travelers and group chats have become the 21st-century version of the â€œGreen Book.â€ People talk about where theyâ€™ve been and follow in each other’s footsteps, sharing where they were treated well and where they felt uncomfortable or unsafe. Many stay in the same hotels, eat at the same restaurants or skip the same towns.
â€œWe go where our friends and family have gone because we know that itâ€™s safe,â€ said Dianelle Rivers-Mitchell, founder of Black Girls Travel Too, a group tour company for black women. â€œDuring this moment, with the protests as a backdrop, and as our community deals with how we were harder hit by coronavirus and we risk facing even more discrimination based on that, I just donâ€™t see road-tripping being it for us.â€
The so-called sundown towns â€” where black people were effectively banned after dark and where those who stayed too late were attacked by white mobs â€” no longer exist, but, for some black drivers, the fear of getting lost or stuck in a town where being black could lead to violence is a real concern that affects how a road trip is planned.