Presented by Mount Tabor United Methodist Church in partnership with the NC African American Heritage Commission, a division of the NC Division of Natural and Cultural Resources and the Institute of Museum and Library sciences.
The exhibit is featured in a Winston-Salem Journal article entitled "Mount Tabor United Methodist Church presents 'Navigating Jim Crow: Green Book and Oasis Spaces in North Carolina' exhibit"
About the Green Book
“The Negro Motorist Green Book,” published between 1936 and 1966, was both a travel guide and a tool of resistance designed to confront the realities of racial discrimination in the United States and beyond. The book listed over 300 North Carolina businesses—from restaurants and hotels, to tourist homes, nightclubs and beauty salons—in the three decades that it was published.
In the original Green Book, Winston-Salem had 18 listings ranging from hotels ( The Lincoln Hotel) to gas stations to pharmacies (Model Pharmacy) . The Navigating Jim Crow: Green Book and Oasis Spaces exhibit highlights a complex statewide network of business owners and Green Book sites that allowed African American communities to thrive, and that created “oasis spaces” for those travelers.
First published in 1936, the Green Book was the brainchild of a Harlem-based postal carrier named Victor Hugo Green. Like most Africans Americans in the mid-20th century, Green had grown weary of the discrimination blacks faced whenever they ventured outside their neighborhoods. Rates of car ownership had exploded in the years before and after World War II, but the lure of the interstate was also fraught with risk for African Americans. “Whites Only” policies meant that black travelers often couldn’t find safe places to eat and sleep, and so-called “Sundown Towns”—municipalities that banned blacks after dark—were scattered across the country. As the foreword of the 1956 edition of the Green Book noted, “the White traveler has had no difficulty in getting accommodations, but with the Negro it has been different.” Green developed a guide to help black Americans indulge in travel without fear. The first edition of his Green Book only covered hotels and restaurants in the New York area, but he soon expanded its scope by gathering field reports from fellow postal carriers and offering cash payments to readers who sent in useful information. By the early 1940s, the Green Book boasted thousands of establishments from across the country, all of them either black-owned or verified to be non-discriminatory.
The authors of the 1948 edition had this ending to their publication. “There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States.
It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.” The Green Book ended publication in 1966, 30 years after its first issue and two years after the Civil Rights Act was passed.
Other related resources you may want to visit:
Exhibit Dates & Times
Thursday, January 13 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Open House and media event for invited guests
Monday, January 17 2:00 – 6:30 p.m. CANCELLED
Open to the public in conjunction with the community
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial service at 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 22 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Open to the public
Sunday, February 6 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Open to the public
Sunday, February 20 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Open to the public
Other dates & times: Black History classes in the area high schools will be invited to schedule field trips at mutually agreed upon dates and times.
Winston-Salem Alumnae Chapter
of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.