Victor Green, a Harlem postal worker, began publishing The Negro Motorist Green Book in 1936 to assist African American travelers navigating across America. As stated by Dr. Dudley Flood in the quote above, the travel guide assisted African American motorists by listing places where a person could safely get gas, food, lodgings or other accommodations.
During its 30 years of publication, The Green Book included 326 different businesses in North Carolina. The majority of businesses were located in the state’s more populated urban centers: Charlotte had 53 locations, Wilmington had 50, and Raleigh had 38.
Lisa Withers, a public history doctoral student, is part of the NC Green Book Project which is documenting the hundreds of locations listed in The Green Book across the state of North Carolina. The project team is currently taking stock of how many of the buildings still exist and how many have been demolished. They are collecting images, taking current photos of the locations, and conducting oral stories about various Green Book sites.
The Maurer Architecture office is located inside the historic Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Building, built in 1880. We are pleased to have hosted the interview of project participant Sylvia West, as she and Lisa traveled along East Hargett Street visiting some of the local Green Book sites.
Learn more and see video of the interview here: https://web.ncsu.edu/accolades-magazine/2019/05/01/documenting-green-book-sites-in-north-carolina/