“Navigating Jim Crow: The Green Book and Oasis Spaces in North Carolina” Traveling Exhibit Debuts in Greensboro and Durham in March

RALEIGH

The N.C. African American Heritage Commission (AAHC), a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, has created a new traveling exhibit featuring sites important to, and personal memories about, African American travel during the “Jim Crow” era of legal segregation. 

The exhibit will be on display at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro from March 3-April 22 and the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham from March 14-April 6. 

“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. The 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 a variety of African American travelers.

Eight vibrant panels form the traveling exhibit, showcasing images of business owners, travelers, and historic and present-day images of North Carolina Green Book sites. The words of African American travelers and descendants of Green Book site owners are featured prominently in the exhibit. Each of these stories is from oral histories collected by the AAHC in 2018 and 2019. 

Following their openings in Greensboro and Durham, both versions of the exhibit will tour the state’s African American cultural centers, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, history museums, historic sites and libraries. 

Several events will coincide with the launch of the exhibit, including free screenings of the Smithsonian Channel documentary “The Green Book Guide to Freedom” in Greensboro, Durham and Raleigh, and a music event at Hayti Heritage Center that will pay tribute to the clubs, bars and restaurants featured in the Green Book’s North Carolina listings. 

For more exhibit tour dates and event details, visit https://aahc.nc.gov/green-book-project or call (919) 814-6516. 

This exhibit was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services MH-00-17-0027-17

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