The Gastonia African American Museum hosts the Green Book exhibition

The Green Book exhibit opened at the Loray Mill African American Museum, and museum curator Dot Guthrie said the book is more than a historical navigational tool used by people in the era of Jim Crow segregation.

“It’s a motivational tool to know your limits and decide how far you want to go,” said Guthrie, who founded the African American Museum.

The museum will host the exhibition until June 30.

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a guide for African-American travelers that provided a list of hotels, boarding houses, taverns, restaurants, gas stations, and other establishments across the country that served African-American customers. Americans. Victor H. Green published it annually from 1936 to 1966, when discrimination against African Americans was widespread, according to the Smithsonian.

The exhibit at Gastonia represents a traveling exhibit symbolizing the green book made in Jim Crow times.

The Negro Motorist Green-Book exhibit at the African American Museum of History and Culture inside Loray Mill on West Franklin Boulevard in Gastonia on Tuesday morning, May 17, 2022.

North Carolina has 327 locations listed in the book, including a hotel and a Dot’s Grill and Rooming House business in Gaston County.

Green, who was a postal worker in Harlem, New York, created the book for black people after reading similar guides designed for Jewish audiences during the Holocaust.

“Black people traveled long periods at night when traveling because they had no safe places to stop,” Guthrie said.

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The exhibit includes brochures, sample books, a PowerPoint presentation and eight panels highlighting local restaurants, hotels and more where black people could do business.

“Books are the bibliotherapy our young people need,” Guthrie said.

The exhibit comes from the African American Heritage Commission of North Carolina and can be housed in museums across the state.

The books are also available online at the New York Public Library website.

“When we look at different periods and history and how essential it was for black people to survive, we have to look at the Green Book because people encountered opposition when they stopped just to make money. ‘gasoline,’ Guthrie said.

“The book is another motivator that even in the face of opposition, we can use to know that there are always various ways to achieve your goals,” she added.

Guthrie says the book reminds her why she views the museum as a second textbook for young people.

She intentionally includes objects in her museum and exhibits to appeal to different learning styles.

The Black Motorist's Green Book on display at the African American Museum of History and Culture inside Loray Mill on West Franklin Boulevard in Gastonia on Tuesday morning, May 17, 2022.

“Everyone learns differently and we need to address the different styles to make the museum informative for every visitor,” Guthrie said.

She hopes the exhibit will encourage younger visitors to learn about their history and bring back memories for older visitors.

“Some memories may not be so sweet, but this book teaches us about perseverance and what can be achieved,” Guthrie said.

The museum will be open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact Janiya Winchester at 980-319-6819 or [email protected]

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