MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The National Civil Rights Museum is the first stop on a national tour for a Smithsonian Exhibition highlighting the history of The Green Book.
“The Negro Motorist Green Book,” is an exhibition developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with Candacy Taylor -- an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian.
“When I first learned about the Green Book, I was struck that something so simple and so practical could be so powerful,” Taylor said.
Taylor spent several years and traveled 50,000 miles learning about the Green Book -- an annual guide created in 1936 by Harlem Postman Victor Green that helped Black Americans travel the country with dignity by listing facilities that welcomed them during segregation.
Throughout the exhibition you’ll see a variety of artifacts from Green Book sites from business signs to postcards, and even an original Green Book.
“The stories show that these are safe havens, but Black people lived life and enjoyed it and the photographs show they looked good doing it,” said Noelle Trent, NCRM Director of Interpretation, Collections and Education.
In Memphis both the Lorraine Motel and The Four Way Grill were Green Book sites.
Less than 5% of Green Book sites are still operating, and nearly 80% of the buildings are gone.
“I found pride, strength and resolve in the Green Book buildings that are still standing,” Taylor said.
Taylor says she hopes this exhibition will help share the untold story of black travel for generations to come.
“The Negro Motorist Green Book” was made possible with support of Exxon Mobil Corporation.
The exhibit runs at the National Civil Rights Museum from Oct. 3 through Jan. 3, 2021.