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Fort Worth and the Green Book

Explore what it was like to travel in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ’50, the unique challenges faced by Black citizens on the road, and the remarkable book that helped keep them safe.

  • Snap a photo back in time
  • Explore objects from local archives
  • Test your traveling skills with a game exploring safe travel spots
  • Listen to the curator, Dr. Gooding, in our 360 degree theater

Green Book

In the 1930s, America was on the move like never before. As the nation shifted from agriculture to industry, leisure time for ordinary people expanded. Highways—and soon interstates—began to crisscross the country. And more people than ever had the cars needed to drive on them.

Along with this new influx of travelers came an explosion of businesses to serve them. Gas stations and mechanics’ shops to service the automobile; restaurants and motor lodges to support the travelers themselves; a whole industry of new attractions and amusements.

The nation’s growing Black middle class felt many of the same urges to travel as their white counterparts. But the reality of visiting unfamiliar areas and unknown communities could be starkly different. In the era of Jim Crow, simply being seen in the wrong place could have serious—or even life-threatening—consequences.

Starting in 1936, New York postal worker Victor Hugo Green offered these travelers a lifeline. His guide, The Negro Motorist Green Book, listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other accommodations that would be safe for Black travelers to visit. For thirty years, it was a must-have accessory for any trip outside one’s local community.

Transform 1012 N. Main Street

 
Transform 1012 N. Main Street is a coalition and community-led project to transform the former Ku Klux Klan Klavern 101 Auditorium in Fort Worth, TX, into The Fred Rouse Center for the Arts and Community Healing, named after a Black butcher who was lynched by a White mob in 1921. Transform 1012 is led by a pluri-cultural collective of eight local organizations that have worked together since September 2019. These organizations represent and/or serve the communities targeted for violence and economic marginalization by the KKK in the 1920s as well as today—namely Black, Catholic, Hispanic, Immigrant, Jewish and LGBTQQ2SPIAA+ populations. In this way, both the process and the project sit at the intersection of anti-racism work and inter- and intra-group healing, returning resources to the communities most impacted by the history of the KKK and the presence of this building.
 
Design Concept Rendering by MASS Design Group
Transform 1012 began with a commitment to new models of leadership that embody the project's core principles of equity, representation, and reparative justice. The founding organizations are: DNAWORKS, LGBTQ SAVES, Opal Lee Foundation, SOL Ballet Folklórico, Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice, The Welman Project, Window to Your World, and 1012 Youth Council. These local arts and service organizations have been joined by Fred Rouse, III, the grandson of Mr. Fred Rouse, representing The Fred Rouse Foundation and the Rouse Family.

Our vision for the building's uses include:

  • Arts education and programming for underserved early career artists
  • A state-of-the-art mid-size theatre, rehearsal spaces, and dance studios
  • Services for LGBTQ+ youth
  • Exhibit spaces dedicated to social justice and civil rights
  • Makerspace, tool library, and DIY classes to provide equitable access to equipment and knowledge
  • Meeting spaces for educational workshops and community events
  • An outdoor urban agriculture and artisan marketplace and micro business incubator programs
  • Affordable live/work spaces for artists- and entrepreneurs-in-residence
The Center will provide a peaceful gathering place for a divided city, transforming a monument to hate and violence into a symbol of healing and reparative justice. Transform 1012's purpose is to be a vibrant cultural hub that will, through community engagement, communications, and programming, rebuild relationships and bring people together in Fort Worth. By transforming the building, we transform the city.
 
Courtesy of Morgana Wilson

Sundown Towns

Guidebooks such as the Negro Motorist Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, auto repair shops, etc., that would serve African Americans so travelers would be able to avoid sundown towns.

Sundown towns did not always mean that African Americans were unable to stop in the town or city. Some sundown towns continued their legacy by enforcing a "whites-only" rule when it came to inhabitants. Below are several resources for more detail exploration into sundown towns and their modern day repercussions.

Article: Black Truck Driver Tells Horrifying Story of His Night in a 'Sundown Town'

Article: Poverty Is Central To Fort Worth Zip Code’s Lowest Life Expectancy In State

Self-reported Sundown Towns: Find Sundown Towns Alphabetically by State

Not all towns are thoroughly confirmed. Please note: if a town is not listed, that does not mean it is not a sundown town. 

The Museum is Open!

Stop in and beat the heat with a visit to the museum - check out a Planetarium show, explore dinosaur fossils in DinoDig, and get hands on with art in the Doodler Studio.

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