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
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
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
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.
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.