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Take a trip down memory lane: How The Green Book helped Black road-trippers navigate travel

The cultural exhibit showcases images of Black business owners in Winston-Salem in an effort to preserve history.

WStoday: Oasis Spaces exhibit by Triad Cultural Arts

“Oasis Spaces: The North Carolina Green Book Project” traveling exhibit on display at the Enterprise Center in Winston-Salem.

Photo by WStoday

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Care to take a trip down memory lane? No pun intended. Triad Cultural Arts’ newest exhibit highlights the significant sites and personal memories from Black travelers between 1938 and 1967.

“Oasis Spaces: The North Carolina Green Book Project” is curated by the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission in partnership with the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission.

What is the “Green Book”?

WStoday: The Green Book Project

The Green Book was created as a guide and a tool for Black travelers to have a safe and positive experience across the states.

Photo by WStoday

The “Green Book” was an annual guidebook that helped African-American roadtrippers to travel with ease between the North and South. More than 300 North Carolina businesses were featured in the Green Book — 18 of which were located in Winston-Salem. Although the physical locations of those historic tourist stops no longer exist, you can check out the digital copy which includes restaurants, hotels, tourist homes, nightclubs, and beauty salons.

Why was the “Green Book” created?

Each story featured in the “Green Book” was told by African American travelers and descendants of Green Book site owners. This book allowed Black communities to thrive and network during the Jim Crow era and created “oasis spaces” for many African-American travelers.

When I can check it out?

The exhibit is on display until Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Enterprise Center located at 1922 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Here’s some quick facts:

  • Opt for a guided tour Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or arrange one by appointment.
  • Enjoy the exhibit solo Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Triad Cultural Arts will host a Harlem Nights Masquerade night to pay homage to musicians of the “Green Book” era on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Enterprise Center. Pro tip: Dress ready to impress with attire from 1920-1990s.

The “Green Book” exhibit is free and open to the public.