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History Colorado has launched a comprehensive survey of local Green Book sites in the state of Colorado.

The survey will unearth stories of places that played a pivotal role in the safety and survival of Black Americans.

At a time marred by racism, segregation, and lynchings, the Green Book was the difference between life and death for many Black travelers.

These sites, which offered a sanctuary for travelers amidst prevalent discrimination and violence, now have the opportunity to be researched and registered as historic landmarks.

Photo Courtesy: National Park Service

Victor Green, a postal worker, created The Green Book in 1936.

It would go on to serve as a guide for Black Americans navigating the segregated South.

The Green Book provided details about gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and other services that welcomed Black patrons.

It also offered a sense of security to travelers who feared discrimination and violence while on the road.

The Green Book was in circulation until 1967

The publication expanded its coverage over the years, becoming widely recognized as “The Negro Motorist Green Book”.

History Colorado
Picture of band marching on Greenwood Avenue. Courtesy: Greenwood Cultural Center

It remained an invaluable resource until 1967 when segregation laws were dismantled and the book went out of print. Today, these sites stand as poignant reminders of a significant era in American history.

Patrick Eidman, Chief Preservation Officer and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer at History Colorado, recently discussed the project’s inception in an interview with CBS News Colorado.

He explained that this initiative, supported by a grant obtained in January, seeks to highlight the significance of these sites and their role in shaping the history of Black Americans during that period.

Funded by an Underrepresented Community Grant, this initiative led by History Colorado is actively documenting these historical sites, aiming to ensure their recognition on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places. 

History Colorado has identified 160 Green Book sites across the state

As part of their outreach efforts, the organization is hosting a series of community engagement  meetings. These meetings provide a platform for public participation.

They encourage individuals to share their insights, pose questions, and contribute to the compilation of these historically significant sites.

Terri Gentry, Engagement Manager for Black Communities at History Colorado, emphasized the project’s significance.

Gentry told CBS News Colorado, “This is offering a perspective on history that a lot of folks aren’t aware of.”

History Colorado will “honor grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents”

She shared her personal connection to the project, expressing her motivation to commemorating her family’s experiences related to Green Book sites in Colorado, saying, “To honor my own family and the experiences that I had as a child. And traveling with both sets of grandparents and experiences that we had. And the experiences that I’ve learned that my grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents had.”

History Colorado aims to meticulously research and illuminate the untold stories of Black travelers who utilized Green Book sites in Colorado through ensuring that their experiences are not only acknowledged but also preserved for the enlightenment of future generations.

Find out more about History Colorado.

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