“Navigating Jim Crow: The Green Book and Oasis Spaces in North Carolina” Traveling Exhibit


WINSTON-SALEM, NC (OCT. 9, 2023) – Triad Cultural Arts will present the traveling exhibit, “Navigating Jim Crow: The Green Book and Oasis Spaces in North Carolina” curated by The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission (AAHC), a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR). This educational exhibit highlights the significant sites and personal memories related to American travel during the “Jim Crow” era of legal segregation.

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The exhibit will be on view, October 12 – November 18, 2023, at the Enterprise Center located at 1922 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.  The opening reception will be on Thursday, October 12, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Guided tours will be held on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guided tours for other days can be arranged by appointment . The gallery will be open for self-guided tours Monday thru Friday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. 

“The Negro Motorist Green Book,” published between 1936 and 1966, was both a guide and a tool of resistance designed to confront the realities of racial discrimination in the United States and beyond. The book listed more than 300 North Carolina businesses—from restaurants and hotels to tourist homes, nightclubs and beauty salons—in the three decades that it was published.

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The exhibit highlights a complex statewide network of business owners and Green Book sites that allowed African American communities to thrive and that created “oasis spaces” for a variety of African American travelers. Eight vibrant panels form the traveling exhibit, showcasing images of business owners, travelers, and historic and present-day images of North Carolina Green Book sites. The words of African American travelers and descendants of Green Book site owners are featured prominently in the exhibit. Each of these stories are from oral histories collected by the AAHC in 2018 and 2019. 


In conjunction with the exhibit, the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission has launched a story map that shares the history of the 18 businesses in Winston-Salem that were listed in the Green Book between 1938 and 1967. None of the buildings that housed these businesses remain standing, but the story map includes historic photos, maps, and newspaper clippings that illustrate the sites and people who owned and managed the businesses. It is available to explore at bit.ly/WSGreenBook.

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To further expand on the “Oasis Spaces” narrative, a Harlem Nights Masquerade event will be held to pay homage to musicians of the Green Book era on Saturday, October 28, 7 to 10 p.m. at The Enterprise Center. Handling the challenges of racial segregation was a perilous task, even for celebrated Black artists such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Little Richard, or Sam Cooke. Much like many other Black Americans, they depended on the “Negro Travelers’ Green Book” by Victor Hugo Green—a comprehensive guide listing lodgings, restaurants, and entertainment establishments that were safe and welcoming for African Americans. Additionally, a virtual equivalent, often referred to as the “underground musicians’ green book,” emerged—a network comprised of friends, family, and fans. This network offered essential support, providing food, accommodations, and companionship for Black entertainers while they were on tour.


Two of Billy Strayhorn’s descendants, Kevin Strayhorn and Iris Daye will perform at Harlem Nights.  Billy Strayhorn was an influential American jazz composer, pianist, and lyricist, best known for his close collaboration with bandleader Duke Ellington. In 1938, Strayhorn met Duke Ellington, and their collaboration began, lasting for nearly three decades. Strayhorn’s compositions, such as “Take the A Train,” “Lush Life,” and “Satin Doll,” became iconic jazz standards, contributing significantly to the success and innovation of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.  Additionally, Janice Price will perform excerpts from her renowned Billy Holiday performance.

The Green Book exhibit is free and open to the public.  Co-sponsors of the exhibit are the Marguerite Case Foundation, The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, The Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission and the Winston-Salem Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  For more information visit the website: triadculturalarts.org or call 336- 757-8556.

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About the Triad Cultural Arts

Triad Cultural Arts, Inc. (TCA), established in 2007 as a nonprofit organization rooted in the community, is a dynamic, multi-disciplinary cultural arts organization. With a leadership role in raising awareness of Black American history and culture, TCA is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and presentation of the rich heritage of Black/African Americans for the broader public through educational and public programs.

Our Approach: We achieve our mission by creating culturally immersive experiences that encompass festivals, preservation efforts, heritage tours, and exhibits.

Our Purpose: Our driving force is to contribute to the development of a culturally proficient community that places a high value on diversity, serving as a catalyst for social change and innovation.


About the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission

The North Carolina General Assembly created the African American Heritage Commission (AAHC) in 2008 to “assist the Secretary of Cultural Resources in the preservation, interpretation, and promotion of African American history, arts, and culture.” With this legislation the AAHC has identified African American heritage practitioners, such as curators, docents, and museum directors, as priority service populations. The AAHC was recognized as a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources in 2017, after being housed in the Office of Archives and History and the North Carolina Arts Council. The commission works across the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to achieve the mission of preserving, protecting, and promoting North Carolina’s African American history, art, and culture, for all people. For more information about the Commission, please visithttps://aahc.nc.gov/.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development. 

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

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