Written on: February 27th, 2018 in Blog Posts
The Green Book was a travel and vacation guidebook for African American travelers between 1936 and 1966 that listed hotels, restaurants, bars, barber and beauty shops, and more. This annual travel guide was published to give Black travelers a trusted source to find local establishments and businesses where Black travelers would be welcomed, instead of discriminated against. The Green Book was started and authored by Victor Hugo Green, a mailman from New York, who worked with other postmen to gather information on places that would be safe for Black travelers.
“Let’s all get together and make Motoring better.”
This was the slogan for the earlier versions of the Green Book.
The Green Book listed locations in all three counties that offered Black travelers places to sleep, eat, and find services like barbers and salons.
Randolph’s Nest in West Laurel of Sussex County, was both a restaurant and barber shop when it was first listed in the Green Book.
Rosedale Beach which was listed in the Vacation Section of the Green Book. It was located in Sussex County near Millsboro and served as a hotel and resort that had a boardwalk and amusement park. Rosedale was in operation from the early 1900s to the 1970s.
The Green Book listed seven hotels in Dover for African American travelers. These hotels included: Cannon’s on Kirkwood St. and Division St., Caleb Brown on Lincoln St., Dean’s on Forrest St., Mosley’s on Division St., Weston’s on Division St., and The Bells on Lincoln St.
The 1947 version of the Green Book has an entry for a hotel in Townsend, Delaware called “Rodney – Dupont Highway-Rt. 13”.
Hotels in Wilmington listed in the Green Book included Royals on 703 French St., Anderson on 716 French St., YMCA and YWCA on 10th Ave. and Walnut St. Other places to stay included tourist homes; Miss W.A. Brown on 1306 Tatnall St., and Mrs. E. Till on 1008 French St.
Visitors would be welcome to stop into the Christian Association Building on 10th and Walnut Street for a bite to eat. For women seeking a beauty parlor, there was Mrs. M. Anderson’s at 916 French St. For men looking for a barber shop, there was Burton’s on 8th and Walnut St. For visitors just passing through, there was the service station Esso at 8th and 9th on King St.
In the later editions of the Green Book, the book’s introduction held a hopeful message:
“There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”
Carlton Hall, of the State Historic Preservation Office, gave a talk earlier this month on the The Green Book and Delaware at the Old State House in Dover. For more information about The Green Book in Delaware, please contact the State Historic Preservation Office.
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