Preserving History: Colorado Historians Seek Recognition for Green Book Sites
A dedicated group of historians in Colorado is working to ensure that Green Book sites receive the recognition they deserve.
In a report by CBS Colorado, a dedicated group of historians in Colorado is working to ensure that Green Book sites receive the recognition they deserve from the State and National Registers of Historic Places. History Colorado, taking the lead since January 2023, has initiated community meetings to engage residents, allowing them to contribute insights, suggestions, and information about Green Book sites.
In the 1930s, Victor Green, a Black mail carrier in Harlem, faced persistent racism during his travels across the United States. His frustration led to the creation of a groundbreaking guide in 1936 – The Negro Motorist Green Book. Aimed at assisting Black travelers in finding safe spaces, this guide became a crucial resource in navigating a racially divided America, according to the outlet.
Terri Gentry, Engagement Manager for Black Communities at History Colorado, highlighted the importance of this initiative. “This is offering a perspective on history that a lot of folks aren’t aware of. It helps to understand part of that story with travel and some of the experiences that we had,” she stated.
The project, supported by an Underrepresented Community Grant, aims to document these historically significant sites, preserving a crucial aspect of American history. Gentry emphasized the role of Green Book sites for Black families and communities during their travels. “They were safe spaces for our family members and community members when they were traveling around the state,” she explained.
Reflecting on her own family’s experiences, Gentry expressed a personal connection to the project. “I want to celebrate who they are and showcase the work that they’ve done to make our community a place and space,” she said. This effort goes beyond documentation; it is a tribute to the resilience and contributions of Black communities.
Madeline Hellmich, a graduate student at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, reported that Green made his guide nationally available and affordable, responding to the high demand for this essential resource. The guide was distributed in Black churches and gas stations, reflecting its widespread impact.
As Colorado historians strive to secure recognition for Green Book sites, they embark on a journey to ensure that these vital pieces of history are remembered.