WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Historian Lettie Shumate will highlight her research into Wilmington locations included in the The Green Book, a guidebook for African American travelers, published annually by Victor H. Green from 1936 to 1966.
The Green Book provided a list of restaurants, taverns, hotels, service stations and other establishments throughout the U.S. that welcomed African American patrons during a time when segregation and Jim Crow laws made travel difficult and dangerous.
The Bellamy Mansion Museum and Preservation North Carolina will host Shumate for a virtual discussion on this topic on Tues., Feb. 23 at 4 p.m.
Shumate said there were 52 Wilmington locations featured in The Green Book.
She said for Black Americans, following the advice of The Green Book could be a matter of life or death.
“This was still during the Jim Crow era,” she said. “What people don’t understand about this is the immense amount of racism and white supremacy that caused this book to even be necessary in the first place. America forgets about its own history is how unsafe this country has been for Black people.”
That’s why she said it is important to discuss the legacy of the publication.
“What happens with this history is people get very defensive,” she said. “You can look at the history of this country and see the truth for what it was and yes, there’s a lot of darkness to our country’s history but what The Green Book shows is resilience, it shows the struggle and just how much Black people are able to overcome and what it also shows us is how far we still need to go collectively in this country.”
Shumate, a historian, educator and facilitator, hosts her own podcast, “sincerely, Lettie”, where she talks about history and bridges the past to the present with a focus on racial and social issues.