The City Magazine Since 1975

Journeys Through History

September 2017
Journeys Through History
WRITER: 

The Green Book of South Carolina illuminates heritage sites and cultural attractions in all 46 counties

The Green Book of South Carolina app (left) and the historical travel guide for which it was named (the cover of the fall 1956 edition is shown alongside a page from the Green Book’s 1959 edition)

Did you know that the house where Denmark Vesey planned his slave rebellion is at 56 Bull Street? Have you sat upon the Sullivan’s Island “Bench by the Road,” dedicated by Toni Morrison, or visited Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767? There’s so much African-American history to experience in the Lowcountry—and across the state—and now, more than 300 storied sites are just a digital device away.  

This spring, the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission launched The Green Book of South Carolina—a brilliantly efficient mobile travel guide illuminating heritage sites and cultural attractions in all 46 counties.

The app takes its name from the Green Book created in 1936 by Victor Green, a New York City postman who wanted to help traveling African Americans find welcoming places around the country. For example, the 1938 edition listed four “tourist homes” in Charleston; hotels and eateries would be added before publication ceased in 1967.

Why name a modern travel app for a long-gone guide? “African-American historians rarely talk about the present or the future without a firm reference to the past,” notes Dawn Dawson-House, the director of corporate communications for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism who shepherded the project. “Travel for African Americans did not begin when we installed historic markers across the state. It began in the early 20th century when African Americans met the restrictions of Jim Crow and segregation, and it was supported by the directory produced by Victor Green.” Today’s Green Book gives an apt nod to the impactful tome that came before it.

To learn more about African-American heritage, just start swiping through https://greenbookofsc.com/. 

Resources: 

Photographs courtesy of (The Negro Travelers’ Green Book-2) New York Public Library & (1) The Green Book of South Carolina