The National Trust for Historic Preservation has awarded the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission a $75,000 grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to support a project titled, “Exploring a National Model for Mapping and Marking Green Book ‘Oasis Spaces.’” It is one of several announced grants from the fund this year that will help protect and restore 40 important Black landmarks across the country.
The N.C. African American Heritage Commission will lead the planning project to conceptualize development of a national marker and digital mapping program for existing Green Book sites. Working in conjunction with colleagues from the S.C. African American Heritage Commission, the N.C. AAHC will work to identify, develop, and build out infrastructure for the project. After piloting the project in North Carolina and South Carolina, the resulting framework for identification, research, online tool development, mapping, and marking sites could be scaled up for national implementation beyond the life of this planning project.
This news comes on the heels of the completion of the AAHC’s “Green Book ‘Oasis Spaces’: African American Travel in NC, 1936-1966,” a multi-year Institute of Museum and Library Services grant funded project. The Negro Motorist Green Book was an annual guidebook created by New York City postman Victor Hugo Green. It was designed to help African American travelers navigate systemic segregation by compiling listings of “oasis spaces” – businesses ranging from tourist homes and hotels, to beauty salons and restaurants – throughout the United States and internationally. In North Carolina, over 300 sites were listed in the guidebook throughout its publication.
“We so look forward to growing the NC Green Book Project,” said Angela Thorpe, director of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission, which is part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “We are delighted that we will have the opportunity to create a national blueprint. This project will continue to educate communities across the Carolinas of the history and importance of these often-overlooked historical spaces and continue to encourage their preservation.”
About the N.C. African American Commission
Created in 2008, the African American Heritage Commission is a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The commission works across the department to preserve, protect and promote the state’s African American history, art and culture for all people. Its endeavors include the identification of heritage sites, compiling resources for educators, extending the work of national programs such as the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom Underground Railroad, and independent initiatives including Oasis Spaces: Green Book Project. aahc.nc.gov.
About the S.C. African American Heritage Commission
The mission of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission (SCAAHC) is to identify and promote the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and the culture of the African American experience in South Carolina, and to assist and enhance the efforts of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. The 15-member commission includes representatives from all regions of the state. It was established as a council in 1993 by joint legislative resolution and became a commission in 2001 by executive order of Governor Jim Hodges. scdah.sc.gov.
About the National Trust
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. savingplaces.org