Black History Month
New Fort Worth Green Book exhibition explores how Black travelers navigated roads and racism
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History's new temporary exhibition, "Fort Worth and the Green Book," will explore how Black travelers — who faced many unique challenges both on and off the road in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ’50s — navigated the roads and racism in mid-century Texas.
The family-friendly exhibition opens in honor of Black History Month, February 11, and runs through August 31.
As car ownership exploded in the first half of the 20th century, the museum says, Americans wanted to travel like never before. The call of the road was felt by motorists of all backgrounds, but Black Americans faced discrimination, racism, and segregation at various points in their travels. Through their desire to enjoy safe travel and community, Black populations created the “Negro Motorist Green Book,” an annual guide featuring restaurants, hotels, and many other businesses deemed safe for Black travelers and road trippers. (It was topic of the 2018 Oscar-winning film Green Book.)
The exhibition explores what the travel experience was like, as well as the guide that helped Black Americans adventure with confidence. Visitors can step into the times through an immersive photo experience, chart a safe path through Texas using the Green Book as a resource, and examine artifacts from Fort Worth history and beyond.
Guests can also interact together with guided sets of questions to spark discussion with their family members or friends.
"As a historian, this honestly is a dream come true — to go from visiting museum exhibits as a younger child to curating museum exhibits as an older child is an absolute treat,” Dr. Frederick Gooding, TCU professor and guest curator for the exhibition, said in a statement. “If people walk away from the 'Green Book' experience with at least one new insight, then we are at least one step closer to reaching our desired destination of a [more] understanding Fort Worth."
In addition to the exhibit, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History’s Lecture Series will feature Dr. Gooding as a guest speaker on February 21.