Feb 27, 2023 - News

Few "Green Book" sites remain in North Texas

The theater was once the Moorland YMCA. Photo: Tasha Tsiaperas/Axios

Not many hotels and restaurants in North Texas welcomed Black people before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (And even after that it was sometimes dicey.)

Driving the news: Before Black History Month ends, we're looking at what became of the local venues listed in the "Green Book" travel guides.

  • The guides were printed between 1936-1966 with businesses Black travelers could safely visit during the Jim Crow era.

State of play: The guides — which received renewed attention thanks to the eponymous 2018 Oscar-winning movie — ceased publication decades ago.

Zoom in: Dallas had more listings in the "Green Book" guides than Fort Worth but still only had about 30 businesses that were deemed safe for Black clientele.

The Jim Hotel in Fort Worth was a three-story hotel just for Black guests, but it drew white clientele after hours to its jazz club in the lobby.

  • The hotel, built by millionaire William Madison McDonald, drew renowned musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and B.B. King.
  • The hotel was razed in 1964 to clear space for a highway, per the Texas State Historical Association.

Green Acres Motel was a safe place for Black travelers stopping in Dallas to stay, including Ray Charles, who stayed there in the mid-1950s. The motel also earned a mention in Etta James' autobiography.

  • The structure lasted much longer than many other local listings in the "Green Books." Its remains were bulldozed in 2017, which former city columnist Robert Wilonsky detailed.

Beaumont Barbeque opened in 1937 in Dallas and was one of only two barbecue places that were safe for Black travelers to visit in Texas.

  • The joint is long gone, and little is known about it beyond the fact that it existed, per the Texas Monthly.

Meanwhile: The current home of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre was once the Moorland YMCA, one of the only remaining "Green Book" locations in Dallas.

  • The Moorland was one of the only places the Black community could gather besides churches.

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