Irving 'Green Book' exhibit transports you back to a segregated America

A traveling exhibit highlights the struggles Black people endured traveling across the country during the Jim Crow Era.

The exhibit is called the Green Book, and it is currently at the Irving Archives and Museum.

The art exhibit acts as a trip back in time, a curated mix of vintage video and photos.

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The Green Book was a national directory compiled by the late Victor Green. It highlighted safe places and businesses that welcomed African-Americans.

"My husband knew it by heart because he was a sales person," said retired educator Marybelle Whiteman.

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Whiteman encourages anyone who hasn't already to visit the exhibit before it ends Jan. 8.

Whiteman recalls how she and her husband relied on the Green Book while on roadtrips with their 5 children.

"I remember some of the places we could stay like the Teresa Hotel in New York City, we could go there because it was Black-owned," she said. "My husband always used the Green Book to direct us to the safest places to eat, to sleep and so on."

An interactive feature shows how African-American families packed their car for roadtrips.

"Honey, don't forget the blankets, not a lot of motels on the road that'll let colored folks spend the night," the exhibit says.

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Dr. Myron Watkins and his wife Barbara vividly recall travel challenges for Black people, like once when they were denied use of restroom at a gas station.

"We asked for the restroom and the attendant said, ‘Oh you have to go round back,’" Dr. Watkins said. "These are things that happened, and you just didn’t know about it until it did happen. And it wasn’t just in the South, it was all over."

A realistic view of history.

"I’ll sell you gas, but that’s it, you hear me? I know you’re going to ask. We don't allow no coloreds in our restrooms," the exhibit says.

The Negro Motorist Green Book Exhibit in Irving through Jan. 8.

"It’s worth seeing. I certainly hope that this little exhibit, asking me about it, will encourage people to come and take a look and learn something," said Whiteman.

You can learn more about the exhibition here.