The Green Book in Virginia

The Green Book in Virginia

About The Green Book

Victor Hugo Green, a letter carrier from New York, published the Green Book from 1936 to 1967. The book was a guide to hotels, restaurants, guest houses, service stations, drug stores, and other businesses known to be safe for traveling Black Americans during the Jim Crow era, when many establishments refused to admit Black people or served them on an unequal basis. The 1938 edition of the Green Book was the first in which Virginia businesses were listed.

By the time the Green Book was discontinued in 1967, hundreds of Virginia businesses had appeared in its pages.
Cover of the book The Negro Motorist Green-Book (1940 edition).
An image of the cover of the 1940 edition of the Negro Motorist Green Book. Victor Hugo Green, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

DHR Initiatives

In 2023, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in order to document Green Book locations and to share information with the public.

Green Book Highway Marker Plaques

Legislation passed in 2023 calls for “historic site signs”—supplementary plaques—to be permanently affixed to the posts of existing state highway markers that pertain to businesses listed in The Green Book. DHR, in partnership with the Virginia Tourism Corporation, VDOT, and local public works departments, will oversee the installation of these plaques.
If a Green Book site does not currently have a state highway marker, any organization or individual may apply to sponsor one via our regular application process. Each new marker related to The Green Book will have a plaque attached to its post.

Learn more about the Historical Highway Marker program

The Green Book plaque at the site of the Bay Shore Hotel in Hampton, Virginia.
The Green Book plaque at the site of the Bay Shore Hotel in Hampton, Virginia.

List of Virginia Green Book Locations

The first Green Book plaque in Virginia was installed in October 2023 for the Bay Shore Hotel historical highway marker in Hampton. In December 2023, two Green Book plaques were installed at markers in the City of Danville highlighting the Holbrook-Ross Historic District and the Yancey House & Grasty Library. A marker for Fayette Street in Martinsville is expected to get an accompanying Green Book plaque, while three markers in the City of Richmond will soon have Green Book plaques installed. The markers in Richmond highlight the histories of the Miller’s and Eggleston Hotel, the Jackson Ward neighborhood, and Navy Hill. 

More Resources

The Architecture of the Negro Travelers Green Book, a collaborative digital project through the University of Virginia Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.

Green Book in Virginia and Virginia’s Black Heritage Trail from Virginia Tourism Corporation

Green Book Historic Context Project

In 2023 and 2024, DHR oversaw a project to produce a statewide Multiple Property Document (MPD) for the purposes of conducting historical research and architectural surveys to document existing places and buildings listed in The Green Book. The draft context report can be found here.

A Map of Green Book Sites in Virginia