Remnants of the A. Winston Tourist Home, a former stop in the 1957 Negro Travelers’ Green Book (photo Illustration by Erendira Mancias/The Root/GMG; photo by Lawrence Ross/The Root)

Just a 10-minute jog to the Mexican border sits what was listed in the 1957 Negro Travelers’ Green Book as the A. Winston Tourist Home at 3205 Alameda Ave., El Paso, Texas, which was owned by Anderson and Gertrude Winston. The Winstons lived in El Paso for most of their lives, with Anderson being trained as a grocer, and the building reflects this. Even in its most recent iteration as the El Torito Grocery, there was a grocery store on the first floor with apartments above it.

Lawrence Ross/The Root

The building sits in central El Paso in the heart of where African Americans were forced to live because of segregated-housing laws. With its railroads and military bases, El Paso was an attractive destination for blacks in the 19th and early 20th centuries, although the city did its best to close blacks off from mostly white El Paso society. Only one black school, the Douglass School, educated African Americans, and most blacks were forced to go to Mexico to attend the movies because only one theater in El Paso allowed blacks.

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Any black travelers to El Paso would have headed to the McCall neighborhood, the heart of black El Paso, and they would have found a safe bed at the A. Winston Tourist Home.

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