Willie Wardell owns the Mighty Midget Mart Shell gas station, located at 4936 Albemarle Road in Charlotte, N.C., and he’s been in the convenience store business for the past 40 years. His store has everything that other gas stations in the neighborhood have, and he makes sure to price things competitively.
I wanna make this clear: Iwi Fresh Garden Day Spa at 341 Nelson St. SW in Atlanta is one of the best black-owned businesses I’ve ever visited. Point blank. What makes it the best? A number of things.
Yeah, so lemme tell you about my trip to Greenville, S.C. My task was to find the Dr. Gibbs Tourist Home, located at 914 Anderson Road, and I was excited because I thought that if this person was a doctor, I was pretty sure that he or she would have a pretty impressive home that could still be standing. And I was…
In the 1957 Negro Motorist Green Book, the Connally Tourist Home is located just a block away from Morris Brown College in Atlanta and is a multistory home that was common in the late 19th century. But I was interested in it because it was the first tourist home on this trip that I could actually enter.
In the short time that I have to research these Green Book spots, the hardest ones tend to be those that were owned by black women. Even when they’re called “famous” or dubbed as “must visits” in historical documents, the details about the lives of these female entrepreneurs are often either lost or hard to find. So…
Another night on the road, another black-owned hotel stay. This time it was the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta North/Alpharetta in Alpharetta, Ga., right outside of Atlanta. And yet again, the property is owned by the Capstone Development Group.
More chillin’ at a black-owned hotel! This one is the Residence Inn by Marriott Birmingham Downtown at the University of Alabama-Birmingham at 821 20th St. South, and it’s another property held by the black-owned Capstone Development Investment Group.
As I’ve noted over and over, I don’t know what I’ll find when I go to a Green Book location. Thousands of miles, a few dozen sites, and most are either empty or shells of what they used to be.
The A.G. Gaston Motel is an important landmark in the civil rights movement and was designated by President Barack Obama as the center of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. Located just a block away from the 16th Street Baptist Church, the site where four black girls lost their lives in 1963 when the Ku…
#TheRootTrip is a series of long, two- to three-hour drives on the highway as I desperately try to get to small towns before sundown. The trip from Jackson, Miss., to Meridian, Miss., happened in the late afternoon, and I could see a thunderstorm approaching as I tried hard to reach my destination before dark.
You can’t visit Jackson, Miss., a surprisingly progressive city in a very conservative state, without checking out the Big Apple Inn Restaurant on 509 N. Farish St. A delightful hole in the wall that reeks of old, black Mississippi, the Big Apple Inn has become a darling of television shows looking for authentic,…
It was onward to Jackson, Miss., and my first Green Book stop was at the former Shepherds Kitchenette at 604 North Farish St. During Jim Crow segregation, Farish Street was the center of the black business community, home to numerous record companies and restaurants, and it was the original home of Jackson State…
I know these black men. I’ve known them all of my life. That was my first thought after I’d walked down the darkened hallway, past Stamper’s barbershop in Monroe, La., and into the pool hall where a dozen black men—ranging in age from mid-30s to “he been here forever”—sat around enjoying each other’s presence.
Nothing against Starbucks because Lord knows that over the years, I’ve spent a mortgage payment on venti iced chai lattes, but when I saw that Shreveport, La., had a black-owned coffee bar in its Red River District, well, I just had to make a stop and visit.
The next spot on my 1957 Green Book list was the Will Steward Hotel. I wasn’t able to find anything about Will Steward himself, but there were a number of Will Stewards who lived in the Shreveport area in the mid-1950s, although none of them seems directly connected to the building above.
As I rolled into Shreveport, La., my first Green Book location was simply noted in the guidebook as the intersection of Pierre and Looney, where the Grand Terrace Restaurant once stood. Remember, as part of #TheRootTrip, I’m not preselecting these locations, so what I find is what I find, and I do my research after…
Guess what, guys? I found another black-owned gas station! Swift Fast Food & Gas at 801 W. Kearney St. in Mesquite, Texas, is ready for your business.
Have you ever walked into a black business and immediately felt the authentic passion of the owners? How they hold a genuine love for their service and the black community? If you’ve never experienced that, then I suggest that you run, not walk, to Recipe, a new vegan and juice spot at 1831 S. Ewing Ave. in Dallas.
I’m a simple man. If there are oxtails within reach, then I’m going to eat said oxtails. See? Not complicated. So when readers said that I just had to visit the Island Spot, where they have oxtails, in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, well, it seemed like a great suggestion.
You can’t expect to find every address from the 1957 Negro Travelers’ Green Book intact. Sixty years’ worth of city renewal, knocking down buildings for other buildings and then knocking down those buildings a few decades later, can transform a block.