“Driving Without Privilege: The Negro Motorist Green Book” Lecture by Lettie Shumate at the Bellamy Mansion Museum

On Tuesday, October 15, the Bellamy Mansion Museum will host Historian Lettie Shumate as she speaks about The Negro Motorist Green Book.

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a guidebook for African American travelers, published annually by Victor H. Green from 1936 to 1966. It provided a list of restaurants, taverns, hotels, service stations, and other establishments throughout the United States that welcomed African American patrons during a time when segregation and Jim Crow laws made travel difficult and dangerous. This lecture examines some of The Green Book’s locations, including those in Wilmington. It will also focus on the book’s impact on the rising middle class of African Americans, how tourism and travel represented physical freedom through automobility, and how driving without privilege in history has evolved today.

“The Green Book represented empowerment, was a form of resistance, and more people need to know how it contributed to our country’s history,” says Shumate. “When you truly read and pay attention to history’s facts, it continuously shows us the sacrifices, strength, hope, and resilience of black people in this country.”

Shumate is a UNCW graduate. Her focus was on American history, specifically race studies, black power, civil rights, and other scopes of African American history. After working in the corporate world while also teaching history at Cape Fear Community College, she returned to UNCW to earn a master’s degree in Conflict Management & Resolution. She is passionate about advocating for social justice, civil rights, racial reconciliation, and the empowerment of marginalized voices. She hosts a podcast and has a blog— both titled “Sincerely, Lettie”— where she tackles these issues and more. As a historian, she also sees the importance of educating others about history and its relevance to today.

The lecture begins at 6:30 pm at the Bellamy Mansion Museum and is free to all attendees. There is a $5 suggested donation. For more information contact Carolyn Gonzalez at 910-251-3700 x306 or cgonzalez@bellamymansion.org.

The Bellamy Mansion Museum, located at 503 Market Street in Wilmington, is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to interpreting the social and architectural history of the Bellamy Mansion and promoting a greater understanding of historic preservation, architectural history and restoration methods in North Carolina. In 1994, the Bellamy Museum opened its doors to the public after years of renovation and interpretive planning. In this 25th anniversary year, the Bellamy Mansion Museum will continue to provide diverse educational and cultural programming for our community.