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UNCG hosts virtual 'Green Book' panel ahead of Magnolia House exhibit

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Magnolia House (copy) (copy)

Magnolia House in Greensboro

GREENSBORO — UNCG second-year Museum Studies students will host a virtual panel discussion on the 20th century experiences of African American residents and visitors to the city.

The discussion, featuring three experts, will begin on Zoom at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

To RSVP, visit The Zoom link will be provided after sign-up.

The panel discussion precedes the 1 p.m. Oct. 24 opening of the students' virtual exhibit at the Historic Magnolia House.

The students are hosting the panel to generate interest in the upcoming exhibit and discuss the African American experiences and communities of the city's past and present.

The Magnolia House at 442 Gorrell St. was among businesses listed in "The Green Book."

Published between 1936 and 1966, book gave a state-by-state listing of safe places where black people could dine, patronize and stay overnight while traveling through the segregated South.

The Magnolia is listed on page 44 of the 1955 edition.

The panelists will discuss how the "The Green Book" fit into the city's civil rights movement, and the importance of preserving and documenting listed sites.

They are:

• Lisa Withers, a Ph.D. student at N.C. State with research interests in African American and cultural history. Her extensive work includes project research historian for the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and co-curator for the Oasis Spaces, an exhibit highlighting over 300 North Carolina businesses listed in the Green Book.

• Torren Gatson received his Ph. D from Middle Tennessee State University and is a trained public historian focusing on the 19th- and 20th century African American-built environment. He is an assistant professor of Public History at UNCG.

• Virginia L. Summey earned her Ph. D from UNCG in U.S. History and post-baccalaureate in African American and African Diaspora Studies.

“Although the ‘Green Book’ has become more well-known over the past few years, most people in our community do not know what it was or how critical it was for black middle-class movement," Melissa Knapp, historic site manager and curator at the Magnolia House.  

Following the discussion, a virtual Q&A session will take place.

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