The Green Book Comes to Lunch & Learn

The Green Book Lunch & Learn
Angela Thorpe, Acting Director NC African American Heritage Commission presentation of The Green Book Project

Historical Society Presents Angela Thorpe, Acting Director of NC African American Heritage Commission

You might think of The Green Book as a recent Golden Globe winning movie that features local actor Von Lewis as Bobby Rydell.  But the movie takes its title from a directory that many African Americans used in Jim Crow era America.  Angela Thorpe, Acting Director of the NC African American Heritage Commission will explain at the New Bern Historical Society’s Lunch & Learn on February 13 at 11:30 at The Chelsea.  She’ll discuss what The Green Book was used for, and who would have used it; sites in New Bern; and talk about the Commission’s Green Book Project.

The Green Book was the idea of Harlem based postal carrier Victor Hugo Green.  During the years before and after WWII, car ownership expanded, but it was difficult for African Americans to travel due to the discrimination they faced.  In 1936 Victor Green published the first “Negro Motorist Green Book” which covered hotels and restaurants in the New York area, but he soon expanded its scope by gathering field reports from fellow postal carriers and offering cash payments to readers who sent in useful information. By the early 1940s, the Green Book boasted thousands of establishments from across the country, all of them either black-owned or verified to be non-discriminatory and provided a list of hotels, guest homes, service stations, drug stores, taverns, barber shops and restaurants that were considered safe for African American travels.

Ms. Thorpe holds a B.A. in History with a minor in African American studies from the University of Florida; and an M.A. in History with a concentration in Museum Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She served as the first African American Historic Interpreter at the President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville. She began serving as the Associate Director of the NC African American Heritage Commission in 2017 where she is currently Acting Director.

Lunch & Learn starts at 11:30 a.m. at The Chelsea Restaurant, 335 Middle Street, New Bern. The cost is $17 for Historical Society members and $22 for non-members; lunch is included. Advance reservations must be made by calling the New Bern Historical Society at 252-638-8558, or can be ordered at Lunch choices: Meat Loaf with Gravy or Chicken Bruschetta, accompanied by Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Sauteed Zucchini and Squash, Strawberry Layer Cake.

The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education.  Offices are located in the historic Attmore Oliver House at 511 Broad Street in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go or

Submitted by: Kathy Morrison, New Bern Historical Society