Green Book exhibit in Sac

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The California Museum reopened yesterday after being closed for nearly a month. | Photo by @sactoday

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The California Museum’s short-term exhibit, “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” is on display through Sun., Feb. 27. Created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the exhibit takes a look at historic Green Book locations, several of which are here in Sac.

A brief history

New York mail carrier Victor Green began writing guides called “The Negro Motorist Green Book” in the 1930s. These guides helped African Americans travel without fear during the period of racial segregation in the US — they contained safe hotels, restaurants, gas stations + other travel accommodations that would welcome Black patrons all across the nation.

In Sacramento, there were 11 establishments included in the 1952 edition of the Green Book. The exhibit goes into much more detail, but here’s a brief look at three of the more well-known spots with a lot of history.

A three-story brick building is seen from a distance with a man and a woman walking in front of it.

What Capitol Mall looked like when it was the West End District. | Photo courtesy of William Burg

Taylor’s, 1230 6th St.

Taylor’s was a drugstore serving the multicultural West End neighborhood. It was closed in the 1950s when the entire district was redeveloped into what we know today as the Capitol Mall.

The Zanzibar Café, 6th St. + Capitol Ave.

Billie Holiday is just one of the musical greats who once frequented The Zanzibar Café, a nightclub that served as the cornerstone of Sacramento’s jazz scene in the early twentieth century. It closed in 1949 despite its Green Book feature in 1952.

Dunlap’s Dining Room, 4372 4th Ave.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this Oak Park-based eatery was located in the dining room of George T. Dunlap’s home. The restaurant was distinctive for not having a menu — patrons instead had the option to choose from fried chicken, baked ham, and T-bone steak each day. George closed the restaurant in 1968 when he retired.

Learn more about these locations + more at the exhibit, running through Feb. 27.

A grey-blue building with a high porch and a white metal gate.

What Dunlap’s Dining Room looks like today. | Photo by @thesactoday

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