The real Green Book’s connection to Salisbury

SALISBURY, Md. – The movie ‘Green Book’ not only won best picture at the Academy Awards, it also gave us a glimpse of the past on how things used to be black and white. Because local matters, 47 ABC decided to dig up a bit of our history right here in Salisbury for Black History Month and find the real Green Book and its connection to the past.

47 ABC reached out to the Nabb Research Center at Salisbury University and they say they actually have a Green Book that shows Chesapeake East on West Main Street used to be the Franklin Hotel.

West Main Street used to be downtown and the Downtown Plaza, as we know it today, was actually called uptown.

Shanie Shields, a former Salisbury City councilwoman and Eastern Shore native, gives us a look at what life used to be. “Basically, it’s where blacks had businesses down there with integrated business,” Shields says. Among those businesses was the Franklin Hotel, that was included in the real Green Book back in the 50’s and 60’s. The Green Book served as a guide for African-American travelers on where they could stay during the segregation period.

The Franklin Hotel built in 1930 specifically housed black entertainers. “Entertainers didn’t have a place to stay and we had Fats Domino, Etta James, different people during the eras 30-40’s and you had big bands that came. Because there was no civic center, so the blacks had their own social area where they can come,” Shields tells us.

While segregation may be something of the past, Shields tells us she hopes we can remember the rich history right here on Delmarva. Shields says, “Just learn history, local history. Harriett Tubman, Martin Luther King, Frederic Douglass, were great people but you need to know people in our community on what they accomplished.”

Salisbury isn’t the only location in the 1962 Green Book. Laurel, Dover, and Rehoboth Beach are also included in there for the first state.

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