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When a ‘Green Book’ Site Goes Up for Sale

The Dumas Hotel was a rare constant in Roanoke’s Gainsboro neighborhood in the face of urban renewal. One group had a valiant effort to put its fate in their own hands when it hit the market last spring.
While businesses around it disappeared, the Dumas Hotel held its place in the pages of The Negro Motorist Green Book, which provided a state-by-state listing of hotels, garages, bars, and restaurants that would be safe for black travelers. Today, nearly 75 percent of Green Book sites have been demolished or radically modified.
While businesses around it disappeared, the Dumas Hotel held its place in the pages of The Negro Motorist Green Book, which provided a state-by-state listing of hotels, garages, bars, and restaurants that would be safe for black travelers. Today, nearly 75 percent of Green Book sites have been demolished or radically modified.Martha Park

It’s hard to move around quickly in Roanoke, Virginia. Nestled in a valley, encircled by the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, the city was built around wide stretches of railroad tracks and the meandering Roanoke River—and there aren’t many shortcuts.

The train tracks create an especially distinct border between downtown and Gainsboro, a historically African-American neighborhood, all but destroyed in a series of urban renewal projects from the 1950s through the 1980s.