About The Magnolia House

The House That Soul Built

 

During America’s period of segregation, The Historic Magnolia House accommodated traveling African Americans who were not allowed to share the same eating and sleeping facilities as Caucasians. Prominent African Americans that stayed in The Magnolia House included James Brown, Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, Joe Tex, Carter G. Woodson, and Jackie Robinson. In addition to housing celebrities, The Magnolia House accommodated the families of students attending historically Black schools like Bennett College and North Carolina A&T State University. It also served the community as a place for wedding receptions and other formal gatherings.

The Historic Magnolia House (known by its formal name, the Daniel D. Debutts House) is on the National Register of Historic Places and is in the South Greensboro National Register Historic District.

The Green Book

Guiding African American Travelers

 

The Historic Magnolia House opened in 1949 as one of the only hotels between Atlanta, Georgia and Richmond, Virginia that allowed African American travelers to stay overnight due to lodging restrictions under Jim Crow. The house grew in notoriety after appearing in six publications of The Negro Motorist Green Book created by Victor H. Green in 1949. The Green Book served as a travelers’ guide that detailed businesses safe for Black patrons. View the following video, courtesy of Vox Media, for details on how the Green Book impacted travel and safety throughout the United States.

Visitors To The Magnolia House

 

Between the years of 1955 and 1961, the Green Book listed The Historic Magnolia House, as one of five hotels consistently safe for Black travelers in Greensboro, North Carolina. During that time, patrons knew The Magnolia House by a few different names, including the “Magnolia Hotel” and “Magnolia Traveler’s Motel.” In 2015, the New York Public Library digitized copies of the Green Book for public use, making them accessible to view in our digital library. We have included copies of the 1955-1959, 1960, and 1961 editions of the Green Book.