About The Magnolia House
The House That Soul Built
The Historic Magnolia House in Greensboro was a popular destination for African American travelers who were not allowed to share the same accommodations as Caucasians, including the same eating and drinking facilities, during segregation in America in the mid-twentieth century. Many African Americans of renown stayed here, including James Brown, Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, Joe Tex, Carter G. Woodson, and Jackie Robinson. Also, many families of college students attending such schools as Bennett College and North Carolina A&T State University stayed here as well. The Historic Magnolia House also was a place for wedding celebrations and other formal gatherings and events.
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 that were 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.