FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2022, Seattle, WA—
The free, self-guided, multimedia Seattle Green Book tour highlights Black-owned and Black-friendly businesses that operated along Seattle's Jackson Street corridor between the 1920s and the 1960s. This vibrant avenue included venues from Seattle's early jazz scene, including the famous Black & Tan Club that inspired the name of today’s Black & Tan Hall.
Learn about local hotels, restaurants, clubs, and barbershops listed in the national Green Book guide for Black travelers and the entrepreneurs who established them, alongside historic preservation and restoration projects. The tour can be viewed online or downloaded as a free smartphone or tablet app at www.blackandtanhall.com/greenbooktour.
The Seattle Green Book Tour was envisioned out of Black & Tan Hall’s interest in preserving and sharing the history of place, people and prosperity in southeast Seattle. “The Green Book was borne out of Black folks' need for safety, connection and resources,” described Karen Toering, Black & Tan Hall partner and general manager. “The Green Book Tour shines a light on Seattle spaces where we could be safe, build wealth and find and Black joy."
“The Green Book” travel guide was just as necessary here in Washington as it was in the South. By the time of publication, Seattle was deeply segregated and Black residents and travelers were not guaranteed service or accommodations throughout huge swaths of the city.
Original historical research was conducted with guidance and input from local historians including Esther Mumford and Paul de Barros, and support from the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, the Wing Luke Museum, and MOHAI.
"This is a wonderful idea, well-written, enjoyable and quite informative,” says Esther Mumford, local author of African American history in Washington and founding member of the Black Heritage Society of Washington. “Obviously a great deal of research went into this work and I am sure that it will provide much new information to the users and armchair visitors who take the tour."
Today’s Seattle Green Book Self-Guided Tour elevates underreported history, including stories of Black entrepreneurial spirit and solidarity among Asian and Black communities. The tour also highlights original research, such as filling some gaps in the story of Harry Legg, owner of several businesses by 1920 including what later became the Black & Tan Club, and the first African-American member of Seattle’s Chamber of Commerce (and its only such member until after World War II).
These histories have resonance to our present-day issues around density, affordability, segregation, and gentrification; the important role of entrepreneurship in building Black wealth; and media consolidation and the relative absence of media outlets that cover specific communities, which have been critical to recording the stories of people like Harry Legg.
On Sunday March 27th Black & Tan Hall is hosting a Grand Launch Event for the tour to celebrate how far we have come as a city and pay homage to all those that led the way for us to be here today. The event will feature live performances between King Street Station and Washington Hall, including live music from the intergenerational jazz band of the Rhapsody Project and the down home blues of Reggie Garrett and Ben Hunter. There will also be swing dancing, specifically the “Lindy Hop” that originated in Harlem jazz clubs in the 1930’s. During the launch event, there will also be a special opportunity to view the 1930’s jazz murals recently rediscovered underneath the Louisa Hotel.
Additional upcoming opportunities to connect with the Green Book include Green Book: More than a Guide, where the Black Heritage Society of Washington State will be in conversation with the Washington State Historical Society and Black & Tan Hall, on February 19th at MOHAI and the The Negro Motorist Green Book, a Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition, at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma starting March 19th. You can also support ongoing efforts to renovate the nearly 100-year old murals from the basement of today’s Louisa Hotel, the location of several speakeasies and jazz clubs discussed in the Seattle Green Book Self-Guided Tour. Contributors can visit scidpda.org/donate and indicate that they want to fund the restoration of the murals.
About Black & Tan Hall
Inspired by Seattle’s Black & Tan Club prominent in the 1930s, Black & Tan Hall is a neighborhood-based, multi-racial cooperative working to establish an anti-gentrification model that combats displacement, keeps dollars hyper local, and sustains good jobs. Historically, Black & Tan clubs offered a haven for people of all races in an era when segregation dictated social boundaries. Black & Tan Hall embraces that inclusive ethos while celebrating South Seattle’s rich music, arts and cultural history. Once building renovations are complete, Black & Tan Hall looks forward to opening the doors to a restaurant, music venue, and cultural space at 5608 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, Washington. Stay connected and support the path to opening the Hall’s doors at www.blackandtanhall.com/support.