GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Historic Magnolia House is a local gem.
Framed images on the walls highlight its place in The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide published from 1936 to 1967 listing businesses that accepted Black customers.
“Our whole mission and objective is to recreate the Green Book experience,” The Historic Magnolia House owner Natalie Pass-Miller said.
“During segregation in the Jim Crow era, shoebox meals were a really important aspect of travel for people of color, so oftentimes if there wasn’t a Green Book site that was readily available or known to stop at, Black travelers would often pack a shoebox meal which would be housed in an actual shoebox,” The Historic Magnolia House site manager and curator Melissa Knapp said.
Take out and delivery are among the few things COVID hasn’t stopped.
That inspired a new form of outreach.
Anytime customers order food from The Historic Magnolia House using Grubhub or DoorDash, they’ll get the shoebox lunch experience.
“That is our way to be able to still share history with the community by taking the history and the education to them,” Pass-Miller said.
Each section of the box tells a story.
“There’s some information about the Green Book, about the history behind shoebox lunches, and in a few days we’re going to be getting in our holiday shoebox lunches, which will have completely new information on them,” Knapp said.
The hope is that these stories from the past will spark timely conversations today.
“Take these shoeboxes, share them with your kids, sit down, talk about them at home, these are all elements that are missing out of the textbook,” Pass-Miller said.
The staff hopes to transition the boxes into a school program once it’s safe for in-person instruction.
The Historic Magnolia House is only offering to-go meals.