Washington museum director to be featured speaker at ECU

Published 6:15 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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For the Washington Daily News

The director of the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum, Leesa Jones, will be the featured speaker at an upcoming event being hosted by the main campus library at ECU. “Navigating Jim Crow: The Green Book and Oasis Spaces in North Carolina,” is a traveling exhibit developed by the African American Heritage Commission as part of their Green Book Project. 

The exhibit highlights the Negro Motorist Green Book and how it served as a guide to safe businesses in North Carolina for African American traveling in the state during the segregated Jim Crow era. 

“We are very excited to have Leesa on board to share her wealth of knowledge with the campus community,” said Ronnie Woodward, communications specialist, ECU main campus library. “Particularly with the student population, who might have heard the words Green Book, but aren’t that familiar with or fully understand how difficult it was to travel at that time. And the many different barriers and logistics encountered by the Black community on a daily basis. We hope that Leesa’s message will resonate amongst our students and help bridge some of that gap.”

The ECU Special Collections Division that highlight local Black business during this era in Greenville and the surrounding areas, including Washington, will also be on display.

“I always say, with knowledge come understanding,” said Jones. “When you can understand why you needed a Green Book, it starts a conversation that we know we don’t want to go back to that, and how we keep that from ever happening again. It’s relevant because we learn from the past.”

The public is invited to attend the event, free of charge, on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m., at the ECU main campus library. The exhibit will be on display through March 27th in observance of Black History Month.