Authors: Ethan Bottone*, Northwest Missouri State University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Historical Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: tourist homes, Green Book, hospitality, mobility, black geographies
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
Tourist homes, private residences that rented rooms to traveling guests, were once a popular form of tourist accommodation in the United States. Reaching their peak in the early 20th century, tourist homes quickly became obsolete as hotels and motels were able to provide relatively inexpensive and standardized forms of hospitality. As a result of their meteoric rise and fall, and the private nature of the lodging, tourist homes have been neglected in studies of historical tourism and hospitality. This paper, however, seeks to recover and recognize the role that tourist homes played in providing welcome and other forms of hospitality to travelers, particularly black Americans. Through an exploration of tourist homes listed in the Green Book, an African-American-centric travel guide, I argue that tourist homes not only lodged travelers overnight, but also significantly contributed to forms of mobile resistance against white supremacy. Specifically, through a conceptualization of hospitality as resistance, this paper demonstrates how tourist homes enabled opportunities for black Americans to gain economic and social capital through processes of welcoming and establishing “black counterpublic spaces.” Particularly through constructions of home-like environments, tourist homes presented safe spaces that served as moorings within larger mobility networks, countering white supremacist attempts to immobilize and disadvantage black Americans. Given these contributions to resistance and black mobility, I conclude that tourist homes deserve to be included in studies of tourism, hospitality, and black geographies.