Unable to stay at white-owned hotels, Black travelers used “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” published from 1936 to 1966, to find Black owned-and-operated lodging.Sandra Butler-Truesdale, once a cosmetologist for the bands of James Brown and Ray Charles remembers how unforgiving the road was for Black musicians.
Her ownership of The Mansion at Noble Lane symbolizes how much America has changed. “I wanted to cheer her on.” Greenwood, an astute businesswoman with a love for Afrocentrism, said she chose the name Akwaaba because it means “welcome” in the Ghanaian language of Twi.
The 25,000 square-foot, 14-room Gilded Age inn in Bethany, Penn. “It represents a connection to the Motherland and because it starts with A – generally making us first on most (directory) lists,” said the savvy Greenwood.
Sometimes buses stopped at gas stations where people could change and wash themselves.” When Greenwood opened her first inn in Brooklyn, guests were generally family, friends and neighbors.
About 95 percent of their guests were Black then, versus 40 percent today.
She and her husband own other commercial properties, which they have used as collateral to invest in buying and renovating inns.
“What has been most important is maintaining stellar personal credit, and doing that often requires being a pro at delayed gratification,” said Greenwood. Mary Grate Pyos of Burke, Va., who had stayed at Akwaaba in Washington, D. “What’s so exciting about that inn is — as an African-American, who not so long ago was unable to sit at the Woolworth counter and get a cup of water — I now get to witness a Black woman owning the Woolworth estate,” said Pyos.
“Entertainers and people who traveled a lot stayed with relatives and friends, and there were certain guest houses,” said Butler-Truesdale.
“Some musicians had buses and they did one-night stands and slept on their buses, heading to other engagements.
It is the only international travel fair in West Africa; it's a face to face marketing platform for travel companies; and a meeting place for travel and tourism investors to network. Because of the large turnout of participation, drawing attendance from over 20 countries; numerous airlines, both domestic and foreign; and leading Africa hotel chains, attracting more than 10, 000 visitors, it is referred to as ‘‘Where Africa meets the world’’.