Montana’s African American Heritage Resources

Places

page headline here

The Identifying Montana’s African American Heritage Places Project aims to provide academic, place-based historical resources as well as new scholarship. Place-based history pivots the study of the past around existing structures, neighborhoods, sites, or environments. This project has produced a number of original, place-based resources that professional historians and casual viewers alike will find enlightening and easy to use.

Mapping Historic Neighborhoods

Sandborn Map

We mapped the neighborhoods and houses of African Americans in seven Montana cities during the twentieth century. Using the 1910 and 1930 Federal Censuses and Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from the historical period, we recorded the locations of verifiable African American homes and residences along with some information about those who called those places home.



Property Record Forms 

Property Record Forms

Historic Property Record Forms are official documents which provide a basic history of a particular property. The forms include legal locations, architectural descriptions, histories, maps, and photographs. This project compiled 50 property records for buildings associated with Montana’s early African American history. Completing property record forms is often a first step towards listing a building on the National Register of Historic Places.



The National Register of Historic Places

National Register of Historic Places

Properties in the National Register have been researched at the highest level, and placed within the greater historical context of their community, city, state, and region. Montana has five properties listed in the National Register that garner their significance from the history of the African American community. Two additional nominations, as well as a Multiple Properties Documentation form relaying the narrative of the city’s early black residents, have been prepared for the city of Helena.


Story Maps

Montana's African American Heritage Resources Story Map

Explore map-based, interactive narratives about Montana’s black communities via three informative story maps. Our statewide map highlights 25 properties in eleven cities across Montana. Our Helena map offers insight to 27 properties in that city, and our Driver Family map traces the history of one family based in Anaconda, from the late 19th through the twentieth century.


Montana In The Green Book

The Placer Hotel at 21 N. Last Chance Gulch in Helena

Between 1936 and 1967, Victor H. Green & Company published The Negro Motorist Green Book, which offered listings of lodgings, restaurants, service stations, and recreation opportunities for African American travelers. The first two issues – 1936 and 1937 – limited its listings to New York State. By 1939, however, the book aided travelers across the country. That year, the only Montana entry was Mrs. M. Stitt at 204 South Park in Helena, whose two-story boarding house offered “tourist home” accommodations. Mrs. Stitt died in 1939, but her family continued to advertise under her name in the Green Book through 1951. In 1956 and 1957, through the last issue in mid-1960s, more Montana lodgings advertised in the Green Book, including places in Billings, Butte, and East Glacier. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, at least in theory, made the Green Book unnecessary, and their publication discontinued.

Follow this link to a map that includes information about each of the Montana establishments listed in the Green Book.

For a spreadsheet of Montana listings in the Green Book, click here.




This material is based upon work assisted by grants from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service and the Montana History Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior nor the Montana History Foundation.



Montana Historical Society. Big Sky. Big Land. Big History

Sitewide Footer

© Montana Historical Society. All rights reserved.
225 North Roberts, P.O. Box 201201, Helena, MT 59620-1201, 406-444-2694, 406-444-2696 (fax)