Mariposa & Yosemite

Yosemite was safe for black travelers in 1957, according to recently acquired ‘Green Book

Officials at Yosemite National Park recently acquired a 1957 copy of “The Negro Travelers’ Green Book,” a guide for black travelers looking for safe places to stay that lists park locations, staffers said in a news release on Monday.

Page 10 of the guide lists five properties in Yosemite National Park. Some, as included here, were named or spelled differently than their modern day counterparts: Hotel Ahwanne, Camp Curry, Glasier Point Hotel, High Sierra Hotel and Yosemite Lodge.

Until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, establishments in many states could legally deny service based on skin color, the release says.

“The constant consideration of finding the next friendly hotel (or restaurant, or bathroom) made travel awkward, humiliating, and in some cases dangerous for black tourists,” staffers said in the news release.

The 2018 film “Green Book,” which won an Academy Award for Best Picture, took its name from the travel guide. It starred Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Yosemite has over the years had a difficult time drawing people of color. In a 2009 study, researchers found just 1 percent of Yosemite visitors identified as black or African-American. Almost 7 percent of Californians and 13.4 percent of people nationwide fit that description in 2009, the release said.

So what is the state of those locations today?

Ahwahnee Hotel is currently called The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, while Camp Curry is Half Dome Village, and Yosemite Lodge is now the Yosemite Valley Lodge.

The High Sierra Hotel (which staffers said is likely referring to the High Sierra Camps) are still in operation. The Glasier Point Hotel burned to the ground in 1969, the release said.

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