Green Book in Anderson

Indiana may have been a Northern state, with pivotal stops on the Underground Railroad, but it still has a tangled history with racism. The place that provided the most services for Black people was Indianapolis. In 1949, Indianapolis only offered service to African Americans at six hotels, seven restaurants, four beauty parlors, seven taverns, one service station, one mechanic, and two tailors.

Indiana had its own sundown towns, and Alexandria and Elwood are believed by historians to be two of them. Hence, there was racial tension close to home, even if Anderson itself was not a sundown town. The proximity to two sundown towns may have been a reason that Anderson only had two businesses listed in The Green Book

Terrance Cafe—which once stood at 1411 Madison Ave in 1949—and the Indiana Motel—which is now called the Anderson Country in found at 5836 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd—were the two businesses listed in The Green Book, according to an article in the Herald Bulletin. Of the two, only the Indiana Motel still stands, though it has been renamed. Terrance Cafe is believed, by the director of Indiana Landmark’s northwest field office, to have been a single story wooden framed home according to a map of the land in 1900. Many of the businesses in The Green Book are no longer standing or are in disrepair, so it is always interesting to be able to see where they once stood or are still standing.

Anderson was not the only city in Indiana to have businesses listed in The Green Book. Other cities like Fort Wayne, Marion, and Evansville were listed as well. To access some of the pages from the 1949 copy, go to the  Henry Ford Online Exhibit.

For additional sources and information about The Green Book head on over to the next page with links to the library sources!


Bibbs, Rebecca. "Two Anderson Sites Were Included as Safe Place for Black Travelers." Herald Bulletin (Anderson, IN), Feb. 3, 2019. Accessed 14 Dec, 2020.