Reading List: Race, Architecture and Travel

Reading List: Race, Architecture and Travel

Curated by SCA board members Kimberly Ellis and Irene Lule, this brief and evolving reading list attempts to address key issues regarding race, architecture, and travel. A mixture of academic journals, books, and newspaper articles, the intention is to provide members and visitors readings that challenge our perceptions and ask us to create a more equitable and inclusive built environment.

Introduction to the Special Issue: African Americans and Tourism

By Derek H. Alderman

Given the highly discriminatory history of hospitality in the United States, the relationship between African Americans and tourism is obviously complex. Despite this documented history, inequalities still characterize the industry. This article explores this topic through a social justice lens as well as seeing the African American tourist as an important and profitable segment of the travel market.

Alderman, Derek H. “Introduction to the Special Issue: African Americans and Tourism.” Tourism Geographies 15, no. 3 (2013): 375-379. Abstract.

Navigating Through Ableist Architecture

By M. Anderson

A newer (and short) article more broad in its discussion of accessibility by focusing on travel and albeit architecture. Among several things, the author mentions the push of airlines for “economic efficiency,” restrictions around historic preservation, and current legislation news around this area.

Andersen, M. “Navigating Through Ableist ArchitectureBitch, August 1, 2018.

Assessing Significance and Integrity in the National Register Process: Questions of Race, Class, and Gender

By Carroll Van West

Carroll Van West examines the pervasive but often forgotten influence of race, class,and gender in historic interpretation of historic landscapes and sites. Even within gendered spaces, the distinct difference that race and ethnicity play in determining historic treatment is examined. This Chapter in Preservation of What, for Whom? also discusses these variables in the National Register of Historic Places.

Baugher, C. “Assessing Significance and Integrity in the National Register Process: Questions of Race, Class, and Gender”. In M. Tomlan (Ed.), Preservation of What, for Whom? (pp. 109-116). Ithaca, NY: The National Council for Preservation Education. 1997.

On Race and Museums: Starting Conversations, Embracing Action

By Aleia Brown

Aleia Brown reflects on the relationship between race relations in the United States and the ongoing challenges of representation and interpretation of race in museums. This article addresses events relating to police shootings across the country as well as the history of race in America and suggests ways in which museums can be better equipped for interpretation and dialogue.

Brown, Aleia. “On Race and Museums: Starting Conversations, Embracing Action.” Museums and Social Issues 10, no. 2 (2015): 109-112. Abstract.

We’ve Got to Change This’: Has Dixie Highway Reached the End of the Road?

By Audra D. S. Burch

PHOTO: Saul Martinez for The New York Times

This article examines the problematic name of the iconic highway and actions began taken to change its name in South Florida.

Burch, Audra D.S. “‘We’ve Got to Change This’: Has Dixie Highway Reached the End of the Road?The New York Times, January 20, 2020.

Coloured Places and Pigmented Holidays: Racialized Leisure Travel

By Perry L. Carter

Perry Carter addresses race, space and leisure travel in this article. He discusses the differences between African-American and White travel behavior while challenging existing theoretical explanations for these differences. This work aims to extend previous research on racialized leisure through utilizing a multi-method, multiple data sources approach to illustrate and then elucidate racial differences in behavior.

Carter, Perry L. “Coloured Places and Pigmented Holidays: Racialized Leisure Travel.” Tourism Geographies 10, no. 3 (2008): 265-284. Abstract.

Architecture in the Age of Accessibility

By D. W. Dunlap

An older article that provides a quick overview into incorporating more accessibility in architecture. While not directly focused on SCA-type buildings, there is some useful and insightful information about how architecture can be more accessible.

Dunlap, D. W.  “Architecture in the Age of Accessibility,” The New York Times, June 1, 1997.

The Convenient Indian – Part I

By Peter Glaser

SCA Journal Fall 2013 imagePeter Glaser describes how Native American iconography was exploited and marketed in the late early 20th century roadside. He argues the North American Indian was an icon of consumer society that used stereotypical associations with the outdoors, the innocence of nature , strength , courage, and novelty. This SCA column explores how these stereotypes manifested themselves in the early roadside built environment in the form of wigwams and teepees.

Glaser, P., “The Convenient Indian – Part I”, Society for Commercial Archeology Journal, (Fall 2013), 32. Download.

Seeing the Invisible: Reexamining Race and Vernacular Architecture

By Dianne Harris

Scholars of vernacular architecture need to reimagine the terrain they occupy everyday as scholars working in a world of white privilege. As a group that is still mostly identified as white, scholars of the built environment must know themselves, question the world they take as given, and examine their own and others’ positions within it. If their mission and definition continue to progress from method rather than distinctions of type, from active engagement with the political and the experiential as well as with the material, these scholars will be able to interrogate the conditions that shape their perspectives, such that they start to question and ultimately disassemble the parameters that have resulted in a world of spaces regarded as historically and normatively white, unless labeled otherwise.

Harris, Dianne. “Seeing the Invisible: Reexamining Race and Vernacular Architecture.” Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 13, no. 2 (January 2, 2006): 96–105. Link.

Heritage, Tourism, and Race: The Other Side of Leisure

By A. T. Jackson

Heritage, Tourism, and Race views heritage and leisure tourism in the Americas through the lens of race, and is especially concerned with redressing gaps in recognizing and critically accounting for African Americans as an underrepresented community in leisure.

Fostering critical public discussions about heritage, travel, tourism, leisure, and race, Jackson addresses the underrepresentation of African American leisure experiences and links Black experiences in this area to discussions of race, place, spatial imaginaries, and issues of segregation and social control explored in the fields of geography, architecture, and the law. Most importantly, the book emphasizes the importance of shifting public dialogue from a singular focus on those groups who are disadvantaged within a system of racial hierarchy, to those actors and institutions exerting power over racialized others through practices of exclusion.

Jackson, A. T. Heritage, Tourism, and Race: The Other Side of Leisure. New York, NY: Routledge, 2020. Amazon.

The Jim Crow North? Dining in New York City Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964

By C. Jou

An interesting article focused on how diners could often been sites of racial discrimination. A particular focus, as emphasized by the title, is how the North was not immune to prejudice towards African Americans.

Jou, C. “The Jim Crow North? Dining in New York City Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” HuffPost, July 14, 2014.

Preserving African American Historic Places

By Brent Leggs, et al.

This 24-page publication presents an overview of traditional preservation networks and their roles, offers tips on how to get preservation underway in your community, and looks at the various legal and financial tools that help protect historic properties. The booklet also includes six case studies to illustrate various strategies for preserving and honoring historic places associated with African-American history.

Leggs, Brent, et al. “Preserving African American Historic Places.” Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2020.

Driving While Black: African American Travel and The Road to Civil Rights

By Gretchen Sullivan Sorin

In Driving While Black, the acclaimed historian Gretchen Sorin reveals how the car―the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility―has always held particular importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the many dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road. She recounts the creation of a parallel, unseen world of black motorists, who relied on travel guides, black only businesses, and informal communications networks to keep them safe.

Sorin, Gretchen Sullivan. Driving While Black: African American Travel and The Road to Civil Rights. New York: Liveright Publishing Corp, 2020. Amazon.

LGBTQ American: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer History

By M. Springate

In the fifty years since the National Historic Preservation Act was enacted, a number of communities have been underrepresented in the National Park Service’s list of National Historic Landmarks (NHL) and National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Among these are the Latina/Latino, African American, Women’s, Asian and Pacific Islander, Native American, and LGBTQ communities. As of this writing in 2016, LGBTQ sites make up .08 percent of the 2,500 NHLs and .005 percent of the more than 90,000 places on the NRHP. This comprehensive collection of essays on LGBTQ experience and history work to assert and demand recognition of the rights of the LGBTQ community as citizens under the law and the constitution.

Springate, M.  “LGBTQ American: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer History” Washington D.C: National Park Foundation, National Park Service, 2016.

Overground Railroad: The Green Book and The Roots of Black Travel in America

By Candacy A. Taylor

Published from 1936 to 1966, the Green Book was hailed as the “black travel guide to America.” At that time, it was very dangerous and difficult for African-Americans to travel because black travelers couldn’t eat, sleep, or buy gas at most white-owned businesses. The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses that were safe for black travelers. It was a resourceful and innovative solution to a horrific problem. It took courage to be listed in the Green Book, and Overground Railroad celebrates the stories of those who put their names in the book and stood up against segregation. It shows the history of the Green Book, how we arrived at our present historical moment, and how far we still have to go when it comes to race relations in America.

Taylor, Candacy A. Overground Railroad: The Green Book and The Roots of Black Travel in America. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2020. Amazon.

Who Determines the Significance of American Indian Sacred Sights and Burial Grounds?

By S. Van West

For all nations, including Native American nations, places for the dead are sacred. Because the fates of Native American sacred sites are most often determined by people who are not followers of any Native American religions, the ethical sensitivity of decision makers needs to be expanded. This Chapter in Preservation of What, for Whom? examines how Native American perspectives can be included in the decision making process.

Van West, S. “Who Determines the Significance of American Indian Sacred Sights and Burial Grounds?”. In M. Tomlan (Ed.), Preservation of What, for Whom? (pp. 97-108). Ithaca, NY: The National Council for Preservation Education. 1997.

The Architecture of Racial Segregation: The Challenges of Preserving the Problematical Past

By Robert R. Weyeneth

The article examines racial segregation as a spatial system and proposes a conceptual framework for assessing its significance. It analyzes how the ideology of white supremacy influenced design form in the United States and how Jim Crow architecture appeared on the landscape. For African Americans, the settings for everyday life were not simply the confines of this imposed architecture; the article analyzes responses such as the construction of alternative spaces. The discussion concludes by considering the architecture of segregation from the perspective of historic preservation.

Weyeneth, Robert R. “The Architecture of Racial Segregation: The Challenges of Preserving the Problematical Past.” The Public Historian 27, no. 4 (2005): 11-44.