South Carolina’s African American tourism efforts ramp up with new app guide

Green Book of South Carolina

The Green Book of South Carolina app lists more than 300 African American cultural sites around the state. Pprovided/S.C. African American Heritage Commission

A new travel guide could boost African American tourism in South Carolina.

A web-based or phone app travel guide called Green Book of South Carolina lists more than 300 sites across the state with African American heritage. The S.C. African American Heritage Commission developed it.

The website is

Tourism officials have said the state’s African American sites could be drawing more visitors and boosting tourism revenues.

Many African Americans can trace their roots to South Carolina.

“The Green Book of South Carolina helps expand tourism’s impact in the Palmetto State, which is now a $20.2 billion industry,” Dawn Dawson-House, director of corporate communications at the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said in a statement.

The updated version pays homage to the original Green Book, first published in 1936 by New York City postman Victor Green as an African American travel guide to safe harbors and welcoming establishments across the United States, according to the commission.

The commission is an affiliate of the S.C. Department of Archives and History.

Gullah Geechee

The former mayor of Savannah will help promote the state’s African American culture.

The Johns Island-based Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Foundation recently chose Otis Johnson, scholar-in-residence at Savannah State University, as its new chairman. Johnson served as Savannah’s mayor from 2004 to 2011.

The foundation promotes the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, a coastal strip of African American culture recognized by the National Park Service.

Other recently elected officers to the foundation are:

  • Louis Albert, a faculty associate at Arizona State University, is vice chair.
  • Antoinette Jackson, associate professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida and a founding member of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, is secretary.
  • Edward McKelvey Jr., a senior vice president of South State Bank, is treasurer.

Hotel happenings

A pair of Charleston-based developers are proposing new hotels for West Ashley and Daniel Island.

Jupiter Holdings wants to build 123 rooms across from Costco. The request is on the June 6 agenda of the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

The vacant site is behind the Food Lion supermarket at 3025 Ashley Town Center Drive. The hotel would be a WoodSpring Suites, according to Fred Whittle with Jupiter. The independent extended-stay lodging chain is based in Wichita, Kan.

Meanwhile, on Daniel Island, developer Michael Bennett of Bennett Hospitality is planning another hotel.

Bennett’s Daniel Island Ventures III is asking the Department of Health and Environmental Control for a permit to prepare 2.2 acres for a new Home2 Suites, a Hilton extended-stay brand.

The site is between MUSC Health Stadium and Volvo Cars Stadium, south of The Islander restaurant that Bennett’s Holy City Hospitality owns on Fairchild Street. He also owns the existing Daniel Island Hampton Inn.

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