HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – The A.G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham, A Civil Rights Landmark


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Traveling throughout the South during the 1950s was hazardous for African Americans. There were precious few hotels and restaurants that opened their doors to minorities, and fewer still had accommodations above the bare minimum, to say nothing of the racism and violence that followed. But in Birmingham, black entrepreneur and eventual millionaire A.G. Gaston created a first-class motel and lounge for African Americans that became a symbol of pride of his community. It served as the headquarters for Birmingham’s civil rights movement and became a revolving door for famous entertainers, activists, politicians and other pillars of the national black community. Author Marie Sutton chronicles the fascinating story of the motel and how it became a refuge during a time when African Americans could find none.

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