College View Court-Hotel

An African American-owned hotel during the period of segregation and Jim Crow laws, the College View Court-Hotel provided respite for black travelers on the road.

The College View Court-Hotel offered guests modern comfort with its thirty-five air-conditioned rooms and tiled bathrooms. Owned by Dr. J. W. Yancy II, president of Paul Quinn College from 1939 to 1942, the hotel operated throughout the 1950s and continued well into the late 1970s during a time of dramatic expansion in highway travel. Automobile ownership boomed in the post-World War II period. Advances in technology made cars increasingly reliable for long distance travel as well as more affordable to larger portions of society, including the emerging black middle class.

African Americans saw the mobility and freedom that highway travel offered as especially attractive. Despite the opportunities opened up by new technology and expanded infrastructure, travel still required extensive planning since many businesses refused to serve non-white citizens. The emergence of motels such as the College View Court-Hotel in the mid-twentieth century provided some relief. The College View offered convenient and affordable lodging to African Americans on the road. The amenities at motor lodges such as this one—such as the way rooms opened into the parking lot, or the offering of separate cabins for each family—made travel more accessible.

The Negro Motorist Green Book served as a vital guidebook for African American travelers. The College View Court-Hotel first appeared in the Green Book publication in 1951 and continued to appear in the updated edition throughout the 1950s and 1960s. It was The Green Book’s mission to “give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trips more enjoyable,” in spite of harsh Jim Crow laws. It was an essential tool for the black traveler facing strict segregation.

The College View Court-Hotel stood as a symbol of the black middle class in Waco, serving African Americans who embraced travel throughout the country in spite of its difficulties. Yancy owned the hotel until it eventually closed and was razed in the 1970s. It is likely that decreased business following integration contributed to the motel’s closure. Today, visitors can still see the center steps and concrete landscape walls of the hotel at the business’s former address, 1129 Elm Avenue in Waco.