Not all of the businesses that were in Downtown Phoenix were unwelcoming to African American travelers. Some places, like the Chinese restaurant Sing High would allow African Americans into their business and not make them just get food to go or not serve them at all. (Unfortunately, that Chinese restaurant closed in 2018, a landmark in its own right.) African American travelers and businessmen were not safe traveling throughout all of America not knowing which places would have welcoming faces and which would not. Thankfully, the Green Book was created.
In 1936, a man named Victor Hugo Green, in order to create a safe way for people to travel, created the Negro Motorist Green Book. It was a travel guide for African American travelers in the United States. Black travelers throughout America carried these green books in order to know which hotels and restaurants were safe to visit as they travelled.
Thanks to the Green Book, the Rice Hotel had gained popularity among the African American community. More African American travelers and businessmen were feeling safe traveling more, and this helped Rice’s hotel get on the map. Being one of the only hotels in Downtown Phoenix, let alone Arizona, that would allow African American travelers inside, it landed itself on the Green Book guide. This attracted famous people like Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, and Jackie Robinson, who stayed there in later years when performing in or visiting Phoenix.
Unfortunately today, there is nothing left of the hotel except pavement and Chase Field nearby. There is no visible memory of the Rice Hotel, nor remnants of it being there. But when the light rail was constructed and public art was incorporated into the stops, the artist Stephen Farley used an old photo of the Rice Hotel back in its glory days to decorate the Washington and Central Avenue light rail stop. Hopefully, making this location a bit more visible might encourage those with photographs from back in the day to bring them forth so more can be known.