Fine artist Kelley Prevard never used to wait inside her Ventnor home for the young black boyfriend she had five years ago, who drove a Bentley and liked to play his music loud.

Prevard, now 30, would wait for him outside of her apartment, to make sure nothing happened to him, and would drive away with him as soon as possible.

“He would visit me all the time at my house. He would get stopped by the police all the time coming to Ventnor,” said Prevard, who lives in Atlantic City now. “The assumption is he’s a big black guy riding in a nice car. He has to be a drug dealer. He would get constantly stopped by the cops.”

Prevard contributed a painting, named “Not On My Watch,” to the exhibition of art, photos and artifacts titled “Driving While Black,” which is on display through May 26 at the Noyes Museum of Art at Stockton University’s Kramer Hall, 30 Front St., Hammonton.

The movie “Green Book,” this year’s Oscar-winning best film, got its name from “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” first published in 1936, which helped black motorists identify hotels, restaurants, service stations and other businesses that would serve them as they traveled during the era of segregation.

A change in New Jersey’s constitution outlawed overt segregation in schools in 1947 — seven years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision — but in 1941, 70 districts in the state had some form of segregation, mostly in South Jersey, which was an agricultural area at the time.

A map outlining 55 places in South Jersey is included in the “Green Book” travel guide, which is part of the exhibit in Hammonton. A copy of the map is also on display at the Noyes Arts Garage, 2200 Fairmount Ave., Atlantic City.

The 55 South Jersey locations in the book include three in Cape May, 11 in Wildwood, four in Ocean City and 27 in Atlantic City.

There are few remnants of the places mentioned in the South Jersey section of the book, said Ralph E. Hunter Sr., founder of the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey, which has one of its locations inside the Noyes Arts Garage.

Condos have been built at the site of Apex Rest at North Indiana and Ontario avenues, Hunter said.

The Randell Hotel at 1601 Arctic Ave. is now a parking lot, and the Liberty Hotel at 1519 Baltic Ave. is now senior citizens housing, said Hunter, whose museum is one of the partners for the Noyes Museum exhibit.

“We have several collaborators that also loaned us artwork,” said Saskia Schmidt, director of education, Noyes Museum of Art at Stockton University.

Hunter lent the exhibit a Ku Klux Klan robe and a ball and chain. The Millville Army Air Museum lent a gun. The Paul Robeson House & Museum in Philadelphia and the Lest We Forget Museum of Slavery in Germantown, Pennsylvania, each lent the exhibit some items along with the Maryland Historical Society, Schmidt said.

Besides Prevard, other contemporary artists loaned the exhibit their work, include Belinda Manning, of Pleasantville; Tyrone Hart, of Atlantic City; and Lavett Ballard, who teaches at Cumberland County College in Vineland, Schmidt said.

The work is all related to the theme of the struggle for freedom and rights of the black population of this country, Schmidt said.

“The freedom of movement, to me, that’s really the theme of the whole exhibition,” Schmidt said. “’Green Book’ is a part of it. ... It signifies what African Americans had to do to travel. They had to have their own book to find places where they could stay safely, especially during the Jim Crow era, but it’s continuing to this day. It’s still a struggle.”

Several events are planned around the exhibit, which features 15 artists and more than 65 pieces:

• April 18: From 6 to 8 p.m., preview of an excerpt from the documentary “Driving While Black,” followed by a discussion at Kramer Hall.

• May 11: From 1:30 to 3 p.m., preview of an excerpt from the documentary “Driving While Black,” followed by a discussion at the Arts Garage in Atlantic City.

• May 16: From 6 to 8 p.m., a poetry and story slam, led by Stockton Professor of Writing and poet Emari DiGiorgio at Kramer Hall. Several of DiGiorgio’s poems are also part of the exhibition.

Staff Writer

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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