A Journey Through The Black Wall Street District... History, Legacy, Connections And Memoirs, Canada, Thursday, 31. December 2020

The Memoirs Of Black Wall Street District... Triumph, Test, Trial And Error...

***This Is Not An Actual Upcoming Event... Should Only Be Used For Educational, Memoir, History And Legacy Purposes...

This Event Is Dedicated To The Legacy Of Black Wall Street District, Hastings Street, Blackbottom, Paradise Valley And Idlewild Black Eden Paradise Of Michigan... Roots, History, Memoirs, And Connections... With People Of Color, Places And Things...

Shared From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Black Bottom was a predominantly black neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, that was demolished for redevelopment in the early 1960s. It was replaced with Lafayette Park. It was located on Detroit's near East side bounded by Gratiot Avenue, Brush Street, Vernor Highway, and the Grand Trunk railroad tracks.

The area's main commercial avenues were Hastings and St. Antoine streets. An adjacent north-bordering neighborhood was known as Paradise Valley. The two were not considered to be the same neighborhood. Historically, this area was the source of the River Savoyard, which was buried as a sewer in 1836. Its "bottomland" and rich marsh soils are the source of the name "Black Bottom".

Hastings Street, which ran north-south through Black Bottom, had been an area populated by immigrants before World War I. With ethnic succession, by the 1950s it became an African-American community of black-owned business, social institutions, and night clubs. It became nationally famous for its music scene: major blues singers, big bands, and jazz artists—such as Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie—regularly performed in the bars and clubs of Paradise Valley entertainment district. Aretha Franklin's father, the Reverend C. L. Franklin, first opened his New Bethel Baptist Church on Hastings Street.

Black Bottom endured the Great Depression, with many of its residents working in factories. Following World War II, the physical structures of Black Bottom were in need of replacement. In the early 1960s, the City of Detroit demolished the Black Bottom district as part of an urban renewal project. The area was replaced by the Chrysler Freeway (Interstate 75) and Lafayette Park, a residential development designed by Mies van der Rohe and intended as a model neighborhood. It combined residential townhouses, apartments and high-rises with commercial areas. Many of the residents relocated to large public housing projects such as the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects Homes and Jeffries Homes.

Other historical Detroit black neighborhoods include Conant Gardens, Russell Woods, and Elmwood Park.

Idlewild... Beginning in 1915, African Americans from throughout the country, particularly the Midwest, came to Idlewild in the summer. During the early years the resort offered beaches, boating, and other typical summer diversions. By the 1920s and into the 1960s, however, Idlewild's rousing nightlife lured swarms of visitors to the community to see elaborate floorshows and some of America's most popular black entertainers. The Arthur Braggs Idlewild Revue toured the country during the off-season, spreading the Idlewild name. The 1964 passage of legislation that prohibits segregation-opened doors for blacks to stay at previously whites-only resorts. Idlewild's heyday ended, but it remained the largest African American resort in the nation...

The Flamingo Club... Detroit hotelier Phil Giles opened the Flamingo Club in 1955. A 1956 Chicago Defender article reported it was "classed with the top nighteries" in the nation. As early as the 1920s, resorters had many options for evening activities, Including card parties and dances. By the 1930s the Island's clubhouse had been renovated as the Idlewild Club Casino. During the next thirty years venues like Paradise Club and the El Morocco featured top African American entertainers. Including Sarah Vaughan, Jackie Wilson, and the Four Tops. Idlewild's club scene declined during the 1960's, in part because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provided equal access to employment and public places and expanded opportunities for black entertainers and audiences alike. The Flamingo closed by 1968.

Idlewild was founded in 1912. During this period, a small yet clearly distinguishable African American middle class – largely composed of professionals and small business owners – had been established in many urban centers, including several in the American Midwest. Despite having the financial means for leisure travel, racial segregation prevented them from recreational pursuits in most resort destinations in the region.

Idlewild is a vacation and retirement community in Yates Township, located just east of Baldwin in in southeast Lake County, a rural part of northwestern lower Michigan. During the first half of the 20th century, it was one of the few resorts in the country where African-Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property, before such discrimination became illegal in 1964. It surrounds Idlewild Lake, and the headwaters of the Pere Marquette River run through the area. Much of the surrounding area is within Manistee National Forest.

Idlewild gained national stature among African Americans during the period between the World Wars. For example, the Idlewild Land Owners Association had members from over thirty-four states in the country. In addition, the Purple Palace, Paradise Clubhouse, Idlewild Clubhouse, Rosanna Tavern, and Pearl's Bar provided summer entertainment for tourists and employment opportunities for seasonal and year-round residents in the community. The Pere Marquette Railroad built a branch line to the area by 1923. A post office opened that same year. The Idlewild Fire Department was established, and a host of new entrepreneurs began entering the community. Paradise Palace became McKnight's Convalescent Home.

Following World War II, Idlewild attracted what some sociologists have labeled the new African American "working" middle class. With the construction of a few paved roads in Idlewild, a reinvestment in the township's only post office, and greater availability of electricity, a new generation of entrepreneurs began to invest in Idlewild. Phil Giles, Arthur "Big Daddy" Braggs, and a host of other African American businessmen and women took advantage of the market by purchasing property on Williams Island and Paradise Gardens, and began developing these areas into an elaborate nightspot and business center. The cottage started by Albert Cleage in the 1940s was expanded by his sons Louis, Hugh, and Henry.

Many African American entertainers of the period performed in Idlewild. Della Reese, Al Hibbler, Bill Doggett, Jackie Wilson, T-Bone Walker, George Kirby, The Four Tops, Roy Hamilton, Brook Benton, Choker Campbell, Lottie "the Body" Graves, the Rhythm Kings, Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Fats Waller, and Billy Eckstein, and many other performers, entertained both Idlewilders and white citizens in neighboring Lake County townships throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. Arthur Braggs produced singers, dancers, showgirls, and entertainers, which helped Idlewild to become the "Summer Apollo of Michigan". Braggs produced the famous "Arthur Braggs Idlewild Revue" which not only performed in Idlewild but was also taken on the road to Montreal, Boston, Kansas City, Chicago, New York, and other cities. Braggs' show helped Idlewild become a major entertainment center and contributed to the financial prosperity of the area.

Decline and redevelopment efforts (1964 – present)

Following the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, business in Idlewild declined. Other vacation resorts were beginning to accommodate African American visitors, and with federal law requiring that they be accepted anywhere, African Americans began taking advantage of this opportunity. The national recession in the early 1970s further contributed to an economic downturn in Idlewild, which led to a population decline as local employment options dwindled. Idlewild became a lesser-known family vacation and retirement community, primarily attracting retirees who remembered it from its boom period.
— in Idlewild, Michigan
— at Historic Idlewild Resort.
— at Historic Idlewild Resort.
— at Idlewild Historic & Cultural Center.
— at Idlewild Historic & Cultural Center.

Paradise Valley "Hastings Street" Blackbottom Legacy

— at Charles Wright Museum of African-American History.

Thursday, 31. December 2020, Canada, A Journey Through The Black Wall Street District... History, Legacy, Connections And Memoirs

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