A look at Detroit’s lesser-known historical sites

DETROIT – Local 4 is celebrating Black History Month by taking you on a tour of Detroit’s historical sites that you probably don’t know about.

Some sites span generations, ranging from historic churches to the home of Detroit techno.

The locations on the map below range from east to west, north and south in Detroit, and they deserve some exposure.

Local 4 is celebrating Black History Month by taking you on a tour of Detroit’s historical sites that you probably don’t know about. (WDIV)

Regarding African American history in Detroit, King Solomon Baptist Church is one of more than a dozen lesser-known places of importance.

We spent part of Wednesday (Feb. 21) taking a closer look at the people and places that have helped shape the city we know today.

“They’re not escaping on the underground railroad, but they’re escaping the black holes for free Black people,” said Detroit historian Jamon Jordan.

Jordan was talking about Fannie Richards at the site of her former home in what used to be “Black Bottom” neighborhoods.

Richards moved to Detroit from Virginia as a child, and she was well-traveled and educated as she became an educator who taught in one of two segregated schools.

“She immediately realized the schools are unequal,” Jordan said. “This is not really a school as they don’t have the resources that schools should have like books, supplies, paper, desks, chalkboard.”

Local 4 is celebrating Black History Month by taking you on a tour of Detroit’s historical sites that you probably don’t know about. (WDIV)

Richards led a lawsuit against the city for its segregated schools, and in 1869, which was 85 years before Brown v the Board of Education,

She won after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.

“She teaches at the first integrated school public school in the city of Detroit,” Jordan said.

There are places of historical significance for African Americans throughout the city, like Washington Boulevard, where the Westin sits, was once home to an independent African American newspaper called the Detroit Plaindealer.

Local 4 is celebrating Black History Month by taking you on a tour of Detroit’s historical sites that you probably don’t know about. (WDIV)

The Plaindealer focused on civil rights issues of its time and published its first paper in May of 1863.

“Equal schools, fighting for jobs to be open to African Americans, public places that are discriminating against African Americans, and these are the issues being written about in the Detroit Plaindealer,” Jordan said.

Several important events occurred at King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church, like when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X spoke at the once mega-church during its time.

The church was also home to the premier act of Motown Records in the 1960s in The Supremes, and it was a site for the first Black Boy Scouts Troop for Detroiters.

Local 4 is celebrating Black History Month by taking you on a tour of Detroit’s historical sites that you probably don’t know about. (WDIV)

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