This engaging exhibition, presented by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, is composed of historic documents and photographs designed to provide an immersive experience for viewers. The exhibition focuses on the subject of housing discrimination and informs the viewer that where African Americans could live within the City of Detroit was dictated not by their will, but by fearful social pressures, blatant attacks from white society, and both legal and unlawful tactics designed to breed inferiority and separateness. As a result, two coexisting paradigms developed-racial exclusivity in white communities and racial inequality in African American communities.
To reveal the depth of this subject, several influential themes and historic events are featured: the migration of African Americans from the South between 1919 and 1950; education; employment; policy and law, racially restrictive covenants the Federal Housing Administration; local and national legal cases: Ossian Sweet, McGhee v. Sipes Shelley v Kraemer; and Hansberry v. Lee; Detroit’s earliest and most prominent African American communities: Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, the Old Westside, Eight Mile/Wyoming, Conant Gardens, and Sojourner Truth; the 1943 race riots and 1967 uprising; civil rights and Martin Luther King, Jr.
As residential segregation took shape and became entrenched within the city and suburbs, African Americans faced these challenges-undaunted-and left their indelible mark imprinted on the history of Detroit.