This past semester, art students in Brett Colley’s class on printmaking, invited me to come talk about the Grand Rapids People’s History Project. The intent of the class was to have students investigate their own part of a People’s History of Grand Rapids and then make a print based upon an individual, social movement or a particular moment in history.
What we will be sharing from here on out over the next several weeks, are the result of what these students created, based on their own investigation or based on previous posting from the Grand Rapids People’s History Project. We are excited to have these newly created visuals to compliment the rich history of social movements from the resistance to white settler colonialism all the way up to the present.
The seventh print we feature is from Jasmine Bruce. This print was inspired by the organized actions from a group of African Americans in the early 1960s to purchase land for a housing development project. This action was a direct response to the racist practice of Red-Lining that took place in Grand Rapids and all across the country.
Todd, Robinson, in his seminal book on Grand Rapids, A City Within a City: The Black Freedom Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan, writes about the importance of what happened with the Auburn Hills housing project in the early 1960s.
“The initiative by the four men boldly defied the dominance of segregated suburban space and facilitated the passage of the Fair Housing Ordinance on December 23, 1963. Their efforts represented one example of a stable integrated suburban neighborhood in Grand Rapids.”