Category Archives: Civil Rights/Freedom Movement

Some examples of the conditions for blacks in Grand Rapids and what types of discrimination blacks faced on a daily basis in the early part of the 20th Century

Over the past month, we have been posting articles based on archives from the Grand Rapids Public Library of Paul I. Phillips. In January, we posted a piece from a document by Phillips, where he lists all of the black … Continue reading

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“Maybe America has forgotten how smoke smells”: The state of Black Grand Rapids from the perspective of Paul I Phillips in the mid-1970s

(As always, we are grateful for the assistance of the staff at the Grand Rapids Public Library, particularly those on 4th floor.) Our last post referred to a document from former Urban League members Paul I Phillips, where he documented … Continue reading

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African Americans from Grand Rapids who were part of the US Civil War

(As always, we are grateful for the assistance of the staff at the Grand Rapids Public Library, particularly those on 4th floor.) In reading the book, African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids … Continue reading

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1970 document sheds light on the housing crisis in Grand Rapids and the lack of political will to solve it

We came across a document at the Grand Rapids Library recent, a document that is included in the William M. Glenn Papers. William Glen was involved with the Grand Rapids Urban League and he also was part of the Housing … Continue reading

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56 years ago what did the GR Press report on Malcolm X’s suspension from the Nation of Islam over comments on President Kennedy’s death?

Fifty six year ago, Malcolm X made comments about President Kennedy’s assassination, comments which got him suspended by Elijah Mohammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam. Here on the right, you can read what the Grand Rapids Press ran, … Continue reading

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New Print focuses on the Immigrant Justice Movement in Grand Rapids

GVSU student Bailey Becksvoort has created a wonderful print that reflects the power of the immigrant justice movement in Grand Rapids. The print, depicts immigrants with signs in Spanish that say, Families Deserve to be United! The text that accompanies … Continue reading

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New artwork looks at the 1967 Riot in Grand Rapids

We have made nearly a dozen posts about the 1967 riot in Grand Rapids in the past several years. Some of these posts have focused on media coverage of the riot, some on internal documents and some of the posts … Continue reading

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2006 Immigration March was the largest in Grand Rapids History

(On March 26, 2006, I was writing for Media Mouse and reported on an immigrant-led march that was a response to proposed anti-Immigration legislation that year. What follows is what I wrote and a brief analysis of the Grand Rapids … Continue reading

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Print Celebrates 1960s Freedom Rider from Grand Rapids, Walter Bergman

Over two years ago, we posted an article about Walter Bergman, a university professor from Michigan, who was badly beaten while participating in the Freedom Rides in 1960. In that article we honored the commitment and sacrifice that Dr. Bergman … Continue reading

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The Black Community made demands of the Grand Rapids Police Department in 1970

There is ample evidence that African Americans in Grand Rapids have always been the target of intimidation, harassment and violence from law enforcement. This history plagues the black community today, with recent incidents of police traumatizing black youth who were … Continue reading

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