Category Archives: Civil Rights/Freedom Movement

High rent and overcrowding was a potential threat of “slum development” for blacks in a 1947 Grand Rapids Urban League study

We would like to thank the staff at the Grand Rapids Public Library in their History and Special Collections sections for assisting us in find the documents needed for this post. Three weeks ago we posted an article about a … Continue reading

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State of the Black Community in Grand Rapids – 1940

n 1940, the Urban League conducted a survey of the black community in Grand Rapids . The survey revealed some interesting trends and dynamics and can be instructive for those of us who want to learn from history. The report … Continue reading

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W. E. B. Du Bois spoke in Grand Rapids two times in the early part of the 20th Century

The great African American intellectual and author W. E. B. Du Bois came to Grand Rapids on two separate occasions, first in 1917 and later in 1928. On his first visit in 1917, he spoke to the Sunday Evening Club … Continue reading

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Housing Segregation as Systemic Racism in Grand Rapids: The Early 20th Century

(The post today was referenced in the book, African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids, by Randal Jelks, for which we are grateful.) One of the most contentious issues as it relates to … Continue reading

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Booker T. Washington and White Paternalism in Grand Rapids in the early part of the 20th Century

(The post today was referenced in the book, African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids, by Randal Jelks, for which we are grateful.) In our last post we looked at how Grand Rapids … Continue reading

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19th Century Newspapers in Grand Rapids on the Question of Black Suffrage

(The post today was referenced in the book, African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids, by Randal Jelks, for which we are grateful.) Grand Rapids used to have numerous daily newspapers, up until … Continue reading

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Cops, Property and the White Gaze: Photos from the 1967 Riot in Grand Rapids

Last week we posted a transcript, along with images, from a few archived stories from WOOD TV8 that we found at the Grand Rapids Public Library from the 1967 riot in Grand Rapids.  In today’s post, we wanted to share … Continue reading

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