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Men playing drums
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Residents and city officials in Grand Rapids came together Wednesday to celebrate Juneteenth.

Dickinson Buffer Park in Grand Rapids was full of kids running across the grass, tents with Pan-African flags and bracelets, and older residents sitting and laughing with their neighbors.  

two cars in a rear ending accident
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 


Today on Stateside, Governor Whitmer orders an audit of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association after it hikes the yearly fee on auto insurance policies by 15 percent. Plus, we explore two important pieces of our state's African-American history housed at the Library of Michigan.

picture of Dudley Randall working at a Typewriter
Bentley Historical Library

 


An original copy of a manual exploring African-American life in early 20th century Michigan. Poetry from African-American literati printed on one-page broadsides by a pioneering Detroit publishing house. These are two of the treasures of Michigan’s African-American history housed at the Library of Michigan. 

poster on a classroom wall
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

 

African proverbs and pictures of Harriet Tubman line the hallways at Paul Robeson/Malcolm X Academy in Detroit, one of Detroit’s few remaining schools that uses an African-centered curriculum.

Welia Dawson is teaching a sixth grade class about post-World War II America. Unlike most lessons about that time period that you might hear in a traditional public school, it’s focused on how black people were treated at the time.

pictures of the shoebox lunches served by Southfield restaurant Beans and Cornbread
Neil Master

When you hit the highway for a road trip, you probably don’t think twice about being able to find somewhere to eat when you get hungry.  

But for African-American families heading South during the Jim Crow era, restaurant options were slim to none. So when they had long train or car trips planned, women of the family would pack lunches into old shoeboxes.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Michigan connections

Jan 21, 2019
Martin Luther King Jr marching in Detroit
WALTER P. RUETHER LIBRARY / WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY

There will be lectures, marches, and celebrations across the state recognizing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today. The federal holiday marks King’s birthday, January 15th.

The nation celebrates it on the third Monday of January. This year, he would have been ninety years old.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some members of Detroit’s activist community are concerned about the future of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

They want more grassroots community representation on the museum’s board, and a voice in selecting its new permanent leader. They also object to a planned exhibition about life on Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation during Black History Month.

Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

Siwatu-Salama Ra is a young Detroit activist who was sentenced to two years in prison for brandishing a licensed and unloaded firearm in what she claims was an act of self-defense. Her conviction has raised questions about the nature of black gun ownership in the United States.