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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.  

headshot of brenda lawrence in red blazer
Office of Congresswoman Brenda L. Lawrence

 

 

Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. For many years, Detroit Congressman John Conyers used the occasion to introduce a proposal for reparations for slavery. 

 

Democratic Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, who represents Michigan's 14th congressional district, is carrying on that tradition.

Topographic map of the counties of Ingham & Livingston, Michigan
Library of Congress

 

Lynching is one of this country's darkest legacies. It claimed the lives of thousands of black Americans, particularly in the South. But the South wasn't the only place where mobs of white people brutally murdered black citizens. In the wake of the Civil War, Michigan saw three lynchings of African-American men by white mobs.

Adam Crosswhite
Michigan Center

 


In the 1840s, a black family fleeing slavery found refuge in Marshall, Michigan. Only a few years later, after settling into their new home, relatives of their former owners arrived to capture and return them to Kentucky. 

But the town of Marshall, including the sheriff and prominent white and black citizens, stepped in to protect the family. 

This week marks 160 years since Giltner v. Gorham, the case between the Kentucky slave owner Francis Giltner and the citizens of Marshall he sued for their successful efforts to shield the escaped family. 

jbdodane / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Researchers at Michigan State University are gathering every scrap of information they can to develop a huge database on the African slave trade throughout the centuries. The project is called Enslaved.

A new book from Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley is a compilation of essays examining the lasting legacy of slavery
Courtesy of Wayne State University Press

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley joined Stateside today and read from her new book The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery.

Picture of Michigan State University marker on campus
Michigan State University

Michigan State University wants people to have a more comprehensive understanding on the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

It will use nearly $1.5 million to build a database designed to give details about the lives of enslaved people.

MSU will use $1.47 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to put together an online database that will combine data MSU already has with information from other databases regarding the slave trade.