On This Day: African-American Life in Detroit
Photo courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University
On this day in 1946, Mayor Edward J. Jeffries, Jr. unveils his ambitious yet controversial urban development model, which he calls "The Detroit Plan."
The city will acquire the southern section of the community known as Paradise Valley, which is about 100 acres of land, and prepare it for private investors. It will also include a portion of Black Bottom.
In addition to the area’s so-called “slum” and dilapidated housing, some of its popular black-owned and operated clubs during the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s include: the Club Three Sixes, El Sino, Pendennies, 606 Horse Shoe, B&C Club, Congo Lounge, Gay 90's Club, and the Royal Blue Bar. The redeveloped area will come to include modern day landmarks such as Greektown Casino, Blue Cross Blue Shield building, 36th District Court, Ford Field, Comerica Park, the Chrysler Freeway (I-375) and a section of the Lafayette Park residential community.
Several years later, the Black Bottom section of the lower east side will undergo similar redevelopment and will come to be known as Lafayette Park. Some will see the effect of these developments as "Negro removal" and the destruction of a vital African-American residential, commercial and cultural district.