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Idlewild Michigan History

needmorecashneedmorecash Members Posts: 253
edited July 2011 in R & R (Religion and Race)
somebody sent this to me on fb. thouhgt it was interesting.
same idlewood as the outkast movie?

"Idlewild, Michigan"(1912-
Once described as a "Black Eden."Idlewild,Michigan was one of few resorts in the United States where African Americans could vacation and purchase vacation properties in the first half of the 20th century.Located in Lake County nearly 300 miles northeast of Detroit,Idlewild was a planned community for the growing African American middle class gradually developing in urban centers across the United States.This population wanted opportunities for outdoor recreation preferably in a setting far removed from the segregation and discrimination found in most major American cities at the time.Ironically the idlewild Resort Company (IRC) was founded in 1912 by Erastus Branch and his wife along with three other white couples who saw an opportunity to design a resort community to attract African Americans professionals from across the Midwest.One year later the IRC organized its first tours specifically targeting these middle class professionals,inviting them to tour the area and selling them lots.Prominent individuals quickly began to buy in idlewild;Dr.Daniel Hale Williams,Dr.W.B.D. Du Bois,Madam C.J. Walker and Charles Weddell Chestutt all purchased in Idlewild in its early years.Soon the IRC had sold the majority of the land and early owners formed the Idlewild Improvement Association (IIA) to help build a clubhouse and take over property sales.Tours continued,bringing prospective buyers in from Chicago, Detroit,Grand Rapids,St.Louis,and other Midwest cities.The Idlewild Land Owners Association,which replaced the IIA, eventually became of the largest black property owner groups in the United States.The growing influx of a largely seasonal population led entrepreneurs to open stores and other businesses and eventually a post office all owned and operated by African Americans.Just after World War II,Phil Giles,and Arthur "Big Daddy"Braggs built the Flamingo and Paradise nightclubs that attracted performers like Della Reese, Jackie Wilson, The Four Tops,Louis Armstrong,and Aretha Franklin.At its peak between 1953 &1963 Idlewild was the most popular resort in the Midwest attracting as many as 25,000 vistors from over 34 states in the height of the summer to enjoy all the amenities of an active outdoor lifestyle and night-life entertainment featuring the latest jazz,blues,soul,and Motown artists.After the passage of of the Civil Rights Act of of 1964 which outlawed segregation,African American vistors turned to the major holiday resort industry which was now opened to them. Then econmic recessions in the 1970s that hit the Midwest particularly hard hit also led to a decline in summer vistors.Today Idlewild is a retirement community rather than a vacation destination,populated by those who recall and enjoyed its more illustrious past as the "Black Eden."

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