National Park Service awards City of Detroit Historic Designation Advisory Board $40,000 grant for African American neighborhood project

National Park Service awards City of Detroit Historic Designation Advisory Board $40,000 grant for African American neighborhood project
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The National Park Service has awarded the City of Detroit Historic Designation Advisory Board a $40,000 Underrepresented Community Grant that will push its “Great Migration and Development of African American Neighborhoods in Detroit” project forward.

The Birwood Wall is a half-mile-long, six-foot-high concrete wall constructed in 1941 to separate the African American community in the Eight Mile – Wyoming area from the adjoining white neighborhood. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

“Great Migration and the Development of African American Neighborhoods” was one of 13 projects selected throughout the country. It will conduct an intensive-level architectural and historical survey of the Eight Mile – Wyoming area, a neighborhood in northwest Detroit that served as an early black enclave of home ownership, to document racial discrimination and the continued resistance of African American communities to marginalization.

Although annexed by the City of Detroit in 1925, the complete history of the area is undocumented and underrepresented and there are currently no National Register of Historic Places listings within the project boundaries.

“Together with our strong neighborhood partners in the Eight Mile – Wyoming area, this grant will help the city identify and nominate lesser-known historic properties,” says District 2 Council Member Roy McCalister, Jr. “Conducting this survey will help the City of Detroit preserve a significant slice of our history and culture while also planning for our future.”

Founded in 2014 to work towards diversifying the nominations submitted to the National Register of Historic Places, this is the first year the City of Detroit and State of Michigan have been awarded a federal grant through the program.

The Historic Designation Advisory Board is a nine-member body appointed by the Detroit City Council that advises the City Council on various historic preservation matters including requests for the designation of local historic districts, according to the City Charter and the State Local Historic District Enabling Act.

The Advisory Board generally meets on the second Thursday of each month at 4:00 PM in the Committee of the Whole Room on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. For more information, please click here.

For more information about the Underrepresented Community Grant Program, please click here.

Top photo of children by the wall courtesy of the Library of Congress

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