Black History Month Walking Tour
Historically, a myriad of cultural influences shaped our city then – and are what make Grand Rapids unique today. We are home to people of every race, color, religion, lifestyle, gender, age, marital status, handicap, socio-economic status and national origin. Each group has indelibly contributed to the evolution of individual neighborhoods, the whole city, and this West Michigan region. Today, our living kaleidoscope is a vibrant, intensely colorful and rich community that thrives upon collaboration while honoring diversity.
Few African Americans came to West Michigan until after the Civil War, fleeing Jim Crow discrimination in the southern states. Even then, the numbers were relatively small. It wasn’t until the Great Migration from the rural south, in the years between World Wars I and II, that our African-American population swelled.
This tour is meant to serve as a short summary of some select historical highlights.