Historic marker pays tribute to Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood

Neighborhood demolished, replaced by Lafayette Park district and I-375

Historic marker pays tribute to Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood

DETROIT – The predominantly Black neighborhood of Black Bottom in Detroit was demolished in the late 1950s to 1960s, later replaced with the Lafayette Park residential district and Interstate 375.

More than half a century after its demise, the neighborhood’s rich history has been immortalized with a new historical marker.

Read: Remembering Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood

“Every long-time family in the city has heard from their parents about Black Bottom, about Paradise Valley, about the history of this city and their family. So much of what we have today came this area,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.

Duggan and other city and community leaders unveiled the dedication early Monday morning, honoring the community that lived here decades ago.

“The people were very rich. My grandmother lived in Black Bottom during that time,” said Ray Smith, Black Bottom Group president.

The dedication was made possible by the Michigan Historical Marker Program and will be a new milestone in the transition that former Black Bottom resident Willie McLemore has seen over the years.

“We’ve come a long way. But I’m glad to see all of ya’ll down here. This place was a beautiful place at one time ... Color didn’t mean nothing,” McLemore said.

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About the Author:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.