Paradise Valley was home to Green Book clubs
Paradise Valley nightclubs — known for hosting music legends like Duke Ellington and fostering Black entrepreneurship in Detroit — were among the city's many Green Book establishments.
Why it matters: The destruction of Paradise Valley decades ago in the name of urban renewal upsets Detroiters to this day.
- Government officials are still attempting to rectify the business district's dismantling, this time as part of the ongoing I-375 transformation project.
Catch up quick: Green Book travel guides printed between 1936-1966 listed businesses Black travelers could safely visit during the Jim Crow era.
State of play: Green Book places in Paradise Valley had names like 606 Horseshoe Lounge, Club Congo and Club 666, MSU Map Library research shows. They hosted musicians, dancers, comedians and other entertainers.
- 606 Horseshoe Lounge was among the district's last remnants when it was demolished more than 20 years ago to make way for Ford Field, according to the Free Press.
- In fact, most of Paradise Valley was within the current footprint of Comerica Park and Ford Field, local journalist and historian Ken Coleman tells Axios. Both venues were built with heavy public subsidies.
What they're saying: Downtown's current resurgence would include more ties to the history and culture of Paradise Valley had it not been destroyed, city historian Jamon Jordan tells Axios.
- "What would this look like in the 2020s if those Black-owned businesses had been allowed to operate?" he said. "We will never know because their evolution was stunted by urban renewal."
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