CSD Ride Out: Welcome To Idlewild, Michigan

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The Streets of Idlewild

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How big was Idlewild? “By the 1950s and early 1960s, Idlewild reached the height of its popularity. During those years nearly 25,000 vacationers made their way to the community, temporarily overwhelmingly the permanent year-round population. During this era Idlewild boasted more than 300 black-owned businesses.” – Blackpast.org

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Looking forward to The Comeback!

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“Morton’s has been home to music greats such as Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops and Della Reese. Our comfortable, recently renovated guest rooms – some with kitchenettes – Great Room with adjoining large kitchen and cable TV, outdoor open space dotted with lawn chairs, picnic courtyard with umbrella tables and canopied patio are some of our attractions. We provide a warm, inviting place…”- http://www.michigan.org/property/morton-s-motel/

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“While the clubs attracted black patrons, they were often examples of interracial mingling. As one Idlewild resident recalled, the clubs filled to capacity every night, and on some nights, “there were more white people in there than blacks. It wasn’t about race, it was about fun…
Idlewild, like other all-black resorts, would not survive the civil rights movement. As formerly white-only clubs and resorts across the nation integrated in the late 1960s, Idlewild went into decline. Its clubs and hotels closed as blacks began to frequent other resorts.” –blackpast.org

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“Judith Griffin now lives in New Jersey, but her family would drive from Chicago to Idlewild resort in Michigan every summer. Griffin recalls one trip where her father—one of the few black gastroenterologists at that time—pulled over to save the lives of motorists in a very bad accident. ..Because of discrimination, families like Griffin’s were forced to use what was called “The Green Book.” It was a directory of stops that would serve African Americans on the road.” –http://wmuk.org/post/black-travel-during-jim-crow-illustrated-green-book

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