Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

A Meeting Place for Ann Arbor's Black Community

 
 
A Meeting Place for Ann Arbor's Black Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 30, 2020
1. A Meeting Place for Ann Arbor's Black Community Marker
Inscription.  
In 1921 the Colored Welfare League bought the Kayser Block on North Fourth Ave. (above right) and used it as a center to help settle black workers who migrated to Ann Arbor in the 1920s. It gradually became an African American community center and a gathering place for social and fraternal groups. It was also used for commercial undertakings and as a residence.

The Greek Revival building on the northwest corner of Ann St. and Fourth Ave. (above center) was Ann Arbor's fourth post office from 1841 to 1853. Early abolitionist meetings were held on the second floor. It later served as a flour and seed store, a bakery, and a confectionery before being demolished in 1930 to make way for a gas station.

Upper image caption:
3 — The corner of Ann St. & Fourth Ave. with a Greek Revival building on Ann St. and a Colored Welfare League sign on the Kayser Block, ca. 1930

Upper image inset caption:
Reverend Ralph M. Gilbert, pastor of the Second Baptist Church, founded the Dunbar Center in 1923.

Lower image caption:
Built in 1899, the Kayser Block was used as a hotel
A Meeting Place for Ann Arbor's Black Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 30, 2020
2. A Meeting Place for Ann Arbor's Black Community Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
through World War I, often with black management. Used by the Colored Welfare League, it was the first home for the Dunbar Center (1923-26), which later evolved into the Ann Arbor Community Center on Main St. John Ragland, a 1938 U-M Law grad active in the NAACP, was a lawyer for the Colored Welfare League. He had his office on the second floor. For a time, he was the only African American attorney in town. Washtenaw County's first black attorney was U-M grad John Fox, who began practicing in Ypsilanti in 1878—the year the new courthouse opened.

Sponsored by Rosemarion Blake

Photos courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library and the Ann Arbor Community Center
 
Erected by Ann Arbor Historical Foundation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1921.
 
Location. 42° 16.936′ N, 83° 44.895′ W. Marker is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Marker is at the intersection of East Ann Street and North Main Street, on the right when traveling east on East Ann Street. Marker is on the northwest corner of the Washtenaw County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 East Huron Street, Ann Arbor MI 48104, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Changing Face of North Fourth Avenue (here, next to this marker);
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
A Former Bank and Estate on Ann Street (here, next to this marker); Commerce on the "Ann Street Block" (here, next to this marker); A Corner Landmark on Huron and North Fourth (here, next to this marker); The Streets Around Courthouse Square (here, next to this marker); Shopping on East Huron Street (here, next to this marker); Main Street in the 1890s (here, next to this marker); Centers for Communications on Courthouse Square (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ann Arbor.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 19, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 19, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 19, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.

Share This Page.  
Share on Tumblr
m=171335

Paid Advertisement
May. 14, 2021