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Detroit’s Black History

To mark Black History Month, The Michigan Citizen reached into its photo archives to repost a variety of events that tell some of Detroit’s recent history. We encourage readers who can add to the narrative of any of the photos to please do so by submitting comments to

Business, church and civic leaders gathered to help eastsider Congresswoman Barbara Rose Collins (seated, right) raise money for another term. Also seated: Helen Wright, E&H Printing on Livernois and Mayor Coleman Alexander Young. Standing (left to right): Paul Taylor, Inner City Sub Center; Marie Jackson, Sleepy Hollow Day Care; Rev. Jim Holley, pastor, Little Rock Baptist; and Don Barden, Barden Cable Company.

Artist Bennie White examines the mural of Malice Green he painted on West Warren Avenue.Green died while in police custody after being arrested by Detroit police officers Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers on Nov. 5, 1992 during a traffic stop. Both officers were later convicted for Green’s death.The official cause of death was ruled due to blunt force trauma to his head. Green allegedly failed to relinquish a vial of crack cocaine. Nevers struck Green in the head with his flashlight approximately 14 times during the struggle which, according to the official autopsy, resulted in his death. Two young assistant prosecutors, Kym Worthy and Jeffrey Collins, successfully prosecuted the two officers. DALE RICH PHOTO

Belle Thompson (right), Highland Park’s longtime council secretary, on the steps of the enclave’s police department, a building now gone. Thompson later ran successfully for council.

As the marquee of the Fine Arts Theater, 2952 Woodward, advertises, owner Gwen Washington opened the doors of the building to community activists weekly in the late 1990s. Mayor Dennis Archer sent in the police to close the facility one Friday night during an Ahmad Jamal concert and launched a court case to keep it closed and activists at bay.

LEFT: Activists forever, Michigan Welfare Rights organizers Marian Kramer (left) and Maureen Taylor with an unidentified youth prepare to board a bus and be on their way to champion social and economic justice as they continue to do today; RIGHT: Mama Malkia Brantuo was one of over 300 protestors who turned out in May, 1996 to show support for JoAnn Watson, morning radio talk show host and current Councilwoman. Watson had been broadcasting her 6-9 a.m. drive time show for three years and the station was trying to replace her with Cliff Russell, former press aide to Mayor Dennis Archer. Watson’s show kicked off a morning of progressive news, commentary and analysis followed by Tom Pope. WANDA ROQUEMORE PHOTO

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