Driven And Pursued: Black Migrant Detroit An Analysis Of The Neighborhoods Black Bottom And Paradise Valley, 1916-1968

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History and Geography


Master of Arts

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Two majority black neighborhoods in Detroit, Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, located on the eastern side, became leading black migrant northern cultural communities. During the first half of the twentieth century they were safe havens in Detroit for newly migrated southern blacks, who experienced poor housing conditions and persistent neighborhood neglect. Although predominately black, these neighborhoods were also havens for European immigrants. These neighborhoods served as a port for newly migrated people to Detroit. This thesis argues that there was a distinct black perspective that emerged out of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley. The study will examine these neighborhoods while detailing the early beginnings, significance, and eventual demise. Through the poetry of Robert Hayden, music of Bessie Smith and John Lee Hooker; the cultural vitality of these neighborhoods will be analyzed.