Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan

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Arcadia Publishing, 2001 - History - 128 pages
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Once considered the most famous African-American resort community in the country, Idlewild was referred to as the Black Eden of Michigan in the 1920s and '30s, and as the Summer Apollo of Michigan in the 1950s and '60s. Showcasing classy revues and interactive performances of some of the leading black entertainers of the period, Idlewild was an oasis in the shadows of legal segregation. Idlewild: Black Eden of Michigan focuses on this illustrative history, as well as the decline and the community's contemporary renaissance, in over 200 rare photographs. The lively legacy of Lela G. and Herman O. Wilson, and Paradise Path is included, featuring images of the Paradise Club and Wilson's Grocery. Idlewild continued its role as a distinctive American resort throughout the 1950s, with photographs ranging from Phil Giles' Flamingo Club and Arthur Braggs's Idlewild Revue.
 

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Contents

Acknowledgments
6
The Founding Years
13
Dr Dan and Williams Island
23
Idlewild Lot Owners Association
31
Religious Life and Services
37
The Wilson Legacy
47
The UNI A Depression Years and CCC Camp Number 1619
59
The Heyday Entertainment Era
65
The National Idlewitders Club Inc
95
Year Round Community Life
103
Economic Decline and Rebirth
119
Selected Bibliography and About the Author
128
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Author Ronald J. Stephens is an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 1995, he assisted Ted Talbert with his award-winning documentary, Idlewild: A Place in the Sun. He has done extensive field research in the community and maintains active memberships in the Lake County Merrymakers' Friends of Historic Idlewild, Mid-Michigan Idlewilders, and Idlewild Lot Owners' Association.

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