Facts about the history of the Black community in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
GR Black History Facts
Attorney Floyd Skinner was the owner of Club Indigo, Grand Rapids’ first Black nightclub
Floyd was also an influential force in Grand Rapids’ social scene. Along with John Shakelford, and Milo Brown, the three entrepreneurs banded together to secure Roma Hall located on the corner of Franklin and Division as the location for Club Indigo, the first Black nightclub in Grand Rapids.
Did You Know Dr. Robert W. Claytor was the Founder of the Grand Rapids Urban League?
His first office was above the Burkhead and Collins Drug Store at the southeast corner of Monroe Avenue and Michigan Street, which is now known as the Medical Mile. Dr. Claytor received privileges at Saint Mary’s Hospital shortly after his arrival, becoming the first hospital-employed Black physician in Grand Rapids.
Helen Jackson Claytor Is The True Social Justice Warrior Grand Rapids Needed
In 1949, Helen Jackson Claytor was the first black woman to be elected board president of the Grand Rapids YWCA. Three board members resigned in protest, reflecting the race relations Helen was dedicated to change.
Did You Know Paul I. Phillips Is Father of Grand Rapids Black History?
Paul I. Phillips became the first African American elected to public office in Grand Rapids, winning the election in 1951. He was also the first African American elected to the Grand Rapids Board of Education, serving from 1962 to 1970.
Hattie Beverly – The First Black Schoolteacher in Grand Rapids
Hattie Beverly was hired to teach at Congress Elementary School, becoming the first Black Schoolteacher here in Grand Rapids.
The First Organization for Black Women in Kent County – Grand Rapids Study Club
Grand Rapids Study Club is recognized as the first organization for Black women in Kent County.