The Historical Society of Greater Lansing will conduct a walking tour of Lansing’s near west side 7 p.m., Thursday, August 6 focusing on sites reflecting African American life before desegregation.
Sites include the Lincoln School, the Dungey Subdivision, the Moon House, Union Missionary Baptist Church and I-496 and the neighborhoods representing the color-line.
The Dungey Subdivision encompasses Huron, Kalamazoo, Hillsdale and Martin Luther King and is named after Andrew and Ray Dungey who developed the first subdivision by African Americans in 1915.
The Lincoln Elementary/Community Center was located at 1023 William Street (corner of William and Logan). The school was torn down in the mid-1960s. Students at the school were almost entirely African American.
The Darius Moon House at 213 Huron Street is being recognized because Moon employed African American tradespeople including William Allen, a mason, and William Prute, a carpenter.
The Union Missionary Church, 500 S. Martin Luther King, which dates to 1909 is one of several churches in the area which were predominately African American. The site on Martin Luther King is the church’s third building with the first two located at 1024 W. Hillsdale.
Also the significance of Lansing’s “Color-Line” will be explored. The line which stretched from Butler Street west to Westmoreland St.; south to the Grand River and north to W. St Joseph by construct became the neighborhood where African Americans were expected to live prior to desegregation in the 1960s.
The tour also will explore the impact that the construction of I-496 in the mid-1960s had on the predominately African American neighborhood including the displacement of hundreds of African American families. Nearly 900 homes and commercial buildings were torn down for construction of I-496 which bisected Lansing’s African American neighborhoods.
"As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Right movements, and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, it's important for our community to reflect on the historical challenges faced by African-Americans in our own city. It's also a chance to remember a very vibrant community, where people lived, learned, laughed, and worshiped,” said Valerie Marvin, president of the Historical Society.
The tour will meet at the Union Missionary Baptist Church parking lot at 500 S. MLK. The parking lot is to the south of the church. The tour is free.