In the next installment of Detroit Today’s miniseries, Reckoning 375, we explore what I-375’s reimagining would look like if the needs and concerns of Black Detroiters were placed at the center of the city’s redevelopment plans — especially those who are descendants of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, the two majority-Black neighborhoods that were destroyed in the 1950s and ’60s to make way for the construction of the freeway.
Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson was joined Friday by Anika Goss, CEO of Detroit Future City, and Marcia Black, the executive director of Black Bottom Archives, to discuss the importance of reparative investment and centering Black perspectives in the area.
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Anika Goss is the CEO of Detroit Future City, a local think tank. She says reparative investment and the opportunity to restore wealth needs to be at the center of the city’s redevelopment plans.
“There is wealth to be created here. Someone is going to get paid, to be clear. I want us to make sure that at every step of the way, that there is an opportunity for Black people, for descendants of Black Bottom, to benefit,” she said.
Marcia Black is the executive director of Black Bottom Archives, a community-driven media platform dedicated to centering and amplifying the voices, experiences, and perspectives of Black Detroiters. When she attended MDOT meetings for the project, she noted a lack of voices from those affected by the destruction of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley.
“When we looked around the room, there was nobody who lived there, or who worked there who could speak to that history,” says Black. “And as a community archive, like that felt like a really important gap.”
Editor’s note: Black Bottom Archives is seeking input from Black Detroiters with stories and memories to share about Black Bottom and Paradise Valley. All storytellers will receive a $100 honorarium for sharing their time and expertise. For more information, visit bit.ly/bbastoryteller.
Listen to Detroit Today with host Stephen Henderson weekdays from 9-10 a.m. ET on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand.