Hamtramck completes housing for families displaced by I-75 construction in the 1960s

The settlement agreement called for 200 homes to be built and given to the affected families.

Dwydell Garrett poses in front of a WDET logo.

Dwydell Garrett

A class action lawsuit filed in 1968 against Hamtramck for displacing a Black neighborhood for the construction of the I-75 freeway was finally closed last month. The homes for about 100 families were destroyed to make way for the highway.

The settlement agreement called for 200 homes to be built and given to those families. However, because of Hamtramck’s financial troubles, construction for those homes took years to start. The last of the homes were completed this year — 56 years after the lawsuit was filed.

Many of the former residents have passed away, unable to see the settlement come to an end. The homes were then given away to those residents’ descendants.

Dwydell Garrett is one of them. The now 59-year-old was only 4 years old when his mother, Sarah Sims Garrett, was told they had to move.

He was notified in 1999 by the attorney working on the class action who reached out to him looking for his mother. When told Sarah had passed, Garrett said the attorney agreed to make sure he’d follow through with the suit.

He moved into the new home in 2001.

The city of Hamtramck dedicated a park by the freeway to his mother. There will be a celebration on May 19.

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  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.