Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan (MI) (Images of America)

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Press:Arcadia Publishing Arcadia Publishing (August 11, 2001)
Publication Date:2001-09-01
Author Name:Ronald J. Stephens


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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Comment List (Total:6)

  •     all good ,thank you
  •     This book is an exceptional and accurate account of historical Idlewild. Although it is slightly slanted based on the authors assessibility to information (a wide variety from one or two sources) they are execellent sources. Having grown up in Idlewild on Idlewild lake and gone to the local schools from pre-school through high school, I would recommend this book for any scholar or novice who is interested in the development of Black America in small towns; the rise and fall of the Black entertainment industry; and Black resort towns and Black Ghost towns.
  •     Too few people know about this gem in the history of Michigan and of the U.S.A. Wonderful old photos and excellent information. This should be required reading in Afro-American history classes.
  •     I have shared this title with others. It is an eye opener to those who have no idea of the positive aspects of Black history.
  •     Having come from this area of west Michigan, Idlewild has always intrigued me. Stephens' book is the definitive work so far, and is well documented and researched. The photos are priceless. I would recommend this book for any student of black America.
  •     This book captures a period in African American history where the racial divide encouraged and promoted economic development and racial pride. Pinkney Roberts Webster the "fashion plate Emcee" shared hist stories of appearing here year after year. Glad that this story has been captured and that others will know our rich story!

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