southwest michigan black heritage society

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Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society

Twelve years ago, Donna Odom's work at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum led her to form the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society to bring light to African- American history in the region. But soon it was clear that her new group was developing another calling: Racial healing. So now it's officially amending its name and mission statement at a public event on Wednesday, June 17th.


The voice of youth is often overlooked in discussions about race relations, say representatives from several Kalamazoo organizations. That's why they're hosting two separate events over the next couple of days, starting with the Kalamazoo Youth Summit on Racism on Saturday. The next program is the Youth Lives Matter Community Forum on Monday. The hope is not only to let young people share their experiences but to offer solutions.

Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

Some of the greatest African American musicians of our time performed during racial segregation—artists like Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, and The Supremes. But if you were black, you weren’t allowed in the venue down the street. You had to go to Idlewild resort about thirty minutes northwest of Big Rapids.