The history of Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood is a story of both triumph and tragedy. A thriving area composed of Black doctors, restaurants, grocers, churches, nightclubs, and more. It’s where Rev. C.L. Franklin opened his first church, and where his daughter Aretha Franklin recorded her first album.
Despite the flourishing neighborhood, Black Bottom was destroyed as a result of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. In 1964, the I-375 freeway officially opened, connecting I-75 to Jefferson Ave., making Black Bottom a community of Detroit’s past.
Now, local and state officials are looking to reimagine one of America’s shortest interstate highways.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced plans to demolish the controversial interstate and pave a new boulevard and business district for the one-mile stretch.
The $330 million project will create a six-lane boulevard that will include bike lanes, pedestrian paths, and green spaces.
While MDOT’s plans acknowledge the racial history of the I-375 construction, for some Detroiters it feels like a band-aid on a large wound.
“The damage has been done, that was a fount of potential wealth that is gone,” Music told NBC.
MDOT is currently waiting for federal approval to begin the project, which is projected to be completed by 2027 unless additional funding is received.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.