Rainbow after the Storm in Detroit
Starting in 1910, many African Americans left the south and moved into northern states like Detroit. Although they were trying to run away from the racist south, they were still forced into smaller districts because they were denied equal access to the same housing as whites. This became some of the first geographic divisions between races. This is an issue that black people still face today. This movement of black continued during the Great Depression as well. After this, blacks in Detroit faced the Housing crisis where housing for blacks were built in underdeveloped areas. Then came the Detroit Riots where frustrated blacks rebelled against whites and the police department who were treating them unfairly. Through all of these socioeconomic hardships, one thing that kept black people together was music.
After the great migration, Jazz music was brought from New Orleans into Detroit. They performed in big ballrooms, small cabaret bands and small clubs. Some very important event spaces for African Americans in Detroit were Paradise Valley, The Plantation and the Chocolate Bar. These places were black owned and permitted others to have somewhere to enjoy jazz music. After the Jazz scene came the blues scene. Artists like John Lee Hooker moved to Detroit to work in a factory.
Around this time is when record labels started to emerge. Motown records was founded by Berry Gordy in 1959. Motown records and other labels helped with the progressions and success of African American Music.Gospel Music was also very prevalent in Detroit. The Winans from Detroit are also known as first family of gospel. The Clark Sisters, Thomas Whitfield, and Vanessa Armstrong are all examples of successful Gospel Singers that came from Detroit. Detroit is also where techno music was founded
The Great Migration caused Detroit to become a melting pot of all genres of music like jazz, swing, blues, gospel, techno and rap. Despite their struggles, African Americans were able to make the best of their situation and proved to be very influential in our music history.