Black Washtenaw County

September 1, 2021 – December 31, 2023

Black Washtenaw County: Histories of Racial Inequality, Segregation, and African-American Community Formation in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor is a community-engaged collaborative research project on the histories of racial segregation and African American community formation in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, Michigan. This project will document the role of policy-making, politics, the built environment, and community organizing in response to persistent residential segregation. It will also track racial disparities in economic status, education, housing, and health to which this segregation contributed. Finally, it will supplement the work of community historians to document how Black communities within the county responded to and were affected by racial segregation and inequality.

Team members include PI (Year 1) Jennifer Jones (Assistant Professor, History, and Women’s and Gender Studies); PI (Year 2) Claire Zimmerman (Associate Professor, History of Art / Architecture Program); Matthew Countryman (Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and History); Robert Goodspeed (Associate Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman College); Michael Steinberg (Professor of Practice, Law School), and Stephen Ward (Associate Professor, Afroamerican and African Studies and the Residential College).

Graduate student team members include Will Brodt (Law School), Laura Durand (Law School), So Yoon Ryu (History of Art), Matthew Carlos Stehney (History), and Bailey Sullivan (History of Art).

Image: Protest against housing discrimination at Pittsfield Village, Winter 1962. Protests ceased when the first African American tenant signed a lease, in August 1962. Photo courtesy of the Ann Arbor District Library.