WMU's Benjamin Wilson on African American history in rural Michigan

Feb 21, 2017

Throughout Michigan's history, the state's African American population is often portrayed as an urban population... but that depiction overlooks a part of Michigan’s history.



Many Blacks settled in rural areas, before and after the Civil War. In 1960, Cass County was home to over 15-hundred blacks, surprisingly that’s just under the number of African American’s found in Wayne county at the time.

Dr. Benjamin Wilson is an emeritus professor of history at Western Michigan University. He's the author of the book  “Black Eden: The Idlewild community” and an expert in Black rural history. Dr. Wilson sat down with Current State’s Emanuele Berry to explain to her why a native Floridian took interest in Michigan's rural African American heritage.