As part of Ann Arbor 200, the Ann Arbor District Library and 7 Cylinders Studio (7CS) have produced a documentary film about the closing of Ann Arbor's Jones School. In 1965, the Board of Education closed the majority-Black school. Ann Arbor joined a nationwide trend of school desegregation during the Civil Rights Era. But for these young students, the loss of a neighborhood school foreshadowed changes to their close-knit community. Gentrification came to Ann Arbor on the heels of desegregation.
In the making of this film, 7CS filmmakers and AADL archivists interviewed over thirty former Jones students and Black community leaders. They shared memories of Jones School and "The Old Neighborhood"—the areas now known as Kerrytown and Water Hill. A filmed walking tour, studio interviews, and historical photos form the core of the film. Run time is approximately 40 minutes.
The AADL Archives has many additional materials to explore relating to these topics, including a history of Jones School and dozens of Ann Arbor News articles that appear in the film:
William Hampton was born in 1948 in Tyler, Texas, and his grandmother was the midwife. He remembers attending church revival picnics, the Texas Rose Festival, and the Juneteenth parade in his hometown. While attending college in Arlington, Texas, he was active in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He went on to launch a Section 8 subsidized housing program in Arlington and in Ann Arbor, where he worked in the community development office. Mr. Hampton has been president of the Ann Arbor chapter of the NAACP since 2005.
Ann Arbor News, February 22, 1993
William Hampton, acting director of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, speaks about the problems of housing the elderly, physically disabled and mentally ill together in the same housing complexes. Hampton said many physically disabled and mentally ill people are younger, often have more guests and stay up later, which bothers the elderly residents.
Miguel Thornton With Visitors From Sister City, Hikone, Japan, At Hikone Housing Project, September 11, 1987 Photographer: Jim Jagdfeld
Ann Arbor News, September 11, 1987
Sign language - Residents of Ann Arbor's sister city, Hikone, Japan, will receive a sign just like the one held by Miguel Thornton. Japanese Hikone residents will be visiting the children from Ann Arbor's Hikone housing project.
Visitors From Sister City, Hikone, Japan, At Hikone Housing Project, September 11, 1987 Photographer: Jim Jagdfeld
Larry Hunter was born in 1951 and has lived in both Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. He’s worked in public service for years, served on Ann Arbor City Council, and earned a Juris Doctor degree in law in 2000. Larry recalls how he became politically active as a young man, organizing walkouts at his high school as a leader in the Black Student Union, as well as his involvement with the Black Panthers.