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Ann Street Black Business District

For most of the twentieth century, the 100 block of East Ann Street was a hub for Black-owned businesses in downtown Ann Arbor. A rotating set of barber shops, shoe shine parlors, dry cleaners, restaurants, blues bars, and pool rooms formed the backbone of Black social life, especially for men. The district stretched around the corner onto North Fourth Avenue where the Colored Welfare League housed Black-owned businesses and community organizations such as the early Dunbar Center.

Man Stabbed At Restaurant

Man Stabbed At Restaurant image
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100 Block of E. Ann St., March 1954

100 Block of E. Ann St., March 1954 image
Published In
Ann Arbor News, November 30, 1953
WHAT CITY HALL WOULD REPLACE: This is the business block the proposed new city hall would replace if it is erected in the 100 block of E. Ann St. The welter of small stores and apartments on the second and third floors has been labeled a fire hazard by those seking passage of the city hall proposals on April 5. Out of sight at the right is the new Courthouse, now under construction. Mayor William E. Brown, jr., is leading the move to build a city hall on this site.
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AACHM Oral History: Willis Patterson

Sat, 09/21/2013 - 3:49pm

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

Dr. Willis Patterson is a professor emeritus of the University of Michigan of Music and founder of the Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale. Born in Ann Arbor in 1930, he attended Jones School and graduated from Ann Arbor High School. After serving in the air force, Patterson earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s of music degree from the University of Michigan. He received his doctorate from Wayne State University and was Fulbright Fellow. Patterson joined the University School of Music in 1968.