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.
Ann Arbor News, June 16, 1947
THREE CHILDREN HURT IN PARKED CAR: Kenneth, 3, and Herbert, 5 - sons of Dunbar Center director Douglas Williams - and Jackie Taylor, 7, of 114 E. Kingsley St., suffered minor cuts and bruises when the above car, in which they were sitting, was knocked through the plate-glass window of Sadie's Beauty Shop by another machine that went out of control in the 200 block of N. Fourth Ave. this morning. The other automobile, being driven the wrong way down the one-way street by Jack A. Predovich, 26, a disabled war veteran, hit two other vehicles and burst into flames after knocking down a gasoline pump at the Abbott Gasoline station, N. Fourth and Ann. The driver was only slightly injured.
The Dunbar Center--also known at various times at the Dunbar Civic Center and the Dunbar Community Center--was a social and social services organization for Ann Arbor's Black community in the mid-twentieth century. It was the direct precursor to the Ann Arbor Community Center. Along with the Bethel AME Church and the Second Baptist Church, the Dunbar Center was a major hub of social life for the Black community during this period.