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Moving Day: 1942

Moving Day: 1942

February 1942. Detroit, Michigan. "Riot at the Sojourner Truth Homes, a new U.S. federal housing project, caused by white neighbors' attempt to prevent Negro tenants from moving in. Moving vans convoyed by police department moving Negroes' furniture." Photo by Arthur Siegel. View full size.


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Atchison Moving Company

Atchison Moving Company (active into the 1980s) was an African-American business founded by Arreather Ray Atchison (1903-1989). Mr. Atchison invented a decorative television set-top antenna in 1949 (it looked like a sailing ship with a clock in its side). Arreather’s son, Leon H Atchison, became the first African American to be honored by Wayne State University (WSU) with the naming of a campus building – Leon H Atchison Hall (formerly South Hall). Among many achievements, Leon Atchison served as administrative assistant to Congressman John Conyers, served in the administration of Mayor Coleman Young (first as director of purchasing, later taking charge of the recreation department). He served multiple terms on the Board of Governors at WSU.

Just up the street

Michigan State Troops in full dress set up camp in an empty field on Nevada Street across from the Sojourner Truth Housing projects on "moving day." Over 1,400 State and Detroit police and 1,000 Michigan State Troops were brought in to protect the 200 African American families set to move into the war housing projects and Fenkell and Nevada. Detroit News Photo

Same spot 71 years later

East Nevada at Ryan Road looking west ... the white house with the shed roof dormer is still there as is the plant on the left side of the photo (considerably altered now)


Context for the riots here.

1,100 city and state police officers and 1,600 members of Michigan National Guard were mobilized and sent to the area around Nevada and Fenelon to guard six African-American families who moved into the Sojourner Truth Homes.

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