How to Use the Website

Visitors can explore the site through the menu at the top of the page.

Under ‘Project’ you will find a short history of the communityresources used in the research and a reading list.

Under ‘Households’ visitors will find the bulk of the site: a ‘snapshot’ of all of the African American households on South Adams Street as they were in 1900 with short biographies. Many of these households are connected to other households and to the activities of the community, often linked through the text. Descendants of these families still live in Ypsilanti and they are encouraged to send in information, photos, stories and corrections.

Under the ‘Society and Social Life’ menu visitors will find information on and images of the Good Samaritan HallBrown Chapel AME (with a subpage for newspaper articles) and Second Baptists (with a subpage for newspapers articles) Churches, the First Ward School ( and archive of newspaper articles)  and other aspects of social life. Don’t miss the sub-menu pages for photos of school children, the A.M.E Church stained glass windows commemorating valued parishioners and a 1915 directory of African American organizations in Michigan.

The menu ‘Contexts’ contains background and settings for the community, including a close look at the population of the street, a massive number of clippings detailing the life of the community from the late nineteenth century from both white and black papers,. A subsection, Passing On, presents over one hundred obituaries from the time, another looks at the Black-owned Detroit Tribune’s weekly Ypsilanti columns from the 1930s and 40s. Another collection is of Detroit Plaindealer’s coverage of Ypsilanti. A look at Canadian settlements and their centrality to the Ypsilanti story, the Civil War and the 102nd United States Colored Troops (with a subpages containing a list of Ypsilanti’s Civil War soldiers and a roll of honor of those who died and were wounded in service), and the annual Emancipation Day commemorations.

‘Maps’ contains a number of different maps, including an interactive Google map of the South Adams Street with pins connecting each of our subject households, birds eye viewsward maps, an interactive map looking at the homes, businesses and work of black Ypsilanti in 1910, and a map made from insurance charts showing details of many of the houses as they were at the time.

The Newspaper Archive tab takes the visitor to thousands of original, scanned newspaper articles from 1865 until 1920. The articles are divided into sections including Fires and Accidents, the Second Baptist ChurchFirst Ward SchoolDetroit Plaindealer, and Brown AME.the Second Baptist ChurchFirst Ward SchoolDetroit Plaindealer, and Brown AME. clippings on thecommunity’s rich Social Life, Clubs and Music, articles on decades of Political Activity, an archive with historically important articles on Racism and Segregation in Ypsilanti, an archive of Articles on Crime, Arrests and Court that should be read with caution and the City, Census, Building and Business archive contains articles on black busniesses and city improvements.

Like the site on Facebook, where events, pictures, stories and links not on the website will be posted. All photos, maps and newspaper clippings can be enlarged for closer inspection by clicking on the image. All photos not marked were taken in 2013 by South Adams @ 1900.

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