By Grace Shackman
Who'd have guessed that Ann Arbor's distinctive manhole covers were made by a black Canadian orphan and a Russian Jewish Revolutionary? Click here to read the article.
She was the first African-American to live in the dormitories of the University of Michigan in 1934. Future playwright Arthur Miller, who worked alongside her at The Michigan Daily, called her "a beauty, the most striking girl in Ann Arbor. She was said to be romantically linked to Joe Louis and to Langston Hughes. At some point she began to pass as white. Read more about her life in The "Passing" of Elsie Roxborough by Kathleen Hauke.
From an Underground Railroad contributor to Ann Arbor's first black firefighter, here's a list of historic African American figures from Washtenaw County, ranging from the early 1800s to the late-1900s and today. (By Kullen Logsdon, MLIVE, 2018)
For most of the
the100 block of
East Ann Street
was a hub for black-
downtown Ann Arbor.
Henry Wade Robbins was a native of Canada, his grandparents were slaves. He lived in Ann Arbor, where he conducted a high-class barber business, serving blacks and whites, in which he accumulated a considerable sized fortune. He also owned some of the best business property in the city of Ann Arbor, as well as some residential property and his barber business. He is pictured here with his wife and children around 1900. Click here to read more about the Black Business District with links to photos and articles.