Monday, October 25, 2021

Duggan appoints Detroit’s first historian to highlight African Americans’ contributions to the city

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2021 at 2:31 PM

click to enlarge Jamon Jordan has been named the city of Detroit's first historian. - COURTESY OF JAMON JORDAN
  • Courtesy of Jamon Jordan
  • Jamon Jordan has been named the city of Detroit's first historian.

The city of Detroit made history on Monday.

Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday announced the appointment of Jamon Jordan, an educator and history tour guide, to serve as the city’s first historian, an honorary position intended to highlight Detroit’s unique and compelling story.

The founder of the Black Scroll Network, History & Tours, Jordan specializes in African American history in Detroit.

“Detroit’s history is so important, not just to Detroit,” Jordan said at a news conference Monday. “The history of the city of Detroit has changed Michigan. But not just Michigan, it has changed the country. And not just the country, it has changed the world.”

From the Underground Railroad and Paradise Valley to the auto industry and Motown, Detroit has a rich and complex history. Often missing from the narrative is the role of Black residents, Duggan said.

“History depends on who tells the story, and way too many times in this city, there is a large chunk of history that hasn’t been properly recorded – the African American contribution and experience in this city,” Duggan said.

As Detroit’s historian, Jordan will conduct research using city records and archives, make public presentations, and promote tourism from the history.

“He is going to make sure that all of our children and all of our adults and people around the country know that history,” Rochelle Riley, director of arts and culture, said.

When Jordan became a public school teacher in 1999, he said the curriculum often omitted African American history, so he began including it in his classes.

“Detroit had an underground railroad — they didn’t know that,” Jordan told Metro Times in December 2019. “Detroit played a part in the civil rights movement and fighting for housing and fighting against school discrimination — they didn’t know that. They didn’t even know that Rosa Parks lived in the city of Detroit longer than she lived in Montgomery, Alabama. Part of the time I was teaching, Rosa Parks was still living in the city of Detroit, and they didn’t know that.”

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