Community meeting aims to make sure 'generational' residents and businesses are included in New Detroit

Last week a number of long-time Detroit business owners faced eviction.

Darnell Small of Tangerine Room, Larry and Dianne Mongo who sublet space in the historic Himelhoch building, and Gerald Watson II of Mo Better Blues all recently found themselves in legal battles against their landlords. The Mongos and Watson both lost and Small recently filed an appeal to charges his landlord filed against him. Small, the Mongos, and Watson are all black business owners. 

The recent evictions are leading some to wonder if black Detroiters are being forced out of the city by those fueling its revitalization.

At the news of Watsons' eviction, Rev. Horace Sheffield decided to do something. In a story on My Fox Detroit Sheffield, a civil rights activist, said others were organizing a boycott called No Black Downtown (NBD). Supposedly the protest would discourage black people from coming downtown, since it was perceived that they weren't wanted there. 

While no further details about the NBD boycott have emerged, Sheffield has organized a community meeting to be held on Monday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. 

“I believed that unless there is some structured and coordinated way to address the rapidly growing perception that Detroit 2.0 is not for those Detroiters who never left and who have endured much to stay… something good and can go bad. Forty years ago, those of us who still live in marginal neighborhoods, bought into Mayor Coleman A. Young's notion that if we rebuilt downtown that the neighborhoods would soon follow. Three decades later, while downtown and Midtown are flourishing and repopulating with an unceasing flow of public and private dollars many of our neighborhoods have been destroyed... Consequently it is time to stop just airing our grievances but time to organize our interests and work to create a better Detroit for all,” Sheffield said in a release. 

The meeting will be held in the Horace Sheffield Jr. Center at 12048 Grand River, Detroit. 

About The Author

Alysa Zavala-Offman

Alysa Zavala-Offman is the managing editor of Detroit Metro Times. She lives in the downriver city of Wyandotte with her husband, toddler, mutt, and two orange cats.
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