IMAGES: Family, Friends & Community - Historical Photo Panels from AACHM of Washtenaw County

Now through October 2, 2009 -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room Exhibit

This classic black and white photo exhibit offers a glimpse into the lives of people during the 1920s and '30s in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. From 1915 to around 1930, about a million rural Southern African Americans left their homes - due to enforced segregation, denied voting rights and limited education - and came to cities in the North and Midwest in what is called "The Great Migration." After Reconstruction failed to change the social structure of the South, many came to Michigan settling around Detroit, Ypsilanti, Willow Run and Ann Arbor. Work was plentiful, from the automobile industry to wartime manufacturing to the University of Michigan and railroad construction; the factories and jobs were here. And so were many of the same barriers, prejudices and restrictions they thought had been left behind in the South.

People pictured in this exhibit raised families, went to school, established churches, provided housing, operated businesses and served their country. They also went to work every day, battled housing and job discrimination, and produced dynamic leaders who challenged racial beliefs and biases. Whether they are personal portraits of husbands and wives, sisters, school children, or members of a church choir, these images capture parent and child interactions and show the strength of a community. The exhibit is coordinated and presented by The African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County (, The Ann Arbor Community Center Inc. and Another Ann