Detroit's Birwood Wall: Hatred and Healing in the West Eight Mile Community

Gerald C. Van Dusen (Author) Reverend Jim Holley (Foreword by)


In 1941, a real estate developer in northwest Detroit faced a dilemma. He needed federal financing for white clients purchasing lots in a new subdivision abutting a community of mostly African Americans. When the banks deemed the development too risky because of potential racial tension, the developer proposed a novel solution. He built a six-foot-tall, one-foot-thick concrete barrier extending from Eight Mile Road south for three city blocks--the infamous Birwood Wall. It changed life in West Eight Mile forever. Gathering personal interviews, family histories, land records and other archival sources, author Gerald Van Dusen tells the story of this isolated black enclave that persevered through all manner of racial barriers and transformed a symbol of discrimination into an expression of hope and perseverance.

Product Details

$31.99  $29.43
History Press Library Editions
Publish Date
June 03, 2019
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.5 inches | 0.95 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Gerald Van Dusen is professor of English at Wayne County Community College District in Detroit, Michigan. He is author of William Starbuck Mayo, The Virtual Campus, Digital Dilemma and Canton Township. His scholarly interests include American literature and culture and local history, as well as digital technology applications in higher education. A recipient of numerous awards for innovations in teaching, learning and technology, Van Dusen is a father of four and resides with Patricia, his wife of forty years, in Plymouth, Michigan.