African-American Resources for Michigan

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In the 1796 Detroit census both slaves and free African Americans are listed. The abolitionist movement was strong and the part of a "underground railroad" ran through Michigan. In 1855 the state passed a "personal liberty law" blocking the recovery of fugitive slaves. The automobile industry attracted African Americans to Detroit in the 1900s.[1]

The Burton Historical Collection has African American records. For further reading, see:

  • Melvin E. Banner, Black Pioneer in Michigan (Midland, Mich.: Pendall Publ., 1973. WorldCat entry.
  • Reginald Larrie, Black Experiences in Michigan History. Lansing, Mich.: MI History Div., 1975. WorldCat entry.
  • State Archives of Michigan, Circular No. 29, African-Americans. Lansing, Mich.: SAM, 2002.


  1. Alice Eichholz, ed., Red book : American state, county and town sources (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 343. (FHL 973 D27rb). WorldCat entry.