Michigan: The Gotham Hotel
In 1959 there was only one fancy hotel in the country that was owned, run, and patronized by African-Americans: The Gotham Hotel. It was not only where Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, Joe Lewis, and Cab Calloway stayed when visiting Detroit, but it was also the place where Langston Hughes, C.L. Franklin, and Martin Luther King Jr. expressed the “dream” of what America could be — a “promised land” where everyone truly is equal.
Note: Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.
Projects, Crafts, and Recipes for this Story
FIFTY Study Page: Michigan "The Gotham Hotel"
This story from the FIFTY collection uses historical fiction to explore “The Great Migration” of African Americans from the rural south to the industrial cities of the north as well as the history of Detroit and its African American Paradise Valley district.