port of harlem magazine
black memorabilia show
Idlewild Festival Weekend in the former Black Eden
July 4 – July 17, 2019
idlewild festival

The fifth annual Idlewild Festival Music Weekend commemorates and celebrates the history of well-known African-American entertainers and professionals who owned property and performed at the historic resort community in Western Michigan. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, segregation laws allowed Whites to not accommodate Blacks and places that welcomed Blacks, such as Idlewild, sprung up around the country.

In Idlewild, African-Americans could vacation and purchase property and people referred to Idlewild as the "Black Eden." With about 3,000 acres under Black ownership, it is historically the largest land based African American resort ever assembled in the USA says promoter Theresa Randleman.

W.E.B. Dubois owned property there. So did Dizzy Gillespie, author Charles Waddell Chesnutt, Fisk University President Lemuel Foster, Madam C.J. Walker, and dozens of doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Etta James, Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine, Jackie Wilson, B.B. King, and Sarah Vaughan were among the hundreds of musicians who performed in the town's many clubs.

Each year two people who have been through Idlewild during the 1940s to the 1960s are highlighted during the weekend. This year the honorees are Aretha Franklin and Langston Hughes. The three day celebration will include the showing of Franklin’s Amazing Grace and an exhibit from the Langston Hughes Family Museum.

Idlewild is four hours from Chicago and three hours from Detroit. The festival takes place Friday, July 12 through Sunday July 14, 2019. 
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