Black Bottom was a predominantly black neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan demolished for redevelopment in the early 1960s and replaced with the Lafayette Park. It was located on Detroit’s Near East Side and was bounded by Gratiot Avenue, Brush Street, Vernor Highway, and the Grand Trunk railroad tracks bordering Paradise Valley.
Some of Black Bottom’s more prominent residents included Joe Louis, Malcolm X, Berry Gordy, Sugar Ray Robinson, Dr. Ossian Sweet, and many others.
The Detroit Urban League reported that within Black Bottom and Paradise Valley were over 300 black-owned businesses, which included physicians, barber shops, hair salons, hotels, drug stores, and more.
In one of the most controversial episodes of mass gentrification in Detroit history, the virtually all-white city government bulldozed Black Bottom, the beloved ancestral home of many metro Detroit’s African Americans. It was done in the name of “slum clearance.”