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January 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Daily Register: Stephens Gave MLK Day Speech on Idlewild

The Daily Register reports that Dr. Ronald Stephens, Associate Professor of African American Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University, was the guest speaker at the Paint Creek Regular Baptist Church in Gallipolis on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Stephens, an associate professor of African American Studies at Ohio University, spoke of King’s legacy, while discussing the pivotal landmark in African American history, the American resort town known of Idlewild, and its connection to the Civil Rights Movement.

Stephens, a native of Detroit who is a nationally known authority on Idlewild, has published numerous articles and scholarly works on the popular vacation spot and resort town in northwestern Michigan where African Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property during the first half of the twentieth-century prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

With a unique cultural, intellectual, entertainment and social history that spans from 1912 through the first half of the twentieth century, Idlewild, Mich., according to Stephens, deserves a definite place within the discussion of the wider Civil Rights Movement.

“[Idlewild] deserves critical attention because it acknowledges the importance of grassroots organizing and the history of black institution building within the structure of twentieth-century American society and the Civil Rights Movement,” Stephens said. “Idlewild was indeed making history as new negro elites used it as a cultural and intellectual center to discuss the issues of the day during the 1920s and 30s. Thirty years later it was used to elevate, what I am calling, an ‘African American Civil Rights performance culture’ during the post-World War II era.”

Read the entire article in the Daily Register.

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