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Mr. Jiam DesJardins Interview

Mr. DesJardins Segment 1
Mr. DesJardins Segment 2
Mr. DesJardins Segment 3
Mr. DesJardins Segment 4
Mr. DesJardins Segment 5
Mr. DesJardins Transcription Completed

Part One

[[00:00:00]] Mr. DesJardins and Mr. Dearing in convo about area that encompassed Black Bottom, formerly occupied by Germans and Greeks around 1910 – Mr. DesJardins says no segregation until southerners were brought up to work in Ford factories

[[00:03:00]] Mr. DesJardins talks about St. Antoine being the main business street in Paradise Valley – Black Bottom was 9 block area, Vernor to Gratiot, Hastings to Brush – some folks extend it all the way to John R or even 9 Mile, but Black Bottom was more confined – Mr. DesJardins attributes this to racial thinking that Black people in Detroit define Black Bottom area

[[00:06:00]] talks about 1933 being the end of Prohibition, two uncles who each owned nightclubs (family also owned three restaurants and two grocery stores) – father was from Tamil, India, worked as a jeweler on Hastings – formation of Paradise Valley Business Association

Part Two

[[00:00:00]] Mr. DesJardins says, “from his time”, Black Bottom was from Gratiot to Larned – names changed from when Black businesses first opened (Champlain became Lafayette) – high culture Black-owned businesses, until “the Southern middle class started comin’ up” – discusses old newspapers in Burton Historical Collection that haven’t been digitized

[[00:03:00]] Only cards indicate contents of papers – BHC was going to toss, but Mr. DesJardins urged they be kept – also gave BHC several copies of Sepia magazine, which they were also going to toss – criticizes Ken Coleman’s scholarship

[[00:06:00]] Talks about heated phone convo with Coleman – discusses photographs digitized by Wright museum with Emily

[[00:09:00]] Mr. DesJardins and Emily discuss origins of Black Bottom street view project

[[00:12:00]] Mr. DesJardins laments that no one is around from the ‘20s anymore – importance of categorizing by periods – names a then-living 98-year-old, Leontyne, whose mother owned a  whorehouse

[[00:15:00]] Mr. DesJardins and Mr. Dearing discuss 90-94-year-old person who wouldn’t know much because her family kept her sheltered

Part Three

[[00:00:00]] Mr. DesJardins looking at photographs from the 1920s, talks about issues with Burton over categorizing it as Black Bottom – mentions employee at Wright museum whom he “busted” taking Mr. DesJardin’s info without credit – discusses Cohen Brothers, theatre owners, history studying

[[00:03:00]] Some of the unseen pictures in the BHC show slave-holders and slaves, go back to 1800s – discussion of term “mulatto” and slavery, lynching

[[00:06:00]] Houses in pictures (built in 19th century) still have analogues in Cleveland – folks in photos were tricked into posing – Mr. DesJardins knew three families from the pictures

[[00:09:00]] Police pretended they were taking the pictures as part of a campaign to stop accidents – similar events happened in Lafayette Park – Mr. DesJardins says that info is still at the Burton

[[00:12:00]] Mr. DesJardins and Mr. Dearing discuss some similar houses in that old style that are still standing by the cemetery, between Lafayette and Vernor

[[00:15:00]] Houses also by Mack, Chene, and Hunt – Emily also talks about various BBA events

Part Five

[[00:00:00]] Mr. DesJardins talks about witnessing the riots of 1943 – came out of showing of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf-Man to find cars turned over and on fire – says he has footage – he didn’t live in Black Bottom, but on Boston Edison side with grandmother

[[00:03:00]] Had cousins in Black Bottom on Hendry, by the Silver Cup Bakery – starts crying a little as he looks at more of the pictures of houses that were torn down

[[00:06:00]] Discusses architecture plans he submitted to City Hall on Paradise Valley

[[00:09:00]] Before the conversation ends, Mr. DesJardins says that any presentation on Black Bottom would have to be visual


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