MI Black History: A Resort in the Wilderness

Q: What was the name of the African-American resort in northern Michigan that attracted major blues, and jazz musicians?

A: Idlewild. Located near the town of Baldwin in Lake County, Idlewild was a refuge for African-American families who were not allowed to vacation in resorts that catered to white people. Known as “the Black Eden,” the community of Idlewild served as both a resort destination and as a year-round community. As its popularity grew, nightclubs serving the resort drew in big-name entertainment, including Della Reese, Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, B.B. King and Fats Waller.

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