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Downtown Grand Rapids Black History Tour
Ongoing Exhibit

Take a free interactive tour of Grand Rapids’ Civil Rights history. Sponsored through Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., (DGRI) and created by local high school students, residents were asked to share their stories and knowledge of African-American leadership, culture, and community in Grand Rapids. The result? An interactive, self-guided walking tour that highlights some of the historical moments of the African American experience and legacy in Grand Rapids.


The History Tour of Downtown Grand Rapids encompasses two miles with accompanying podcasts narrated by City Commissioner and former Grand Rapids Urban League President, Joe Jones. The tour features 11 points of interest, starting with Helen Claytor who was not only the first black President of the Grand Rapids YWCA but also held the same unique position at the national level; other stops include the historic Fountain Street Church, which has hosted Malcolm X and Langston Hughes; and Crescent Park, where the urban renewal legacy of Lyman Parks, Grand Rapids’ first African American mayor, is still seen in the city’s ever-expanding skyline.


Take this tour, or other GR Walks tours, any time by downloading the GR Walks smartphone app at The app is also available for download in the Apple App Store and Android's Google Play.

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