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Downtown Grand Rapids Black History Tour

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.


Since 2000, Christopher Paul Curtis has been one of the predominant young-adult authors in the medium that include award-winning novels “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963,” “Bud, Not Buddy,” “Elijah of Buxton,” “The Mighty Miss Malone,” “Bucking the Sarge,” among many more.

GRAAMA is extremely delighted to host this author whom Britannica states, “Curtis did not intend to write specifically for children, but he felt that his stories were best told from a child’s perspective.” Christopher will share his personal desire to write as well as help inspire others to find their voice and exercising their “writing” muscles to achieve a career in literature.

Although the dates, time, and location have yet to be confirmed, we’re sure that his appearances in Grand Rapids are sure to draw large crowds of adults and teens alike. To make sure you’re in the know, please submit your contact information so GRAAMA can keep you in the loop.

We want to make sure we see you there!

Christopher Paul Curtis:
Nobody But Curtis Tour

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