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Forest Club

The Forest Club was situated at Forest and Hastings, specifically at 704 E. Forest. It was purchased by black businessman Sunnie Wilson in 1941, who boasted of owning the largest black-owned club in the United States. Wilson expanded the club's bar from 37 to 107 feet, making it the longest in the state. Besides the bar, the club featured a bowling alley, skating rink, and ballroom. The Forest Club gained notoriety on June 20, 1943. On that sweltering summer night, approximately 700 people were crowded into the ballroom when Leo Tipton jumped onto the stage and falsely announced to the crowd that a black woman and her baby had been thrown off the Belle Isle bridge. Enraged patrons fled the club, hurling rocks at passing white motorists. Simultaneously, another rumor spread in a part of Detroit's white community, alleging that black men had raped and murdered a white woman. Once again, false information fueled violence, with whites 'retaliating' against blacks. This resulted in a three-day bloody riot.

Sunnie Wilson.jpg
Forest Club 1947 Sunnie Wilson.jpg

Sunnie Wilson

Forest Club Ballroom 1949.jpg
Forest Club 1947.jpg
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