Forest Club

The Forest Club was located at Forest and Hastings at 704 E. Forest. It was bought by black businessman Sunnie Wilson in 1941 who claimed to own the largest black owned club in the United States.  At 107 feet, the club boasted it had the longest bar in the state after Wilson expanded it from 37 feet.  In addition to the bar, it featured a bowling alley, skating rink, and ballroom.  The Forest Club became infamous on June 20, 1943.  On that hot summer night, approximately 700 people were crowed in the ballroom when Leo Tipton jumped onto the stage and falsely announced to the crowd that a black woman and her baby were thrown off of the Belle Isle bridge.  The angry patrons ran from the club and threw rocks at passing white motorists.  At the same time, another rumor was spreading in a part of Detroit's white community that black men had raped and murdered a white woman.  Again, the falsehood fueled violence resulting in whites "retaliating" against blacks.  For three days a bloody riot occurred.

Sunnie Wilson.jpg
Forest Club 1947 Sunnie Wilson.jpg

Sunnie Wilson

Forest Club Ballroom 1949.jpg
Forest Club 1947.jpg

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