Idlewild came to be a haven for the burgeoning middle class families of black autoworkers from nearby Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit.
Interestingly, the historic city was founded by three white families as a resort for African Americans as a respite against segregation. They specifically marketed it as a vacation paradise for the growing African American middle class.
It would come to foreshadow today’s black beach areas such as Galveston, Daytona Beach and Myrtle Beach.
Black newspaper magnate John H. Sengstacke (of Chicago Defender fame) would rent out the beach at Idlewild in Michigan for his circle of upwardly mobile African Americans in the late 1930s (shown in these pics). While the Depression raged for common Americans, a sliver of blacks continued to spend and live well.