Booker T. Washington was a educator, author, and African American Civil Rights Leader born in Virginia in 1856. Mr. Washington visited Calvin Township in Cass County, Mi and interviewed residents and community members throughout the area. We have included this information to show the interest and prominence this area of Michigan generated.
Here are some excerpts from : Two Generations Under Freedom written for The Outlook, February 7, 1903, Mr. Washington's review of the visit cumulated into 12 pages with photos:
“In Calvin Township in 1900 there were 759 negroes and 512 whites. I made diligent inquiry to ascertain if there was any friction between the two races, and could find no evidence that there was.” (page 420).
“I was a little curious to see to what extent the colored people took interest in the large national questions. I asked a good many of them how they stood on the question of reducing the tariff on Cuban sugar. In spite of the fact that Michigan is producing much beet sugar, I found that most of the colored people in this township were in favor of helping Cuba, and they were not slow to give their reasons.” (page 422).
“In my inspection of their church houses there were two things that specifically pleased me. One was the fine and neat appearing parsonage which stood near the Chain Lake Baptist Church; the other was the appearance of the graveyard near the same building. The church house, the parsonage, and the graveyard gave one a picture which made him feel that he was in a Massachusetts village. The graveyard was laid out in family plots, and most of the graves had marble slabs or headstones. There were evidences that the burial-place received systematic care.” (page 423).
Excerpts from: Tales of the Great Lakes: Stories from Illinois, Michigan Minnesota, Wisconsin. Castle, 1986.