A special Board of Trustees meeting is being held on Monday, January 30th from 5-7 pm at Central/Van Deusen. Agenda and minutes can be found on our website

Central Library’s parking lot located on the corner of Lovell and Rose St. will be closed on Sunday, January 29 due to a construction project. The library will still be open. 

Black History

African American Churches

List includes both active and inactive congregations Ministerial Alliance of Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1969 Allen Chapel A.M.E., founded in 1855 Bible Baptist Church, founded in 1968 First United Baptist Church, founded…

Afro-American Journal and Directory

Rev. John L. Davis, c.1894 Published by Rev. John L. Davis of Kalamazoo, this 48-page Afro-American Journal and Directory was printed by The Kalamazoo Publishing Company in 1894 to celebrate and…

Alexander, Dr. C. Allen

Photo by Don Rice Born in 1900, Cornelius Allen Alexander became one of Kalamazoo’s most beloved citizens by the time he passed away at his Richland home in 1995. Known…

Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church

Early Years Founded in 1855 by a handful of members, the Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church is the oldest black church in Kalamazoo. Prior to 1855, members met for prayer meetings…

Baseball in Kalamazoo: Black Teams

From as early as 1877 or before, Kalamazoo’s leading African American baseball players were forming independent teams and successfully squaring off against other local and regional clubs, both white and black...

Black Arts Festival

“The Black Arts Festival is founded on the belief that Black Awareness should be an integral part of our society. Through artistic expression we help promote the essence of our…

Black Lives Matter Street Mural

Photo credit: Fritz Klug You likely have seen the beautiful Black Lives Matter street mural on Rose Street between South and Lovell. But do you know the amazing story of…

Bradley, Gilbert H., Jr.

“Gil has something unique to offer our community. During his ten years as a resident of Kalamazoo, he has been a student, factory worker, union member, teacher, social worker, and…

Civic Black Theatre

Founded in 1978, the Civic Black Theatre (CBT) “recognized a need” for “black theater” in Kalamazoo. According to WMU faculty members Leander C. Jones and Thomas Small, two of the…

Council Hawes Jr. and The Pacific Club

In 1946, after returning from military service in World War II, Council Hawes Jr. (1910-1982) managed The Pacific Club (aka The Pacific Inn), a restaurant, bar, entertainment venue, and residence…

Douglass Community Association

The Douglass Community Association was a byproduct of the First World War. Camp Custer was home to large numbers of mobilized troops, both during the war and in the immediate years that followed. These men needed something to do in their downtime...

Graine, Judson C.

I first stumbled across the name of Judson C. Graine while looking for photographs of the Arcadia Brook Golf Course, a recreational business that was owned by real estate entrepreneur…

Harris, Enoch and Deborah

Among the earliest pioneers in Oshtemo Township were Enoch Harris and his family, the first black settlers in Kalamazoo County. They arrived in Michigan from Marion County, Ohio, in approximately 1830, bringing with them seed from which they ...

Johnson, Pauline Byrd

Pauline Byrd Johnson was many things: an outspoken critic of forced desegregation policies, an active member of the Kalamazoo Republican Party, a tireless advocate for the value of education, and…

Northside Neighborhood

There is a book waiting to be written about Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood, however no sketch of this length can do justice to its rich, complex and fascinating history. The current boundaries of the neighborhood run from Douglas Avenue...

Oliver V. Kalamazoo Board of Education

The following is not intended to be a comprehensive history of the Kalamazoo Public Schools desegregation case (Oliver v. Kalamazoo Board of Education), but rather an abridged, introductory timeline of…

Phillips Brothers

Of all the dance orchestras and concert ensembles that Kalamazoo produced during the 19th century, the Phillips Brothers’ Orchestra was among the busiest… and perhaps the best. Five talented violinists; Joseph, Joshua, Sylvester, Albert and Gilmore..

Pratt, Charles A.

One of several existing legal associations in Kalamazoo, is the Charles A. Pratt Bar Association, which takes its moniker from a homegrown success story. Pratt, who passed away on March…

Roberts, Duane L.

Duane L. Roberts was a native son of Kalamazoo, and one of its most important voices for community change for more than three decades. At the time of his death…

Spradling, Mary Mace

Mary Mace Spradling, Martin Cohen, Shirley Miller. Undated Photo from KPL Archives The following text is taken from a brochure printed for the dedication ceremony of the Mary Mace Spradling…

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