Lunch and Learning with Justice Indeed and Scott McFadden

Justice InDeed and Scott McFadden visited Community for another Lunch and Learning with forums for the “Through the Decades” event to gain information for their assigned decades.

Justice InDeed is a collaborative project focused on exposing and educating not only Ann Arbor but Michigan as a whole on the racial restrictions and discrimination the black community faced with housing. They work to reform originally discriminative covenants as well as to encourage new policies to repair the damage done.

Scott McFadden is one of the youngest Jones School alumni; being one of the last kindergarten classes to attend Jones before its ultimate closure. McFadden brought along with him some of his work and photos he’d collected over the years of people from Jones and the surrounding area. He spoke about his life growing up as well as some of the businesses and housing that used to be by Jones and how drastically it changed.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, Justice InDeed met with Becky Brent and Michelle Yager’s forums in the library.

Both the Brent and Yager forum were assigned to research the 1920’s. Seeing as Jones school was opened in 1922, it made sense that both forums took advantage of the opportunity to meet with them.

The three members of Justice InDeed shared with students their mission and gave a handful of examples for students to really get the full picture of the racial discrimination in Ann Arbor. For example, they discussed how a large majority of students who attended Jones were victims of housing discrimination and redlining.

The Silvester and Kiley forums were assigned with researching the 1960’s; Jones School permanently closed in 1965.
Both forums met with McFadden in Craft Theater during lunch. Similar to the Carol Gibson meeting, students were allowed to ask numerous questions as either guest spoke; McFadden even passed around photos and calendars for students to look at.

“I appreciate the fact that there are opportunities within the school to explore that [history] for students,” said Remi Harrington, CHS Counseling Office Secretary. “His perspective was consistent with what the lived experiences of my predecessors were and what people have shared with me — experiences being black in the Midwest.”

Many of the attendees were especially struck by the unfortunate truth many black families were confronted with in Ann Arbor — being unwelcome in the city you were born in.

Sorrow was not all that was.

A bittersweet passage through the memory lane of what Ann Arbor was. Remembering what Jones school really meant to the local black community.

“Jones was the connecting point for these people,” McFadden said. “It gave hope to the hopeless.”