Colorful Mural Wall That Divided Blacks and Whites in Detroit
I took a short trip to Detroit to locate the Eight Mile Wall. On the north side of Detroit, the six-foot wall known as the Birwood Wall, Wailing Wall, or Berlin Wall, was built in the 1940s to serve as a barrier to separate black families living on the east side from a housing development for white families on the west side. The wall is a 1/2 mile between Mendota and Birwood Street through the back yards of houses.
Black children who grew up in the neighborhood didn't know why the wall was built. Some asked their parents about the wall, but they didn't want to tell their children about the significance of the concrete segregated wall. Children, playfully, would walk on top of the wall, not understanding the purpose of the wall. It wasn't until they became teenagers that they knew why the wall was put up.
(Credit: USA Today)
(Credit: Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University)