Detroit, Michigan is now comprised of a large African-American and Latino population. According to the 2000 census, 82% is African-American and 5% is Latino.1 Granted the large city is home to other communities such as Arab-Americans and Asian-Americans, Detroit remains very segregated among these close knit communities.
Southwest Detroit, the home to mainly Mexican families, encompasses the area by the ambassador bridge to Canada and includes the main streets and freeways of Livernois, Michigan Ave, Fort Street, and the Interstate 75. Many of these families are 1st or 2nd generation who migrated from Northern Mexico. Here, you will find the famous “Mexican Town” where many Mexican entrepreneurs have established restaurants, bakeries, and large Mexican produce stores, such as the E&L and The Honey Bee. Latinos from all over the state of Michigan come here for their beans, tortillas, sweet bread, meat, and other favorite foods they cannot find at home.
The beginning of Mexicantown started as a result of the Mexican Revolution around 1910 until the Great Depression of 1930, sending many people back to their homelands and closing their businesses.2 In the 1950s, Mexicantown was reborn, and the people who wanted to reclaim the area proceeded to build the nightclubs, restaurants, and retail outlets that continue to exist today.3
The Mexicantown Community Development Corporation (MCDC), founded in the 1989s, has united residents and businesses owners to improve local housing and develop more entrepreneurial opportunities for the people. Recently, the grand opening of the Mexican Town Mercado has been a blooming success with young business owners. Hopefully it will become a future “family friendly” location for festivities and tourists.
E&L Supermercado in Southwest Detroit
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