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James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.

Grosse Pointe Park


Basic Information

Type of Place
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 11,174 102
1940 12646 183
1960 15457 68
1970 15641 22
1980 13639 30 8
1990 12,857 112
2000 12,443 367 44 226
2010 11555 1219 21 210

Method of Exclusion

  • Realtors
  • Reputation

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black
  • Asian
  • Jewish
  • Other


Grosse Pointe Park is one of the five Grosse Pointes that comprise one of the most exclusive suburban areas in the country.

Information on the infamous “point system” used by the five Grosse Pointes can be found in the Grosse Pointe, MI, entry.

Grosse Pointe Park’s 1940 black population was entirely made up of live-in domestic workers. Of the 183 black residents, 140 are female. There were no
males and only 2 females under the age of twenty. These two women were between the ages of 15-19.

In 1960, all of the 68 black residents were live-in domestic workers (11 males, 57 females). In 1970, 17 of the 22 black residents were female.

A current resident of Grosse Pointe Park emailed us describing the difference between Downtown Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park: “It’s like going from a third world country to the modern American suburb. One of my friends describe it as crossing over to a place where invisible guards keep out what belongs and what doesn’t. The grass is trimmed, the houses are neat, there is no trash or litter, no broken windows, and beautiful flowers and trees. You have to show you park pass for entry into any of the Grosse Pointes private parks. Each city has its own ‘crown jewel park’. All are fenced in, gated, and there is a guard house you have to pass with your car or walking to show your pass. Sometimes park personnel will walk up to you and ask for your pass if they suspect you are not a resident. There is no public lake access in Grosse Pointe. One of my friends who is African American and lives in the city on 9 mile called ‘Eastpointe’ formerly called East Detroit, will not come visit me because he says he’s been pulled over to be asked what he’s doing here. The ‘main downtown area’ called “The Village” is very nice and beautiful and I have seen some African Americas shopping at the new Kroger but it is well known that they are not wanted or welcome.”

Email testimony from 07/2014 which describes the daily struggles of minorities in Grosse Pointe Park today: “Grosse Pointe Park has no black police officers. This week they have begun constructing yet another barricade to block access from Detroit, at Kercheval and Alter Rds. Many streets over the last 2-3 decades have been closed off. Last year GPP police officers were filmed acting inappropriately with a mentally challenged black man (mostly making fun of him…). About 10 years ago, more or less, once more black people started moving into town, the school board became much more stringent about renters proving their residency.”