UNSETTLING LANDSCAPES AT CRANBROOK: HISTORIES OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, THE JAPANESE EXPERIENCE, AND SUBURBAN SEGREGATION
Join Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research as we examine the histories of three of Cranbrook’s iconic cultural landscapes through the lens of racial and social justice. The 2021 installment of the annual Bauder Lecture Series, Unsettling Landscapes at Cranbrook, brought seven historians and experts to the Center’s virtual auditorium where they helped us explore, expand, and enrich our understanding of the histories associated with Cranbrook’s original 1904 Booth Estate, the 1915 Japanese Garden, and the 1950 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House.
The 2021 Bauder Lecture Series took place on Sundays, April 11, 18, and 25.
THE CRANBROOK ESTATE AND THE REGION'S INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
Dr. John P. Bowes, Professor of History, Eastern Kentucky University
Eric Hemenway, Director of Archives/Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Harbor Springs, Michigan
In the traditional history of Cranbrook, the community begins when our founders, newspaper publishers George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth, bought a “run-down farm” in 1904. That farm, however, was on land that less than a century earlier had been ceded by the Odawa (Ottawa), Ojibwe (Chippewa), Wendat (Wyandot), and Potawatomi Nations in the 1807 Treaty of Detroit. With a focus on reclaiming lost, forgotten, and stolen stories, this lecture exploreS the history of the Indigenous communities around the Great Lakes and in Oakland County and examines how the Cranbrook property and surrounding region were used prior to the arrival of white traders and settlers from Europe.
THE CRANBROOK JAPANESE GARDEN AND THE JAPANESE EXPERIENCE IN WORLD WAR II AND ITS AFTERMATH
Dr. Bonnie J. Clark, Professor and Curator for Archaeology, University of Denver
Dr. Mika Kennedy, Visiting Assistant Professor of English, Kalamazoo College
Cranbrook’s Japanese Garden serves as the point of departure for the story of Japanese Americans during and after World War II. This lecture tells the largely unknown story of the Japanese gardens of Amache—the U.S. government’s War Relocation Authority incarceration camp in Colorado where Japanese Americans were confined—as well as traces the development of Metropolitan Detroit’s Japanese community during the aftermath of the war. Although Cranbrook’s leaders distanced themselves from Japan during the war, renaming the Japanese Garden the “Oriental Garden,” by the early 1970s they had opened the campus to the Japanese community, offering Brookside School as the site of the first Japanese School of Detroit, and initiated a rejuvenation of the campus’s Japanese-style garden.
THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT SMITH HOUSE AND SEGREGATION IN METROPOLITAN DETROIT
Dr. Thomas J. Sugrue, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History, and Director of the Cities Collaborative, New York University
Gregory J. Fioritto, Attorney and Partner, Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC
Representative Sarah Anthony, Michigan House of Representatives, Lansing, Michigan
When Cranbrook took ownership of the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House in 2017, it acquired more than a completely intact 1950 Usonian house and its surrounding landscape—Cranbrook became signatory to a problematic deed. At the very top of the list of restrictive covenants there is a note that the property in this subdivision may not be owned or rented by anyone that is not of the “pure, unmixed white, Caucasian, Gentile race.” While illegal and unenforceable, the Smith House Warranty Deed stands as a reminder of the enduring legacy of racism and housing segregation in America. This lecture examines the history of residential segregation throughout Metropolitan Detroit, including the role of property owner associations, and offers corrective solutions to these exclusionary practices.
PHOTO CREDITS (FROM TOP TO BOTTOM)
Banner Image (from left to right): Gregory J. Fioritto, Eric Hemenway, John P. Bowes, Mika Kennedy, Thomas J. Sugrue, and Bonnie Clark. Photographs courtesy of the speakers.
Images at Left (from top to bottom):
Map of “Indian Land Cessions” from the Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Part 2, 1896-1897, United States Government Printing Office. Collection of Smithsonian Libraries. The 1807 Treaty of Detroit ceded the green-colored portion of this map, including what is now Detroit and Southeast Michigan.
Postcard of the “Oriental Garden” at Cranbrook with Rudy Fedus seated near the Japanese Kasuga Lantern, circa 1976. Published by Cranbrook Gardens Auxiliary. Collection of Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, Gift of Katie McCreighton Young, 2019.
Melvyn Maxwell and Sara Stein Smith at their Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Usonian House in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, circa 1970. Photograph from the Collection of Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, Gift of Anne Smith Towbes.