On Monday, Mayor Mike Duggan and Rochelle Riley, the city’s director of Arts, Culture & Entrepreneurship, announced that Jamon Jordan is now the city’s first official historian. Jordan said he was “surprised and shocked” to learn about the appointment.
The honorary position is both “ceremonial and educational,” and was given to Jordan for having demonstrated his knowledge of Detroit’s cultural history, according to a City press release. It is a paid position with no term limit.
“This city has so much important history to the region, state and country, but also world history,” said Jordan. This is “a position that I believe all cities should have, particularly a city like Detroit.”
Jordan has been serving residents and visitors for decades in his role as a public intellectual who founded Black Scroll Network in 2013. Jordan’s tours helped longtime residents, visitors and newcomers alike to understand the history of the city and the role Black and Indigenous people played in its development.
Before he was the City’s official historian, Jordan taught history at the Nsoroma Institute in Detroit for 12 years, one of the city’s now-closed African-centered schools. African-centered schools, or Afrocentric schools, teach every subject from the perspective of African descendants, rather than the Western-way that most U.S. schools do. According to Malik Yakini, former principal of the Nsoroma Institute, Detroit had the most African-centered schools of any city in the country until 1999, when state emergency managers took control of the district.
Jordan said he still believes in African-centered learning.
Jordan can now be found teaching at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts’ Semester in Detroit program. Jordan’s course, “From the Underground to Motown: A Course on Detroit’s History,” focuses on the city’s cultural transformation during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Jordan would like to bring awareness to Detroit’s Underground Railroad monument on the riverfront, the Motown Museum expansion project and exhibits at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Jordan said he plans to collaborate with other historians and help elevate historical organizations and institutions. He also serves on Michigan’s Freedom Trail Commission, which preserves the state’s antislavery history.
Jordan said there are 5 facts — in no particular order — people should know about Detroit.
For the rest of the story, go to the BridgeDetroit website.