Detroit Historical Society to Share Black Entrepreneurs’ Stories in New Project

The organization is now crowdsourcing nominations for The Hustle
the hustle - detroit historical museum
Owner Emmalene, co-owner of The Fashion Place, is just one of the city’s many Black business owners. The Hustle project from the Detroit Historical Museum hopes to share their stories.

Most of the small businesses in Detroit are run by Black entrepreneurs. Yet, they don’t often receive the recognition they deserve for their contributions to the city. A new multi-year, crowdsourced project from the Detroit Historical Society aims to change this.

Called The Hustle, the project will celebrate the stories of Detroit’s Black entrepreneurs and business owners by documenting their histories through large-scale photography, oral interviews, exhibits and events at the Detroit Historical Museum, public programming, school tours, and a resource summit.

“Our mission is to tell Detroit’s stories and why they matter,” says Elana Rugh, CEO of the Detroit Historical Society, in a press release. “No story is too big, or too small for our museums, and we often say our goal is that our visitors will see themselves somewhere in our halls or on our walls. The Hustle will do that in a way that no other project ever has, and we are excited to celebrate these stories in our museum.”

The Detroit Historical Society is now accepting nominations of Black Detroit business owners or entrepreneurs through June 30. Nominations — which should include details on how the nominee embodies “the hustle” in their work and/or community — can be cast online, via phone at 313-833-4727, or with a paper ballot available at drop boxes across the city and in the lobbies of the Detroit Historical Museum and Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

Selected individuals will be asked to tell their story in oral history interview for the Detroit Historical Society’s permanent collection and to be photographed for a professional portrait. Final honorees will be featured in rotating exhibits at the museum from fall 2022 through spring/summer 2023 — all nominees will be recognized, even if they’re not chosen for the exhibit.

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