Detroit marks Juneteenth with groundbreaking of new senior village honoring Dr. Violet T. Lewis

"In Detroit we’re different, we celebrate Juneteenth with action," said Mayor Mike Duggan.

That action — the groundbreaking of the Doctor Violet T. Lewis Village, which will bring more than 100 affordable housing units to seniors on Detroit's west side.

The development costs nearly $30 million.

"This is a community that came together to make this happen," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

"As our neighborhoods are restored, we must not forget its history and history-makers and their contributions," said Julie Schneider, Department of Housing.

The site is the former location of the Lewis College of Business - which is Michigan's historically only Black college.

"It’s just another chapter, a continuation of what my grandmother started almost 100 years ago," said Violet Ponders, Detroit.

Ponders’ grandmother was Dr. Violet Lewis, the founder of Lewis College of Business.

Dr. Lewis was a leader and made powerful strides for the community and beyond. Her granddaughter is proud to see her legacy live on.

"It is very, very special. One, she would be happy it is being done," she said. "Not just because it’s associated in her name, but because it’s going to help the community.

"She has a memorial highway sign, and it too, was erected on Juneteenth. I think both instances are testimony to the contributions African-Americans have made down  through the years."

Those contributions will carry on. 

Artist mock-up of the eventual Dr. Violet T. Lewis Village.

Artist mock-up of the eventual Dr. Violet T. Lewis Village.