To suggest that Idlewild, or any summer resort, has "lost its purpose" is absurd. There are many us who did not abandon Idlewild for places like Marthas Vineyard. Although the entertainment and nightclubs have faded away, what remains and continues to grow is the residential community. Many new and lovely homes are being built. Many seasonal residents look forward, year after year, to escaping the hustle and bustle of "big city" life to summer homes on the lake. Like many Michigan summer resorts, Idlewild is a sleepy little town in the winter that awakens in the summer months, especially in July and August. During August in what is called "Idlewild week", people from Detroit, Chicago, Saint Louis, and Cleveland visit to celebrate Idlewild. There are jet skis zipping across the lake, pontoon boats cruising, fishing, shopping at the quaint shops of nearby Baldwin Village or taking a drive to Ludington. And like most places, crime has increased. Unlike most places, in the rural community of Idlewild, we can still sleep with our doors open at night to feel the cool summer breeze coming from the lake. We appreciate the rich history of Idlewild and what it has to offer. To have a summer home, for an African-American, is owning a piece of the American dream. Its a place where we can actually own 40 acres and a mule.
Recent visitors to Idlewild include celebrities Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Dick Gregory, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit radio personality Gerald McBride.
To be downright honest about it, the face of America is changing and becoming more and more culturally diverse, so too is Idlewild. The face of Idlewild has changed from its former glory days and so has the face of Detroit and other cities and towns within this country that were affected by the Civil Rights movement. Just as these cities and towns fight for revitalization, so too does Idlewild.
Historians have written books, articles, and documentaries focusing on Idlewilds history. Pearl Cleage, author of What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day, wrote about a troubled Idlewild youth who was bored living in a rural environment and wanted to escape to the "big city." Because life always looks greener on the other side, we often fail to see the beauty of whats in our own backyard.
I have yet to hear anyone truly "tell it like it is" now. Let us not live so much in the past. Let us focus on making today better and tomorrow even brighter. Idlewild needs investors, entrepreneurs, and homeowners not negative publicity. As a Michigander, I look forward to heading "up north" to Idlewild.