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State historical marker honors Tejano music, Mexican community in Southwest Detroit

A Michigan historical marker was unveiled in Southwest Detroit on Friday. As Michigan Radio’s Briana Rice reports, the marker celebrates Mexican immigrants and Texas transplants' contributions to the region, especially tejano music
Briana Rice
Michigan Radio
A Michigan historical marker was unveiled in Southwest Detroit on Friday. The marker celebrates Tejano music — brought to the region by Mexican immigrants and Texas transplants.

A Michigan historical marker was unveiled in Southwest Detroit on Friday, celebrating the contributions Mexican immigrants and Texas transplants made to the region — especially Tejano music.

State historians said it's the first marker in the state to recognize the contributions of a Mexican community to Michigan history.

“While expressways, bridges and gentrification continue to challenge and impact this Southwest Detroit community, it’s heart-warming — though 50 years later — that recognition and acknowledgment of our migrant contributions to Detroit, to Michigan, and beyond, are being celebrated,” said Raymond Lozano, the executive director of the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation.

One side of the marker details the history of Mexican and Tejano migration to Detroit, as well as the musical styles that came with these migrants. The other focuses on Tejano music, as well as the clubs, broadcast stations, and record stores that shared Tejano music in Southwest Detroit.

Delia Fernandez Jones is with the Michigan Historical Commission. She said the signpost commemorates a place and a community, as opposed to an event.

"It focuses on music because I think the narrative that we hear, it's true. We are hard working, but we're not just workers, that we are whole human beings that deserve to have recreation and joy and celebration,” she said during the Friday ceremony.

Since 1955, more than 1,800 historical markers have been put up across the state.

In addition to the state marker, community members also added a second plaque that honored several Detroit Tejano pioneers.

The marker is at 2826 Bagley Street in Southwest Detroit.

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.