In order to best understand Vanguard Community Development Corporation, it is important to understand the North End. The North End is a historic Detroit neighborhood, as the land that comprises it was annexed by the City in 1891. The traditional boundaries of the North End are Ford Freeway (S); Russell Street (E); Highland Park (N); and Woodward Avenue (W).
The North End was home first to the city’s wealthy elite in Arden Park, which in 1892, was one of the earliest platted developments in Detroit. Arden Park provided elegant homes built at the turn of the twentieth century. The rest of the North End grew organically through the 1920s with Jewish European immigrants who came to work in the auto industry.
In the 1940s, the North End experienced an extreme demographic shift as the Jewish community moved to more northwest neighborhoods, and were replaced African-Americans “moving up” from “Black Bottom”. The North End had a thriving commercial and entertainment district, being one of the centers of Blues and Jazz music in the country.
Over the many years, the North End, like most of Detroit, has struggled with decline and poverty. But, despite the challenges, Detroit and the North End remain strong and resilient. The North End is one of few original “branded” Detroit neighborhoods. Detroiters have always known where “The North End” is, and unlike almost all Detroit communities, was never known only by its cross streets, as in “7 mile and Schaefer” or “Mack and Mount Elliott”. This is important to know because it helps to explain the fierce passion North Enders feel about our community.
Vanguard Community Development is a stalwart champion of the Detroit’s Historic North End. Vanguard was founded in 1994 by Bishop Edgar Vann and Second Ebenezer Church. The Bishop was inspired by the wave of community based economic development sweeping across the country in the 90s. He decided to utilize his resources as a church founder and community leader to facilitate the revitalization of the physical, social and economic fabric of his congregation’s neighborhood.
Vanguard honors our history and, over the years, has evolved into an independent community based organization; no longer governed by Second Ebeneezer Baptist Church. Despite this, we continue to advocate and work for the North End. Our Vanguard Community Center and offices are located at 2795 East Grand Boulevard, as part of the North End Community Campus.