Resident to dive into Paradise Lake history

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, July 13, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — Sally Jo Conner will debut “Paradise,” a presentation on Paradise Lake, at 7 p.m. July 31 at the Ross Beatty High School Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County and Michigan Humanities Council.

Paradise Lake in Vandalia was a black resort started in the 1920s to provide black families a place to escape, unwind and enjoy each other in a peaceful environment. Customers came from Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis and many more places.  It was an idyllic escape for families weary of segregation and racism.  There were hotels, cottages, restaurants, nightclubs and celebrities too.

“It was the place to be for black people of that era,” said Cathy LaPointe, of the URSCC. “It was a place of fun, family and summers where kids wore nothing but bathing suits. If you spent summers on any lake, you’ll love this documentary by filmmaker Sally Jo Connor. No matter how you relate, this is a wonderful story that unites us all.  The film is free, donations are most appreciated.”

Conner asks that all guest wear masks, which will be available at the entrance table.