Love Introduces Bill to Honor Detroit Civil Rights Pioneer
LANSING — State Representative Leslie Love (D-Detroit) introduced House Bill 6349 that will rename a portion of M-10 in the City of Detroit as the Reverend Nicholas Hood, Senior Memorial Highway.
The section includes the intersections between Forrest Avenue and Temple Street. Love said Rev. Hood served the Detroit community in both the political and religious arenas for several decades, as well as being a Civil Rights pioneer, yet there is no lasting tribute in the city to this Detroit icon.
“He did so much for Detroit, the civil rights movement, and people with disabilities. We often recognize celebrities and fallen war heroes, but we also have civil rights leaders whose contributions and sacrifices are just as profound and life-changing,” Love said. “Rev. Hood is to Detroiters what Dr. King was to Atlanta, and future generations should know about the great things he did to advance social justice.”
Among Rev. Hood’s many accomplishments include:
- As the Senior Pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church, Rev. Hood created a housing ministry and spearheaded the building and development of the first church-sponsored 230-unit apartment complex for low to moderate income residents.
- Rev. Hood founded Cyprian Center in honor of his daughter, Sarah Cyprian Hood, to help developmentally‑disabled adults live a productive life. Through the agency, which had an annual budget of more than $3 million, programs and buildings were developed to accommodate developmentally disabled, a partial-day program, an assisted living facility for emotionally impaired adults and a respite center for caregivers.
- He laid the groundwork for the first church-sponsored charter school in Michigan.
- Rev. Hood was also a civil rights pioneer and icon. At his first posting following graduation from Yale University Divinity School at the Central Congregational Church in New Orleans, he was one of the founding members of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as its leader.
- He marched with Dr. King, and he was on hand when Dr. King tried out his famous “I had a dream” speech at the “Detroit Walk to Freedom” down Woodward Avenue two months before he made the speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1963.
- In 1965 Rev. Hood took his fight to improve conditions for those economically disadvantaged, discriminated against and developmentally disabled adults to government, and he was elected to the Detroit City Council where he served for 28 years. He was only the second African-American to serve on the Council, and he opened the door for others to follow, including the city’s first African-American mayor a decade later.