The first-of-its-kind Michigan historical marker will honor the musical legacy of Tex-Mex migrants in Michigan
The Martin H. Solis Jr. Tejano Association and the Michigan Music Hall of Fame have announced that an official state of Michigan historical marker in Southwest Detroit will be the first in the state to recognize the contributions of a Mexican community to Michigan history. The marker, which will be placed in the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation Plaza on the northeast corner of Bagley and 21st Streets, honors the legacy of Texas-Mexican migration to Michigan and the vibrant musical community that these migrants forged.
“Music draws us together across time, cultures, and geography,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center. “It is fitting that the first Michigan Historical Marker to commemorate the Latinx community of Detroit and Michigan should focus on Tejano contributions to the soundscape of Detroit. The Michigan Historical Commission and the Michigan History Center know there are many more stories that need to be told, and we look forward to sharing them in the years to come.”
The arrival of Texas-Mexican musical styles in Michigan was a by-product of labor migration to the state, particularly in the decades after World War II. Pockets of migrants in cities and towns across the Lower Peninsula established thriving musical cultures that largely escaped the attention of those outside the community, and that continue to this day. The new historical marker shines a light on the seldom acknowledged history and cultural contributions of Tejanos in Michigan.
“My dad never dreamed that one day his name would be on a historical marker. He just loved to play music,” said Frank Solis, president and co-founder of the Martin H. Solis Jr. Tejano Association. “It’s truly an honor for the state of Michigan to recognize and celebrate his legacy and the legacy of all of Michigan’s Tejano pioneers with this marker.”
The marker will be unveiled during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. A dedication ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29 at 2826 Bagley Street. Live music will be provided by local Tejano band Beto Salazar & Dos Guys. The event is free and open to the public.
The marker is a joint project between the Martin H. Solis Jr. Tejano Association and the Michigan Music Hall of Fame, with support from Third Man Records, the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation, the Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan, SCP Radio, and the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University.
The Martin H. Solis Jr. Association is a non-profit dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Tejano music pioneers in Michigan. Our goal is to ensure that our cultural heritage lives on for future generations, so that our children can carry forward our traditions and keep our community thriving. The association is named in honor of Martin Huron Solis Jr., a bajo sexto player and vocalist who, along with his cousin Willy Huron, in the 1950s formed one of the first conjuntos based in Michigan, Conjunto Los Primos.
The Michigan Music Hall of Fame has been established to store, collect, gather, procure, exhibit, perform, demonstrate, record, celebrate, research, study, publicize, publish and preserve Michigan music and its influences on local, regional, national and international music, art and culture. The Hall of Fame recognizes people involved in all genres to show off Michigan’s diverse musical heritage.
Additional information about the historic marker unveiling can be found at www.msolista.org