From the 1920’s through the mid-1960’s, one of Michigan’s most unforgettable ethnic tales played out around a small lake near Baldwin. Called Idlewild, the lake and community of the same name became one of the nation’s most renowned gathering spots for African-American intelligentsia and entertainers seeking easy relaxation within a segregated nation. Black Eden became Idlewild’s nickname, and entertainers included a who’s who of 20th-century musicians: Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis and Bill Cosby. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 opened resorts to blacks nationwide, Idlewild’s popularity slid to near oblivion. But devotees kept the resort’s spirit alive. Today families are buying lake properties and refurbishing long-neglected cottages. And a one-day summer jazz festival by the lake is recalling the verve of bygone days. The next Idlewild Jazz Festival happens August 1, 2009.—J.S.