‘Black Bottom Saints’ playing cards to celebrate Detroit’s Black culture, history
New York Times bestselling author Alice Randall announced that the images of Detroit tie icons will be featured in a series of playing cards titled Black Bottom Saints, named after her latest book.
Randall met with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and City Director of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship Rochelle Riley for a virtual presentation on Saturday afternoon.
The cards are “made in Detroit, distributed out of Detroit, and a significant portion of the proceeds will be returned directly to the city of Detroit,” Randall said.
Randall said that Jimmy James Green, an apprentice to Detroit and Michigan artist Jon Onye Lockard, designs the back of the cards.
“It’s going to be a card from Black Bottom. It’s going to be so exciting,” Randall said.
Randall’s book “Black Bottom Saints,” published in August, is set in the legendary, predominantly African-American neighborhood of the city that was demolished in the 1960s for urban renewal and the construction of the Chrysler Freeway.
The first deck of the Black Bottom Saints cards will be what Randall calls the Legacy Edition.
“We had people asking about them all over the country,” she said. “We’re just thrilled that they are produced in Detroit and distributed from Detroit. We hope this is an invitation for everyone around the world to celebrate the arts, activism, athletics and industry in Detroit that are shared by everyone in Detroit, and to celebrate the special black history in Detroit that all black Americans consider to be The American’s exhibit includes Excellence Made in Detroit. “
Duggan, who said he had read and was intrigued by Randall’s book, said her connection to the city was reflected on every page. Randall was born in Detroit but said she moved out of town as a child.
“Playing cards bring to life the people you tell the stories on,” Duggan told Randall. “Thank you for your contribution to the city.”
Duggan said his favorite black bottom saint was Richard “Night Train” Lane, who played for the Detroit Lions from 1960-1965. He said his father was a fan.
Randall held up Lane’s playing card, as well as the playing cards with the Ziggy Johnson School of Theater, the Gotham Hotel, and Detroit sculptor Artis Lane, whose bust of Rosa Parks lies in President Joe Biden’s Oval Office.
The Gotham Hotel was home to the Detroit Shutterbug Club, Randall said, adding that a virtual Shutterbug Club is reopening and people are invited to dress up like positive icons from Detroit.
Randall also announced that Green will paint a collage portrait of Duggan as the Black Bottom Saint.
“I can’t wait to see it,” said Duggan.
The announcements were followed by a virtual book event with Randall and Riley with Source Booksellers in Midtown Detroit, where they discussed Detroit’s black history and changed the way children are raised.
Riley recently published That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World.