4th Annual Idlewild Weekend
July 14 - July 15$10
Ms. Gill spent many years as a dancer on the Historic grounds of Idlewild, Michigan. On July 14 and 25, 2018 she will return to Idlewild and share historic stories and photos of what was once a wealthy, entrepreneurial and entertainment community of African Americans.
Idlewild was a popular resort for African Americans seeking refuge from racist Jim Crow laws.
Idlewild, was a place were blacks could relax and enjoy the outdoors without the burden and humiliation of segregation. Popular black singers, dancers and comedians entertained in clubs like the Paradise and Flamingo. Ms. Gill met and befriended famous Motown entertainers The Four Tops and the Temptations.
The Who’s Who of black historic entertainers who spent time in Idlewild: Della Reese, Jackie Wilson, T-Bone Walker, George Kirby, The Four Tops, Brook Benton, Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis, Bill Cosby, Moms Mabley, Fats Waller, Billy Eckstein, and many others.
After her career at Idlewild, Carlean Gill moved to Saginaw and attended beauty college before opening Carlean’s Beauty Salon. She then opened Saginaw Beauty Academy and Saginaw Barber College. She is renowned for her hair weaving technique for cancer patients, and has been honored by the City of Saginaw and the State of Michigan as an outstanding African American businesswoman. In addition to her modeling and business careers, she owned and operated a horse farm and raised a daughter.