A People's History of Grand Rapids by Jeff Smith


SKU pod9781957169323

Jeff Smith has been part of social movement work for more than four decades in Grand Rapids. He co-founded the Koinonia House, which practiced radical hospitality for the unhoused and was a Sanctuary for Central American refugees fleeing US-sponsored terrorism in the 1980s.
Jeff spent a significant amount of time doing accompaniment work in Central America and Mexico, working with and learning from movement organizers in those countries. Jeff started the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy in 1998 and The Grand Rapids People’s History Project in 2010. Jeff and his partner have several rescue dogs, and he loves to work in his garden. This is Jeff’s third book.

A People’s History of Grand Rapids should be required reading for everyone seeking to understand the history, structure, and current manifestations of White Supremacy in Grand Rapids.
- Dante James, Emmy-award-winning filmmaker

In the midst of our crises laden if not collapsing society, A People’s History of Grand Rapids is a timely...important work that needs to be read and shared.
- Dr. Michael Ott, Emeritus Associate Professor of Sociology, Grand Valley State University

Each chapter reminds me that we are not alone; instead, we are part of a rich tradition of fighting against the powers that be.
- Ames Carpenter, Community organizer


Jeff Smith used the concept of the People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn and applied it to the history of Grand Rapids. As far as he is aware, this is the first such history at the local level.