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Coleman Young, Revisited

It's been a dozen years since the death of Detroit's first black mayor, Coleman A. Young. So why does he remain such a provocative, and perhaps misunderstood, figure?

First, a backgrounder: He was born in rural Alabama, in 1918. His family was part of the first mass exodus of Southern blacks to settle in Detroit in the 1920s. The region was, at the time, on the cusp of an unprecedented economic and cultural boom driven largely by the automotive industry. During World War II, he served in the Army and with the Tuskeegee Airmen. Then, he became a leading United Auto Workers activist, and in 1964 was elected to Michigan's legislature. Nine years later, he was elected Detroit's mayor -- part of the first wave of blacks to manage major American cities. TIME chronicled Young's 1974 inauguration this way:

Last week Detroiters put aside traditional enmities—poor v. rich, labor v. management, black v. white—for three days of inaugural celebration. The theme was reconciliation. U.S. District Court Judge Damon Keith, who is black, and State Supreme Court Justice John Swainson, who is white, administered the oath of office to Young in unison.

At a sellout luncheon for 3,500 in Cobo Hall the next day, Young received fervent promises of support from Henry Ford II and United Automobile Workers President Leonard Woodcock. The festivities culminated in an inaugural ball Friday night in the flower-festooned hall, where more than 8,000 people danced the night away.

To Young, 55, the son of a tailor raised in Detroit's Black Bottom ghetto, the celebration seemed "more like a coronation than an inauguration." It capped a lifetime of fighting for black rights, first as a union organizer at the Ford Motor Co. in the late 1930s, later as a leader of the leftist National Negro Labor Council in the '50s and as a politician in the '60s. A state senator since 1964, he fought for passage of an open-housing law and against a ban on busing children to integrate schools. In both cases, whites from the Detroit area were among his leading opponents. But no one knows better than Young that Detroit is governable only with the cooperation of the city's white power bro kers in industry and labor. Thus he declared: "We can no longer afford the luxury of bigotry and hatred. What is good for the black people of this city is good for the white people of this city."

A single line of Young's inaugural address would come to define much of his tenure: “I issue this warning to all those pushers, to all rip-off artists, to all muggers: It's time to leave Detroit; hit Eight Mile Road!” Many here still interpret it as the statement that drove whites, and much of this region's wealth, out of Detroit.

To better understand Young, consider his relationship with Bill Milliken, a Republican who served as governor for much of Young's tenure. They were, in many ways, an odd couple: Milliken is from Traverse City, Mich., in the state's northwestern corner, a rural region that often views Detroit with the same derision that, say, Peoria views Chicago. Young was an outspoken, unapologetic urban Democrat. Nevertheless, the men developed a bond on Young's trips to Michigan's capital, Lansing. “I felt very strongly, right from the beginning, that if Detroit did not do well, and did not succeed, it would have an enormous bearing on the whole state of Michigan,” Milliken told me recently. The former governor recalls making the politically risky case for using state funds to salvage Detroit's public libraries, and the Detroit Institute of the Arts.

Young served five mayoral terms. The consensus seems to be that may have been two terms too many. He provided many opportunities, especially for professional blacks. But in many ways, Young left Detroit a shell. His dream of a turnaround – led by major projects like the 73-story Renaissance Center overlooking the Detroit River, and a downtown monorail known as the People Mover – never truly materialized. He died on Nov. 30, 1997. Young's successor, Dennis Archer Sr., remembered Young this way in the Detroit Free Press: “The people of this city have lost a great warrior…. He is really one of the greatest mayors for urban America.” In sharp contrast, L. Brooks Patterson, who remains chief executive of Oakland County, Mich., a Detroit suburb, told the newspaper this about his longtime adversary: “He was singly responsible for the demise of Detroit…I can see he was a significant political force, but I don't think he marshaled his energies in a constructive way. I think he was destructive.”

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  • 1

    Yawn....Tired recycled commentary with the same soundbites from the usual suspects i.e Brooks Patterson..

    Often the folks who have contempt for CY's legacy are angry whites and black apologists seeking to crave out some affirmation from whites..

    Coleman was an ICON who probably served one term to many at the end

  • 2

    One thing Detroit has is potential. I remember Young a little and I remember his sense of potential for our beloved Detroit.
    Smart people will come to Detroit.
    "Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom."
    People sense potential and here in Detroit we have an open field for people to stake their claim and create what they want.
    Where else can you get that?

  • 3

    An important read on Coleman Young is Ed Glaeser's paper, "The Curley Effect" from the Harvard Institute of Economic Research. To quote –

    We call this strategy — increasing the relative size of one's political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies — the Curley effect. But it is hardly unique to Curley. Other American mayors, but also politicians around the world, pursued policies that encouraged emigration of their political enemies, raising poverty but gaining political advantage. In his 24 years as mayor, Detroit's Coleman Young drove white residents and businesses out of the city. “Under Young, Detroit has become not merely an American city that happens to have a black majority, but a black metropolis, the first major Third World city in the United States. The trappings are all there – showcase projects, blackfisted symbols, an external enemy, and the cult of personality”

    • 3.1

      I don't think truer words could be said. "The Curley Effect" is dead on for the money. Detroit was hoodwinked along time ago by the very people that were elected to do good for the city, and all the blame kicked up to the burbs.

      Oh well maybe Bing will get it all right, but I would hate to be in his shoes.

      I was around during the Coleman years, a little to young to understand what was happening then, But now as I look back on the "accomplishment" that he brought to the city.

      Jobs? Nope... Education? Nope... Hope? Ha ha ha! Oh yeah wait.... The people mover. Uh hummm what else I know there must be something else he did to spur the community on with progress..... Nope can't think of it.

      Wait oh yeah he had a child then said it was not his, then recanted that, (His kid by the way changed his name to ride the coat tail of his father that did not want him to begin with)

      The FBI was on him for kickbacks, but they were told to let it go by those up top, so says the rumor mill.

      All of the projects that are memorable today that he had a hand in have become unremarkable to be honest. Really can we really brag about the Renaissance building, it is nothing special to look at, or Joe Louis Arena, or the people mover for that matter, has any of that enhanced the lure of Detroit.

      Sure he helped with segregation and civil rights issues, but did it really help the people or did it help him more? I would say by the current state of the city and its residents it was more for his sake then theirs.

      Should we all look back on the legacy of a mayor and congratulate him for what he left behind in the wake of his rule, The rule that ruined a city, for the ego of himself. I hope a lesson can be learned form his failures in building a community and that Bing will make it all work some how.

      I would love to be proud to say that Detroit is my home, but instead it is embarrassing.

  • 4

    May good stay good and be protected, and the evil can be caught for the sake of justice.

  • 5

    While it's easy to jump all over CAY for Detroit's issues, I would still like to see a detailed analysis of the effects of the City Charter revision that went into effect around the same time Young took office.

    • 5.1

      Amen to this. Thirty-plus years of at-large representation in the city legislature (among other things) certainly has played its own (under-examined) role in determining the city's current fortunes.

    • 5.2

      The at-large system goes back to the early 1900s.

      The 1970s revision was intended to simplify the Charter, which had been amended multiple times since its last revision. It appears to have been over-simplified and stripped of the amount of detail, restraints, checks and balances, for it to be an adequate document.

      Imagine - if KK hadn't been paid to go away he'd probably still be sitting in office waging legal battles against everything the Governor, Council, et. al. throw at him.

  • 6

    Also a little known fact about the former mayor: His racially motivated busing program encouraged my parents to move the suburbs where I received an education from a functioning public school system. Thanks Coleman!

  • 7

    The Curley Effect is some academic theory babble..Fact is no one man can destroy a city or region that reality requires an entire culture..

    Clearly whites fled the city inpart as a result of thier fear of parity and racial contempt for non-whites..Denial, Deflection, Disinformation will not change this truth..

    CY was an Icon for whites and others to blame him for the city's demise reveals how shallow and mypoic and cowardly they are..

    • 7.1

      But G, my man, CY was IN CHARGE, for many years, andhad complete control politically... sooooo who else to blame....

      If you can't take the fire, stay away from the fireplace!!

  • 8

    As a lifetime Detroiter, I agree with L.Brooks Patterson's comment that Coleman "was singly responsible for the demise of Detroit." And I will add especially in his last three terms. Also to "dan from detroit", Coleman was not in favor of bussing in the Detroit school district, which was then already majority black with a few predominatly white schools along the city's perimeter and southwest Detroit. That case was initiated by the NAACP. A revisitation of the Supreme Court decision of 1974 allowing Detroit only bussing is worth reivisitng by TIME reporters. I am not sure but I think the decision allows for reopening the case should the Detroit district become so segregated that integration of any sort is impossible. And that is the state of DPS today, more segregated than ever. Strange that white school board members back then wanted specialized magnet schools to attract students rather than forced bussing. But the NAACP did not go along with that and were even told by one white school board member, whose name I remember but won't mention, that what they want amounts to all predominantly black or one-race schools. Again, those years compared to what is today would make an interesting story. Today's Detroit demographics are much of a result of that 1974 US Supreme Court decision.

    • 8.1

      I think there is probably a lot of truth in what you write. In this country, not just Detroit, white people have a real aversion to their children being minorites in the educational (or any other) setting. You are more like to see a classroom with one or two black children and the rest white than you are to see a classroom with one or two white childrenm, the rest black. Specialized magnet schools might have attracted some of the white population to such schools.
      For 7th grade I transferred to Dixon Elementary which was way out Tireman rather than go to Durfee, my neighborhood school. I was one of five black students in the school, and the only one in my class. Things that happened during that year will always be with me. I then transferred to Mettetal. Mettetal was much more "welcoming" in that there were about 40 black students, including some students who I already knew. We see racial segregation in the public schools of most major cities. Washington, DC, has a small number of schools that are majority white. There are no simple answers to the problems the city faces.

  • 9

    I voted for Coleman in 1972 when I was 18; it was the first time 18 year olds could vote. I was home from college for the inaugural and went to the Cobo event (I thought it was a breakfast, not a luncheo) where he made that famous quote. From that time on, and this is a broad statement, the white people/suburbs hated Coleman. The antagonism never went away.
    It is important to remember why and how Coleman was elected: the police department had a plainclothed unit, STRESS (Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets) which had killed a number of people. Coleman said if he were elected, he would disband STRESS. This was a big issue for the black community. He was elected; STRESS was disbanded. It was a good thing to get rid of a band of police officers that were serving as judge, jury, and executioners. (The crime problem, however, continued to grow.) That antagonistic relationship with the suburbs did not help Detroit. Both sides should recognize the symbiotic relationship that exists between them. I frankly believe that Detroit will not be a great city again (and I loved growing up in Detroit, and I love it now with all its good and bad), as long as it has a population that is 90% black and with double digit unemployment and a large segment of the population below the poverty level. Detroit needs a tax base---which it has lost--and services in order to attrack a middle-class population that is committed to staying there for years. For the middle-class, black and white, to return, Detroit needs schools and services. There are no national grocery stores in Detroit. And the entire city needs to really come to grips with the crime situation that has enveloped the whole area. My elderly mother lived with bars and chains and deadbolt locks and security doors and burglar alarms on the house and car plus a kill-switch on the car and a padlock on the front gate. There are lots of places in the country where you don't have to live like that. By the time we sold her house last year---we moved there in 1955--the surrounding area looked like an abandoned, bombed out war zone. I didn't like taking my son to such an environment though people and places we loved are there. This doesn't mean that we didn't visit Detroit (we live in Maryland), but I often found the situation painful. It is disheartening the reaction that people out this way will have when you say you are from Detroit or going to Detroit because of the images and stories that get reported from there.

  • 10

    You are right it does take an entire culture to destroy a city, Just look what has happened to Detroit. You Constantly blame the white people for the demise of the city, the politics of the region or racism.

    Get over yourself, and smell some reality here. Coleman was at the helm far to long and when people point out what is and was apparently wrong and can be documented you call it "academic theory babble".

    Coleman may have been an "ICON" but he was not a very good leader. He may have had charisma but we all know Kwame had that too, where did that get him.

    • 10.1

      agree with this post, blaming game is not productive or promising to peace, humanity, and unity here, especially this country has people from mote than 100 nations...

      Thank you for the critical thinking skills shown here.

      You are brave to speak out for truth

      appreciating fears

      Let me know you stopped by., thumbs up!

  • 11

    Oh Above that was for you gthrasher Just in case you were wondering:)

  • 12

    I wasn't here then... but I understand that many toasted his passing.....

  • 13

    I was here and many people respected him in life and death...It remains revealing how so many whites and many Blacks often need scapegoats to explain decay, failure and the shortcomings of a society rather than examine the facts and even thier role in the mix..

    KK and CAY are not the same people all Black folks really are different in many respects..

    I do not blame people I simply document and issue posts based upon history, emperical data and my cultural dna experiences..

    The majority of Whites during this period in Detroit's history fled, abandoned, cut and run from the city based upon fear, myth, propaganda and all manner of contempt and ignorance for thier fellow americans..

    You can create all the fiction to make it easy to escape culpabiltiy and accountibility but the facts remaiin the same ...

    Tragic truth about the decay and meltdown of the city was that it never had to be that way..

    • 13.1

      you always mention how the Whites left because of "fear, Myth, or what ever".

      Funny part is so what if they did, By what you write, I should believe that it is the fault of white people that Detroit is the way it is? Because they "left"?!

      So if the Whites would have stayed, by what I'm getting out of what you write, Detroit would be a better place then it is now?

      Oh no all the white people left and took all the jobs and money with them, what are we gonna do?

      But you are again right about one thing it never had to happen, but guess what it did.

      Or are you gonna say that the powers that be in the suburbs were the cause of it all, do you think that the people who left Detroit wanted to leave or were they forced to leave because of crime and corruption. The only thing that is stopping me from living in Detroit is that it is a waste land and education sucks, if it was nice and the crime was lower and the schools were not so bad, I would be living there right now. I don't care that I have black neighbors. but I do care if I live next to abandon houses and rampant crime.

  • 14

    You should read your posts before you spit them out of course my skills creates emotional wrecks like you especially when the subject matter is about race and racism..

    Please spare me your phony declarations about moving back to the city and living next to Black Folks as if your presence really mattered or had some value..Hell why would Black folks want to live next to you given your contempt for anything Black..

    In summary it is people like you that have made this region and nor nation what it has become today a weak simple minded world where myth, fiction, unproven allegations, shallow inferences have more value than truth, justice and the american way..

    Truth I doubt if you know any Black folks on any meaningful personal level, you are like your chatter class associates all knowing and knowing nothing..

    People like you like thier lives based upon hearsay and fear and ignorance.. People like you make life tough for folks just trying to make it by in a mean city that Detroit has become...Your ignorance is as lethal as any red neck bigot... You just hide yours and attack folks like me who have the courage to confront truth..

    Yet people like you make my life worthwhile..I like educating empty vessels like you...I always make a diffference becuase I am a difference maker..

    • 14.1

      you truly are a piece of work, All words and no real substance to speak of. You point the finger yet you don't offer any from of discussion that is worth merit, You talk of ICON'S yet you offer up no pro's to the effect.

      You tell people how they feel based on your own opinion, then rip them for stating a fact, You make the argument about race, when the argument is not about race at all.

      You say I don't know how to have a meaningful personal relationship with black people but you can't even for a minute think that that is true because you don't know.

      You just assume because I am white that it can not be so, what a shame for you to have so much hate.

      You truly are the empty vessel that you speak of, weaving words like a scholar, like a teacher of life...

      To bad your not a student of life you might learn more that way. You might just learn to forgive and forget, and to look at the man next to you and smile at him in earnest.

      Funny thing though about me, I would be the first to lend a hand to you, but you mean spirited ways would weaken even the strongest grasp.

    • 14.2

      Come on Robert, don't be so hard on thrasher. The only argument he has is that every problem has been caused by whites and their racism. It is a conveneint way to go through life by just blaming everything on everybody else. By his way of thinking, there is no way that anybody who lives in Detroit or has been running things in Detroit could have caused the problems there. It is all the fault of those whites and uncle tom blacks that fled the city looking for something better than the wasteland that Coleman Young helped bring about.

      I actually feel sorry for thrasher because he is just as racist as any klan member or skinhead. You can hear the exact same hate and rhetoric that he spews at any klan rally.

    • 14.3

      @chilepepper99: maybe thrasher is a member of the Call 'Em Out Coalition :-)

      It really hasn't helped around here that the black community itself in recent decades has endured a schism between those who are essentially black separatists, disparaging any black leaders who don't at least give lip service to separatist ideas, and the rest.

  • 15

    Lol,Lol,Lol,..I love it when I can solict ugly venom from folks in a chat forum..I mean I have been called everything in this forum from a racist , black separatist to a klan clone...Whew what's next a nasty Black commie..!!

    It never fails simply for just reciting historical data and historical accounts of racism and ethic discord in this region and our nation one must endure the venom of people like robert prince, anounce of action, chileppper99 and others..

    None of these reactions of course are a surprise I expect anger and venom from some whites who resent and are embrassed by the legacy of racism both past and present...I understand how many whites who harbor liberal angst and guilt get angry about my writings and commentary but such is life..

    Truth is so many more whites respect and admire my candid and honest dialouge many of course like those I noted have to evolve and get the hate and anger out of thier system..Such maturation is tough for many whites whose dna is full of white privledge and arrogance..The pathologies of white racism stains the host at the end of day more than its victims..

    Of course I understand and I forgive them in part becuase my personal and cultural dna does not allow for racism and personal hate of human beings especially those in a chat forum...

    • 15.1

      BWWWWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHA......thrasher, that was the best one yet.

      Keep it up man, you marginalize yourself more and more every time you post on this forum. Your responses are so arrogant and meaningless, that all I can do is shake my head and laugh at you.

      Oh, and one more thing, from one proud black man to another: you are the worse kind of racist that there is. The kind who uses racism as every excuse for every shortfall that he has, and honestly believes that he is above being a racist.

      Flame away, I could use another good laugh :)

    • 15.2


      It really is amazing, I have gone back and read most of the posts that you have made, none of them were helpful to the topic. They were all nonconstructive at best. I see a theme here. Chilepepper99 is on the mark about you.

      Oh and by the way I did liken you to a communist in one of the earlier blogs.

      Reciting historical data on racism does not benefit any one to be honest, moving forward against it is the path we all should take, the sad part is that it will more then always exist. Funny how most of the posters who are white never really bring up color when talking about issues of Detroit. But you bring it up all the time.... I would be just as opinionated if Coleman was white, I know you don't believe me because I'm the devil in your eyes.

      A person of you level will never be able to as you said make me an "emotional wreck". I am far stronger emotionally as well as mentally for that to ever happen.

      All of the posts here have had merit, either good or bad, about the former Mayor Coleman, All except yours that is, in spite of you calling him an ICON. You have not added to the general good, yes you have caused a little spur of excitement in myself and other posters. The best part (for you) is that we all kind bought into it, to call you out for what you are.

      But from now on Gthrasher, I will not reply to your nonsense anymore, and I would hope that the other posters will follow in not pandering into your egotistic psycho babel, because if you have no audience your voice of hate, and the bitter tone it takes will never be heard. Being that you like your voice so much and the drivel that emanates from it, it will be a worse punishment for you to be ignored.

  • 16

    I knew Coleman Young and had several interactions with him--some positive; some not so positive. I write about them in "A Life on the RUN - Seeking and Safeguarding Social Justice," my 480-page autobiography about Detroit (

    Mayor Young was a friend and a big supporter of my colleagues on the Board of Directors of the old (and now-defunct) Detroit Varsity Club--a group of Detroiters who were prominent ex-athletes who raised money to send second-string Detroit Public School athletes to college via our annual Bob-lo Boat Ride and other fundraising venues.

    Past presidents of the Board were 1940s WSU Olympic and All-American sprinter/long-jumper Lorenzo Wright, Prof. William Wasson of Wayne State University, Detroit Central High School All-American quarter-miler Cliff Hatcher--my Penn Relays mile-relay champion teammate at WSU in 1956, my star quarter-milers at Southeastern HS and Pershing HS in the 1960s--Rev. Arkles C. Brooks, Jr. and Reggie Bradford, who later starred at the University of Michigan, myself--an All-American and world-ranked sprinter at WSU in 1957, old Detroit Lion cornerback Dick "Night Train" Lane, and former WSU tennis star Del Russell, who was a probation officer who helped me keep my track athletes on the straight-and-narrow, and who later was appointed by Mayor Young's predecessor to the Directorship of the Police Athletic League and was fired from that job in 1974 by Mayor Young (over my vehement protest).

    In a local news magazine article written by John Gallagher in the early 1990s, I took considerable flack from Young staffers by stating that the Mayor had outlived his effectiveness, and although I am and always will be a Coleman Young fan, I still stand by that statement.

    Time Magazine's young dynamo Steven Gray badly needs to read my book to understand how the recent inept, corrupt school boards and top administrators-- of whom for a short while I was a part (albeit a competent and incorruptible part!)--have destroyed the Detroit Public Schools and thus egregiously compromised the future of our city, where I was born (74 years ago), raised, educated kindergarten through graduate school, and still reside. I welcome Time Magazine and Mr. Gray, our intrepid new mayor and fellow old-time All-American Dave Bing (a Syracuse University and old-time Detroit Piston star), and new DPS financial manager Robert Bobb. To say that they havetheir work cut out for them would be the understatement of the decade. We must do all we can to help them get our once-great city and school system out of this disgraceful mess.

    - Dr. John Telford
    retired suburban school superintendent, former WSU adjunct professor, member of the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame (inducted 1978), WSU Distinguished Alumnus of the Year (2001--for civil rights activism), author of the Michigan Chronicle's bi-weekly Telford's Telescope column, founder of the 257-member Detroit Track Old-Timers, and long-time board member and past chairman, Detroit Team for Justice

    • 16.1

      I appreciate your well considered remarks. I, too, was born and educated in Detroit: Roosevelt, Dixon, Mettetal, and Cass Tech. I tell people all the time that I received and excellent education from the DPS. I had many committed and inspired teachers, and I was well prepared when I went off to college in Connecticut. That is why I just cannot fathom what has happened to the school system for the last three decades. Why has the electorate tolerated this situation? If the city does not have good, SAFE schools, it will not be able to sustain or attract a tax base as I said above.
      I was aware of entertainers and athletes when I was a kid. But the people who were the true role models from me were the people around me: my parents, neighbors, my teachers, my friends's parents.
      There is no question that Coleman Young was a major figure. That does not also mean that everything he did was right. You are correct, he did stay in office too long, and the city suffered because of that.
      There is also a lot to be said about the Detroit City Council and its composition. Could there be a grouip of less professional politicians? As a result of the election and other events, some of the most outrageous council members will not be returning.

      The discussion on this blog can serve a very useful purpose. However, when posters descend to personal attacks the cause is not advanced. The citizens of Detroit have played a role in its demise. That is very true. However, so have those outside of Detroit: individuals, governments, and corporations.

  • 17

    @ Robertprince,

    SO that means I will not get a christmas card nor an invite. to your family party.....Such is life

  • 18


    WoW I must really push your angry negro buttons...Whew get real man this is a chat forum...Please refrain from calling me names just becuase I dare to have an opinon about race and racism..

    I have no idea what you are referring to ..My personal DNA does not allow for any racism or prejudice ..Sorry but I was not raised that way...

    You really need to step away from the keyboard ..Your envy of me has got you posting fiction about me..Whew I know how racism has stained so many Black folks ..You have it bad ..

  • 19

    HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE, man thrasher, if nothing else, you are predictable. The only thing you left out was calling me sambo :) Nothing that you can say or call me matters to me in the least. I've been called nastier names buy far smarter folks than you.

    His arguments are so stupid that they are laughable, and at my age, a good laugh is the best medicine there is.

    Keep on trolling thrasher, your comedy makes me feel young again.

  • 20


    So in other words I am right about your intellectual cowardice in attacking me for having a perspective about race and racism that does not comport with yours..You really need to measure up in here with regard to my comments it is apparent you cannot separate me from my posts..

    BTW I do not invoke white folks racial terms like i.e sambo, uncle tom etc..I perfer to use my verbaige Black apologist etc..I understand how the pathologies of white privledge and white supremacy has wounded so many people of color and continues to wound..

    I would suggest you read today's NTY editorial section Charles Blow nails it and confirms yet again my premise on this thread and in my other body of work..

    You really need to measure up in here and stop hiding behind an alias that is also weak ..I never hide,lol,lol

  • 21

    Scoreboard Baby. Detroit sucks because of crime and the crime causes even more poverty.

    Blame whites all you, but the white suburbs are more or less safe. At the very least, they cannot come close to the devastation that is Detroit.

    When men abandon their offspring in droves and the women do not seem to care (and keep having more abandoned babies), it is not the fault of the suburbanites.

    Coleman and others from the great migration left the south, just as white Detroiter's left the city. Why did they leave the south? Because it sucked. Now they are still here. Some have risen up, taken advantage of the northern opportunities, and many have not. So what is left is crime, poverty and ignorance in the city, witnessed by just driving around the place with your eyes open.

    Even if you want to list "reasons" for all the black dysfunction, how do reasons help anything, other than justification? Just stop out of wedlock births, stop drug dealing, stop murdering. No one is forcing anybody to do these things.

    Finally, the story of Sambo is about and Indian, not an African. Just another example of woe is me racism seen everywhere by gt et al.

  • 22

    Johnlodge's last phrase just reveals how backward his comments are. The orgin of the Sambo story is not revelant the usage of the term in our nation is revelant and it confirms yet again how pervasive white supremacy and the pathology of white racism on the planet including India the orgin of this racist tale..

    His need to defend and make excuses for white racism and responsibility is no surprise it has always been a anchor of white privledge making excuses, scapegoating and denial.

    The need to invoke racist themes like childbirth themes( whites of wedlock births are very high despite thier privledge status)drug dealing( majority of drug users and dealers have always been whites)murder rates( serial killers, domestic terrorists are majority white males)

    The raw non pc truth is that dsyfunction of the majority white culture has damaged for country for centuries from every spectrum of life economics, civil rights, illegal wars , defective leadership, immorality etc..

    It would take centuries for the scoreboard to be balanced with regard to parity, equality between the races in our country..of course on this thread I have no problem leading the,lol,lol

  • 23

    Dr John Telford and mettetal68 provide thoughtful and insightful points of view. I was born and raised in Detroit for 21 years, before I left the state for a job. I returned in 1982, and started living in the suburbs. Not because I didn't want to live in the city, but because of proximity to my next job. I still live in the suburbs, but do consider Detroit my home town.

    My parents sent me to a parochial grade school in NW Detroit, and a parochial high school. During the 8 years I was in grade school my class of roughly 30 students transitioned from 3 African Americans in 1st grade to 4 white students in 8th grade. Four years later my senior year in high school was almost exactly 50% of each. That was in 1973. Many kid's parents, black or white, were paying to have their children get a good education, regardless of their religious beliefs or need for a religious education. If there was a feeling that the Detroit Public Schools were failing, it was not a racial issue, it was perception. Many of the Detroit Public Schools were fine. But perception was, and is, reality.

    Many of the articles posted on the TIME blog talk about hope. Some rehash it's history. Regardless of what the blog entry is about, it seemingly rekindles or ignites the history of white flight, racial overtones, who was at fault, and why. If TIME uses any or all of this to wrap up it's year here, they'd have an entire book, not one issue of a magazine.

    Is it possible to move forward? I hope so. When the blog posts flow into finger pointing over the past and present, it then proves that Detroit is one of, if not the most racially segregated areas in the country. I and many other metro Detroiters want to move past that. We just want to see, and hopefully help, our metro area move off the front pages to become a non-story.

  • 24

    @modown: You are so correct, It seems we all (black and white) look back to often and see what has happened in the past. I know I look back and see the Detroit I knew of my childhood and wish it would be that way again. Shopping at Hudson's and dining out with my parents. It truly is all of our faults that our once great city has fallen to its knees.

    I used to hate going downtown, Why? Well because I was a white boy in Detroit. But I have learned that to me it should not matter that I am white in Detroit. I like the city, I like all of it. Yes I do drive around and wonder at the demise of it all. I have "pointed the finger" if you will, but at the same time I have also said to myself WTF! How has it got this bad?!

    I guess the worst part is that I know that I can not fix it, it will take the whole village to do that, and that wont happen till we all get over our selves. Detroit has become the most segregated city in America, and that should not be the way we want it. Even if the powers that be can't help or won't help, we should all stand up and make them do what is right. Too long have we all stood by feeling helpless, now is the time to make the city right, and the people right too.

    It may have all started before Coleman, but it carried on with him and has been spread to every one of us in the Detroit and it's surrounding communities like some perverse disease, all we need to cure it is a little hard work and some understanding form all of us. A little love of the human race, not what race we are. We all played a roll in the demise of the city, now we all must play a roll again, but this time to heal the city and the people that call it home, and for those that will hopefully call it home again.

    The scars of Mayors past will only hinder if we keep reaching down and bringing up the failures, yes, there have been a lot, so lets start with some good.

  • 25

    Unlike so many revisionists posters on this site who shame and embrassment lead them to feel it is important to ignore history and to delete the truths of this region's past makes me want to puke..

    It is exactly this type of cowardice and in ability to confront this region's tragic legacy which has this region going in cirlces and circles again and again and again..

    It is not backward to understand history and the lessons of history HOPE is worthless without any foundation or basis to pivot from..Unlike so many impotent posters in here who lack grit and principle I have zero plans to ignore, deflect and stay in denial about the truth of this region....

    I will continue to progress and educate and discuss how this region's racial legacy still stains our collective futures..I will continue to confront the pathologies of white privledge and the low self worth of Black apologists and other weak people of color in this region who accept and tolerate the underdevelopment of those in the white ruling class.

    The most lethal and anti progressive force in this region is not residents of the city but those who continue to beat it into submission..

    They know who they are many post nonsense on this very site

  • 26

    Goodbye Detroit, I lived there my whole life, and will never come back. Infact the surrounding burbs suck, the whole place is boring, backwards, and stuck. My father told me 20 years ago, to move out, detroit aint never gonna be a good place to live, and he was right. I'm not here to help a bunch of stranger's, I'm here to help my own family, and raise them in the best environment I can. First help yourself and stay away from bad influence, nothin in Detroit but bad, unless you like crack. Young and Hart, yea i remember when they found all that money up in Police Chief Harts ceiling, If the police Chief is stealing all that money, then I was sure everybody else in that stinking admin was stealing too, goodbye detroit you will never come back or move forward.

  • 27

    [...] his 1974 inauguration, newly elected Detroit Mayor Coleman Young shouted a warning to criminals: “Hit Eight Mile,” he said, promising his new [...]

  • 28

    [...] his 1974 inauguration, newly elected Detroit Mayor Coleman Young shouted a warning to criminals: “Hit Eight Mile,” he said, promising his new [...]

  • 29

    [...] people abandoning Detroit to the ravages of the Black Undertow, who promptly elected Coleman Young - the city’s first Black mayor – and watched as The Motor City started an unprecedented collapse in human history that [...]

  • 30

    [...] the most polarizing political figure — perhaps even more so than legendary shit-stirrer Coleman Young — to ever come around, with half of Detroiters young and old clinging heavily to golden days [...]

  • 31

    [...] Coleman Young was mayor who ran on the Democratic ticket from 1974 to 1993, but was a member of the US Communist Party; labeled anyone who disagreed or opposed him as a racist. His police chief was convicted in 1992 for stealing $2.6 million of those in the city that actually paid taxes. Other convictions occurred as time went on, like Rep. John Conyers [D-MI] guilty of federal bribery charges. Mayor Kwami Kilpatrick resigned in 2008 and only spent 120 days in jail for two felony charges and in 2010; he violated his terms of probation and sentenced to five years in prison. It looks similar to the city of Chicago's record of corruption. The city continues its cycle of corruption through 2012. [...]

  • 32

    […] race issues became paramount.  Mayor Coleman Young was considered a leading African American progressive when he became the leader of Detroit in 1974. […]

  • 33

    […] race issues became paramount.  Mayor Coleman Young was considered a leading African American progressive when he became the leader of Detroit in 1974. […]

  • 34

    […] Coleman Young […]

  • 35

    […] Though Young's tenure is caught up in racial divisivenessthat some believe make him misunderstood, it's clear he stayed in office for far too long, did little to try and mend fences broken down […]

  • 36

    […] race issues became paramount.  Mayor Coleman Young was considered a leading African American progressive when he became the leader of Detroit in 1974. […]

  • 37

    […] nearly $200 million a year on groceries in stores outside the city, according to the report." Coleman Young, Revisited - The Detroit Blog - c. Under Young's tenure, whites fled Detroit for the suburbs....and Young's message was 'let 'em […]

  • 38

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  • 39

    […] painfully obvious. Sure, racism happened – but what does that have to do with the actions of Coleman Young – or more recently, Kwame’ Kilpatrick? How does that square with the kinds of antics […]

  • 40

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote. … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

  • 41

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote. … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

  • 42

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote. … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

  • 43

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote. … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

  • 44

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote. … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

  • 45

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote. … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

  • 46

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote. … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

  • 47

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote. … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

  • 48

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote . … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to […]

  • 49

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote. … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

  • 50

    […] do better and be proud of themselves, but most people who move to Detroit only associate him with the famous [misinterpreted] 8 Mile quote . … Also because he ran Detroit for 20 years and therefore he’s easy to point to for […]

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