There's a lot of haters out there on my hometown, Detroit.
I see the cringes and shoulder shrugs when I tell people I was born, and raised, in Detroit. Not a suburb (they say I don't "talk" or "act" Detroit, as they shrug shoulders). Graduated from Renaissance High School (the #1 high school in the city, where 100% of the graduates go on to college). Still have family there (though most are now in Canton, Southfield, Plymouth, and points further west and north, but still... it's all Detroit.)
The initial hating on Detroit came in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when black folks got tired of being treated like 2nd class citizens and started to fight back. When Coleman Young (top row, middle pic) took office, he made sure people knew he was going to make Detroit right for black folks. He reigned for 20+ years.
There are great things about Detroit.
- The Pistons
- The Motown Museum (i.e. Diana Ross, Smoky Robinson, Stevie Wonder)
- The Scene (this daily dance show that came on everyday in Detroit at 5 p.m. on Channel 62)
- How plentiful jobs in the auto industry created a large black middle class that many of my friends and I benefited from (though, now thanks to globalization, those middle class jobs are being done for pennies a day around the world, while lining our backs and executive pockets with material goods -- we all reap benefits, even if not actively a part of or proponent of globalization).
- Anita Baker
- Aretha Franklin
- Belle Isle (the park in the top and bottom corner of the collage above)
- Renaissance High School
- The hip hop mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick
- A still strong and vibrant black (and now emerging Latino) middle class
- Several writers hail from the area: Cydney Rax, Shelley Halima, Terry McMillan (more Port Huron, but it's "close" to claim her)
- And one final nerdy fact... it's the only city in the U.S. that's due north of Canada (get out a map and you'll see).
Anyway, could go on. But all I'll say now... is Go Pistons!!!