Hello, Detroit--By Sammy Davis Jr.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Detroit-- A City on the Rise History

Detroit (pronounced /dɪˈtrɔɪt/) (French: Détroit, meaning "strait", pronounced [detʁwa] is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the seat of Wayne County. Detroit is a major port city on the Detroit River, in the Midwest region of the United States. Located north of Windsor, Ontario, Detroit is the only major U.S. city that looks south to Canada. It was founded in 1701 by the Frenchman Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.

It is known as the world's traditional automotive center — "Detroit" is a metonym for the American automobile industry — and an important source of popular music, legacies celebrated by the city's two familiar nicknames, Motor City and Motown. Other nicknames emerged in the twentieth century, including Rock City, Arsenal of Democracy (during World War II), The D, D-Town, Hockeytown, and The 3-1-3 (its telephone area code).

In 2007, Detroit ranked as the United States' eleventh most populous city, with 916,952 residents. At its peak, the city was the fourth largest in the country, but since 1950 the city has seen a major shift in its population to the suburbs.

The name Detroit sometimes refers to the Metro Detroit area, a sprawling region with a population of 4,467,592 for the Metropolitan Statistical Area, making it the nation's eleventh-largest, and a population of 5,405,918 for the nine-county Combined Statistical Area as of the 2007 Census Bureau estimates. The Detroit-Windsor area, a critical commercial link straddling the Canada-U.S. border, has a total population of about 5,700,000.

The city name comes from the Detroit River (French: l'étroit du Lac Erie), meaning the strait of Lake Erie, linking Lake Huron and Lake Erie; in the historical context, the strait included Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River. Traveling up the Detroit River on the ship Le Griffon (owned by La Salle), Father Louis Hennepin noted the north bank of the river as an ideal location for a settlement. There, in 1701, the French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, along with 51 additional French-Canadians, founded a settlement called Fort Ponchartrain du Détroit, naming it after the comte de Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine under Louis XIV. France offered free land to attract families to Detroit, which grew to 800 people in 1765, the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans. Francois Marie Picoté, sieur de Belestre (Montreal 1719–1793) was the last French military commander at Fort Detroit (1758–1760), surrendering the fort on November 29, 1760 to the British. Detroit's city flag reflects this French heritage. (See Flag of Detroit, Michigan.)

During the French and Indian War (1760), British troops gained control and shortened the name to Detroit. Several tribes led by Chief Pontiac, an Ottawa leader, launched Pontiac's Rebellion (1763), including a siege of Fort Detroit. Partially in response to this, the British Royal Proclamation of 1763 included restrictions on white settlement in unceded Indian territories. Detroit passed to the United States under the Jay Treaty (1796). In 1805, fire destroyed most of the settlement. A river warehouse and brick chimneys of the wooden homes were the sole structures to survive.

From 1805 to 1847, Detroit was the capital of Michigan. As the city expanded, the street layout followed a plan developed by Augustus B. Woodward, Chief Justice of the Michigan Territory. Detroit fell to British troops during the War of 1812 in the Siege of Detroit, was recaptured by the United States in 1813 and incorporated as a city in 1815.

Prior to the American Civil War, the city's access to the Canadian border made it a key stop along the underground railroad. Then a Lieutenant, the future president Ulysses S. Grant was stationed in the city. His dwelling is still at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Because of this local sentiment, many Detroiters volunteered to fight during the American Civil War, beginning with the Iron Brigade which defended Washington, D.C. early in the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying Thank God for Michigan! Following the death of President Abraham Lincoln, George Armstrong Custer delivered a eulogy to the thousands gathered near Campus Martius Park. Custer led the Michigan Brigade during the American Civil War and called them the Wolverines.

Detroit's many Gilded Age mansions and buildings arose during the late 1800s. The city was referred to as the Paris of the West for its architecture, and for Washington Boulevard, recently electrified by Thomas Edison. Strategically located along the Great Lakes waterway, Detroit emerged as a transportation hub. The city had grown steadily from the 1830s with the rise of shipping, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries. In 1896, a thriving carriage trade prompted Henry Ford to build his first automobile in a rented workshop on Mack Avenue. In 1904 he founded the Ford Motor Company. Ford's manufacturing — and those of automotive pioneers William C. Durant, the Dodge brothers, Packard, and Walter Chrysler—reinforced Detroit's status as the world's automotive capital; it also served to encourage truck manufacturers such as Rapid and Grabowsky.

The industry spurred the city's spectacular growth during the first half of the twentieth century as it drew tens of thousands of new residents, particularly workers from the Southern United States, and became the fourth largest city in the nation. At the same time, thousands of immigrants from Europe poured into the city, adding to competition for jobs and housing. Social tensions rose with the rapid pace of growth and pressure on neighborhoods.

With the introduction of Prohibition, smugglers used the river as a major conduit for Canadian spirits, organized in large part by the notorious Purple Gang. Strained racial relations were evident in the 1920s trial of Dr. Ossian Sweet, a black Detroit physician acquitted of murder. A man died when shots were fired from Ossian's house into a threatening mob of whites who gathered to try to force him out of an all-white neighborhood.

Labor strife climaxed in the 1930s when the United Auto Workers became involved in bitter disputes with Detroit's auto manufacturers. The labor activism of those years brought notoriety to union leaders such as Jimmy Hoffa and Walter Reuther. The 1940s saw the construction of the world's first urban depressed freeway, the Davison and the industrial growth during World War II that led to Detroit's nickname as the Arsenal of Democracy.

The city faced major challenges during the war as tens of thousands of workers migrated to the city to work in the war industries. Many of these migrant workers were blacks and whites from the U.S. South. Housing was difficult to find. The color blind promotion policies of the auto plants resulted in racial tension that erupted into a full-scale riot in 1943.

Industrial consolidation during the 1950s, especially in the automobile sector, increased competition for jobs. An extensive freeway system constructed in the 1950s and 1960s had facilitated commuting. Suburban migration and racial tensions led to a textbook case of white flight, which resulted in a painful decline for many inner-city neighborhoods during the 1960s and 1970s. The Twelfth Street riot in 1967, as well as court-ordered busing accelerated white flight from the city. Commensurate with the shift of population and jobs to its suburbs, the city's tax base eroded. In the years following, Detroit's population fell from a peak of roughly 1.8 million in 1950 to about half that number today.

The gasoline crises of 1973 and 1979 impacted the U.S. auto industry as small cars from foreign makers made inroads. Heroin and crack cocaine use afflicted the city with the influence of Butch Jones, Maserati Rick, and the Chambers Brothers. Drug-related violence and property crimes rose, and abandoned homes were demolished to reduce havens for drug dealers. Sizable tracts have reverted to a form of urban prairie. Renaissance has been a perennial buzzword among city leaders, reinforced by the construction of the Renaissance Center in the late 1970s. This complex of skyscrapers, designed as a city within a city, slowed but was unable to reverse the trend of businesses leaving the city's downtown until the 1990s.

In 1980, Detroit hosted the Republican National Convention which nominated Ronald Reagan to a successful bid for President of the United States. By then, nearly three decades of white flight, crime, drug addiction, and inadequate policies had caused areas like the Elmhurst block to decay. During the 1980s, inspite of redevelopment efforts, the city's old crumbling buildings became abandoned and unsafe structures which, in turn, harbored vice and crime and encouraged those who remained to leave.

In the 1990s, the city began to enjoy a revival, much of it centered downtown. Comerica Tower at Detroit Center (1993) arose on the city skyline. In the ensuing years, three casinos opened in Detroit: MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino, which have now added permanent resorts and Greektown Casino which is scheduled to open its permanent resort at the end of 2009 . New downtown stadiums were constructed for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions in 2000 and 2002, respectively; this put the Lions' home stadium in the city proper for the first time since 1974. The city hosted the 2005 MLB All-Star Game, 2006 Super Bowl XL, 2006 World Series and WrestleMania 23 in 2007, all which prompted many improvements to the downtown area. The city's riverfront is the focus of much development; in 2007, the first portions of the Detroit River Walk were laid, including miles of parks and fountains. This new urban development in Detroit is a mainstay in the city's earnest desire to reinvent its economic identity through tourism. Along the river, upscale million dollar condos are going up, such as Watermark Detroit, some of the most expensive the city has ever seen. Some city limit signs, particularly on the Dearborn border say "Welcome to Detroit, The Renaissance City Founded 1701."

No comments:

Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) By Marvin Gaye

Dah, dah, dah, dah
dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on the have nots
Money, we make it
Fore we see it you take it

Oh, make you wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
This ain't livin', This ain't livin'
No, no baby, this ain't livin'
No, no, no

Inflation no chance
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die

Oh, make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Hang ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs
Natural fact is
I can't pay my taxes

Oh, make me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands
Yea, it makes me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands

Crime is increasingTrigger happy policing
Panic is spreading
God knows where we're heading
Oh, make me wanna holler
They don't understand

Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Mother, motherEverybody thinks we're wrong
Who are they to judge us
Simply cause we wear our hair long

Detroit's Downtown

Don't Look Back Detroit, Keep on Pushing

Detroit as the Temptations hae said, we have to keep on pushing and not look back. We have to leave all our troubles behind us and look forward to a brighter future for not only the citizens of Detroit but the city of Detroit. We have to keep on walking Detroit and keep on pushing forward as we leave our past behind. Stall Tall Detroit and look for a future of Greatness as we as Detroiters strive and survive together.