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Detroit’s Bankruptcy Reflects a History of Racism

This is black history month. It is also the month that the Emergency Manager who took political power and control from the mostly African American residents of Detroit has presented his plan to bring the city out of the bankruptcy he steered it into. This is black history in the making, and I hope the nation will pay attention to who wins and who loses from the Emergency Manager’s plan. Black people are by far the largest racial or ethnic population in Detroit, which has the highest percentage of black residents of any American city with a population over 100,000. Eighty-three percent of the city’s 701,000 residents are black. It continues to be an underreported story that a white state legislature and white governor took over the city and forced it to file for bankruptcy against the will of its elected representatives. It’s important to view what is happening to Detroit and its public employees through a racial lens. Government was involved at a more micro level as well.

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Detroit Redlining Map 1939 Part of Detroit’s history of racial discrimination is comprised on housing discrimination, which in turn contributed to job discrimination, interpersonal racism, and continued racial inequity of opportunity. These areas of Detroit were targeted for “urban renewal” in the 1960s which displaced thousands of black residents to public housing complexes. Today these areas of Detroit have more vacancy (see map) than others either because the redlined properties were managed by slumlords whose properties deteriorated (see map) more quickly or from renewal efforts that didn’t consider the displacement of black residents. Population Decline and the Great Economic Reversal - Stratfor Worldview But there is no reason to think that GDP would fall along with population. The capital base of society, its productive plant as broadly understood, will not dissolve as population declines. Moreover, assume that population fell but GDP fell less — or even grew.

Letter: Racism exists at Detroit Police Dept. Detroit Police Chief James Craig just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get racism exists in his department. He doesn’t get the irony of the whole situation — systemic racism flourishing on the watch of a black executive, in a mostly black department in a majority black city.

How Detroit went broke: The answers may surprise you — and don't blame Coleman Young Originally published Sept. 15, 2013 Detroit is broke, but it didn’t have to be. An in-depth Free Press analysis of the city’s financial history back to the 1950s shows that its elected officials and others charged with managing its finances repeatedly failed — or refused — to make the tough economic and political decisions that might have saved the city from financial ruin. Instead, amid a huge exodus of residents, plummeting tax revenues and skyrocketing home abandonment, Detroit’s leaders engaged in a billion-dollar borrowing binge, created new taxes and failed to cut expenses when they needed to.

How Detroit, the Motor City, turned into a ghost town Try telling Brother Jerry Smith that the recession in America has ended. As scores of people queued up last week at the soup kitchen which the Capuchin friar helps run in Detroit, the celebrations on Wall Street in New York seemed from another world. The hungry and needy come from miles around to get a free healthy meal. Though the East Detroit neighbourhood the soup kitchen serves has had it tough for decades, the recession has seen almost any hope for anyone getting a job evaporate. Marilyn Salenger: ‘White flight’ and Detroit’s decline By Marilyn Salenger By Marilyn Salenger July 21, 2013 Marilyn Salenger is president of Strategic Communications Services and a former correspondent and news anchor for several CBS stations. An almost palpable sadness has swept across the country at the news that the city of Detroit has filed for bankruptcy. While the possibility of this had been discussed, the reality of what was once the fourth-largest city in the United States sinking to such depths is disheartening, a moment people will remember for years to come.

White Flight Starting in the 1950s, many people living in New Orleans began moving to the suburbs – mostly white people. Research suggests that the reasons for this are many, and unfortunately, they are mostly based in racism. Many whites moved after desegregation to ensure that their children would not have to go to school with African Americans. And many whites felt that moving to all-white suburbs would help them to achieve higher social status among their peers who might look down on them for staying in the city. Some historians claim that the movement of white people to the suburbs happened simply because more homes were being built in the suburbs, new highways like the I-10 loop made the suburbs more accessible, and whites, who historically have had higher incomes than African Americans, moved because they could afford to. This explanation does not hold because African Americans of greater means — of whom there were many — did not move to the suburbs along with whites.

Detroit: The New Motor City Detroit, Motown, the Motor City. Michigan and Detroit in particular became the center of the auto industry at the beginning of the twentieth century due to a number of factors. Steel, the Great Lakes shipping industries, and a large and growing workforce all contributed. Why were the effects from white flight in Detroit so big? (middle-class, apartment complexes) - General U.S. - Page 3 I have to second this. I also read this book and it is indeed excellent. But I would also suggest to read Thomas' book together with The Orgins of the Urban Crisis by Thomas Sugrue. Sugrues book is another execellent discussion of the topic. Detroit had bussing, yes, but so did Dayton and Cleveland, and they never were totally deserted by the white population to the extent Detroit was.

The Downfall of Detroit: White Flight and the 1967 Race Riots The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan that began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967. The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as a blind pig, on the corner of 12th (today Rosa Parks Boulevard) and Clairmount streets on the city’s Near West Side. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in United States history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit’s 1943 race riot, which occurred 24 years earlier. To help end the disturbance, Governor George Romney ordered the Michigan National Guard into Detroit, and President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in Army troops.

Rush Limbaugh: Detroit Went Bankrupt Because Blacks Drove Out Whites By Alan Pyke and Igor Volsky Economists are attributing Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing to problems facing the entire Rust Belt region: a shrinking tax base, high health and pension costs, sprawl, and general dysfunction. But on Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh added another cause to the long list of factors that have contributed to the city’s downfall: black people. During an appearance on Fox News’ On The Record with Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday, Limbaugh claimed that “unchecked” Democratic rule “since the last Republican mayor [in] 1957” created a lazy and bloated culture of out-of-control spending and corruption.

Detroit’s white population rises Detroit’s white population rose by nearly 8,000 residents last year, the first significant increase since 1950, according to a Detroit News analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The data, made public Wednesday, mark the first time census numbers have validated the perception that whites are returning to a city that is overwhelmingly black and one where the overall population continues to shrink. Many local leaders contend halting Detroit’s population loss is crucial, and the new census data shows that policies to lure people back to the city may be helping stem the city’s decline. “It verifies the energy you see in so many parts of Detroit and it’s great to hear,” said Kevin Boyle, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian who studies the intersection of class, race, and politics in 20th-century America. The Northwestern University professor grew up on Detroit’s east side.

From Motor City to Motor Metropolis: Becoming the Motor City From Motor City to Motor Metropolis: How the Automobile Industry Reshaped Urban America by Thomas J. Sugrue Whites moving to Detroit, city that epitomized white flight DETROIT — Whites are moving back to the American city that came to epitomize white flight, even as blacks continue to leave for the suburbs and the city’s overall population shrinks. Detroit is the latest major city to see an influx of whites who may not find the suburbs as alluring as their parents and grandparents did in the last half of the 20th century. Unlike New York, San Francisco and many other cities that have seen the demographic shift, though, it is cheap housing and incentive programs that are partly fueling the regrowth of the Motor City’s white population.