Eleanor Josaitis — Hands Across the Racial Divide

As a symbol, it is exquisite in its simplicity. Two hands inside a circle, one black and one white, almost but never quite touching across the racial divide. This has been the logo of Focus: HOPE, an organization fighting for basic human rights in Detroit and Southeast Michigan for over forty years. And until her death last week, one of the leaders of the fight was Eleanor Josaitis.  read more »

The Civil Unrest of 1967

(318) Riots, Rebellions, 12th Street, 1967

Despite a century of progressive innovation in Detroit, it is a sad reality that the events of July 23-27, 1967 are among the city’s defining moments. The five-day period of civil unrest and extreme chaos caused physical damage to the city and emotional trauma to its people. Decades later, the aftereffects of the damage and trauma linger on.

The violence was not totally unexpected. Rumors of an uprising had been swirling throughout the city for the better part of the summer. Radicalism was on the rise, and talk of self-determination and separatism  read more »

One Giant Leap For Womankind

(1492) Dorothy Sneed, At Work

When Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon 42 years ago this month on July 20, 1969, he proclaimed that it was “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” Behind the scenes, the lunar landing reflected a giant leap for womankind, as well.

In 1957, Russia grabbed world headlines by successfully launching its first Sputnik satellite. The achievement shocked citizens, scientists, and politicians of the United States, who worried that the Soviets were gaining the upper hand  read more »

Detroit's Walk to Freedom

This Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we recall Detroit's Walk to Freedom, described by Dr. King as “one of the most wonderful things that has happened in America." Dr. King led the march and shed light on the status of African Americans in northern industrial cities. Organized by the Detroit Council on Human Rights (DCHR), the Walk to Freedom was the largest civil rights demonstration in the nation’s history. Its purpose was to speak out against segregation and the brutality that met civil rights activists in the South while at the same time addressing concerns of African Americans in the urban North: inequality in hiring practices, wages, education, and housing. The date of the march, June 23, 1963, was chosen to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1943 Detroit Riots in which 34 people, the majority of them African American, were killed.  read more »

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