February 11, 2014
I solemnly swear that I will never get tired of looking at polar bear plunge photos. They are Michigan’s Mardi Gras which I think is awesome.
January 20, 2014
Today’s post is by Bob Garrett of Seeking Michigan and the Archives of Michigan…
A Dream Begins in Detroit
In the above photo, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. appears with John Swainson, Michigan governor of 1961-1962. The photo is undated but was most likely taken on Sunday, June 23, 1963. On that date, Dr. King and former governor Swainson both participated in the Detroit “Walk to Freedom.”
The Detroit Walk to Freedom
Dr. King was then in the midst of a tour (begun that spring) from California to New York. His Detroit stop proved the tour’s biggest success. Police estimated the Freedom Walk crowd at 125,000. The day after the event, The Detroit Free Press labeled it “the largest civil rights demonstration in the nation’s history.” The walk began at Woodward and Adelaide and continued down Woodward to Cobo Hall. It lasted about an hour and a half, as marchers carried signs and sang songs (Songs included “We Shall Overcome” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”).
The Detroit Council for Human Rights organized the Walk. The Council’s director, Benjamin McFall, and its Chairman, Rev. Clarence L. Franklin, marched in a line with King and Swainson. That line also included Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh, United Auto Workers President Walter P. Reuther and State Auditor General Billie S. Farnum. (Then-current governor George Romney, a Mormon who avoided public appearances on Sundays, did not directly participate. He did, however, proclaim the day “Freedom March Day in Michigan.”)
Speech at Cobo Hall (“I Have a Dream…”)
At the walk’s conclusion, King gave a speech at Cobo Hall. According to the contemporary Detroit Free Press report, approximately twenty-five thousand people sat in attendance, with African Americans comprising about ninety-five percent of that total. They listened as King spoke of non-violence and an end to racial segregation. The June 24, 1963 Free Press report notes that King “ended his speech by telling of a dream.” According to the Free Press, King described his dream of whites and blacks “walking together hand in hand, free at last.”
In his book King: A Biography, David Levering Lewis states that King repeated the phrase “I have a dream” several times during that Cobo Hall speech. Lewis notes that when King addressed a crowd in Washington, D.C. two months later, he “kept the refrain from the Detroit speech: I have a dream.” (See Lewis’ King: A Biography, second edition, Urbana: University of Illinois, 1978, pg. 227).
King’s Washington speech of August 28, 1963 became famous as his “I have a dream speech.” It was a defining moment in the American civil rights movement. In one sense, however, the seeds of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream were planted in Michigan – in Detroit’s Cobo Hall.
Editor’s Note: You can click to read the full text of Dr. King’s speech in Detroit and see a photo from the walk on Michigan in Pictures. Interestingly enough, Gov. Swainson had a harder road than many to participate in the walk – he lost both his legs in a land mine explosion in Alsace-Lorraine in WW II and had to learn to walk again on artificial legs. More on the Wikipedia entry for Governor John Burley Swainson.
December 9, 2013
If there’s a front page of the internet, it’s probably Google. They manage to pack quite a lot into a spare layout. Today would have been computer science pioneer Grace Hopper’s 107th birthday, and in addition to a tribute doodle, Google is featuring a ridiculously star-packed video about An Hour of Code.
An Hour of Code is a project of Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science education by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and under-represented students of color. The state of Michigan has 13,484 open computing jobs (growing at 4.1x the state job growth average), 1,930 annual computer science graduates and just 78 schools teach computer science. You can get all the details on how you can help encourage schools to require more computer programming from code.org!
November 21, 2013
John Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the trade of Detroit Tiger superstar Prince Fielder for second baseman Ian Kinsler is official.
The Rangers and Tigers have agreed on a blockbuster deal to send Prince Fielder to Texas for Ian Kinsler, pending physicals and the approval of at least Fielder, CBSSports.com has learned.
There was no word yet of any other players being involved, so it may just be a one-for-one swap of stars. Fielder’s salary is much larger, and it is believed Texas will get money in the deal but it wasn’t certain how much. (note: $30 million is the reported figure)
…The Tigers would free up some money in the trade plus fill their second-base hole created by Omar Infante’s free agency. Detroit could use big prospect Nick Castellanos at third base, and move two-time defending A.L. MVP Miguel Cabrera to first base.
The Tigers had been floating Max Scherzer as a trade possibility. But a deal of Fielder could possibly free up extra cash to try to sign Scherzer, the 2013 Cy Young winner, long-term. The Tigers also will aim to lock up Cabrera this winter, and that will take a lot of money, as well.
Read on for more, see what the Tigers have to say and also check out the discussion over on Bless You Boys. Also see Roar of the Tigers take on the trade via the talented pen of Sam. Here’s a summary of Price Fielder’s career via Wikipedia.
Fielder, a first baseman, is the son of former Detroit Tiger first baseman Cecil Fielder. He was selected in the first round of the 2002 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002 out of Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida. He spent the first seven years of his career with the Brewers before signing with the Detroit Tigers in January 2012. Fielder is a five-time All-Star and is the active iron man leader for consecutive games played.
He holds the Brewers’ team record for home runs in a season, is the league’s youngest player to hit 50 home runs in a season, and is one of only two players to win more than one derby. Fun fact: Prince and Cecil Fielder are the only father-son combination to each hit 50 MLB home runs in a season!
PS: My dad Al McFarlane used to always say “Goodnight, sweet Prince” when he would drop the hammer on me in a game. I love Prince’s play, hustle and heart but I think I would have tried to make this deal if I were Dombrowski.
October 7, 2013
Michigan Radio’s Stateside program interviewed Dr. Larissa Larsen of the Urban and Regional Planning Program at the University of Michigan about how our warming climate & heavier rains impacts how we plan & manage cities. It’s an interesting concept and another financial eventuality we’ll need to include in our long-term planning … assuming we ever do any of that.
More weather on Michigan in Pictures.
July 17, 2013
Photographer Asks: Recognize Anyone in Mt. Clemens Photo From ’73 That’s Going Viral? from Deadline Detroit says:
Former Detroit-area photographer Joseph Crachiola is thinking about race relations more than usual, a common reaction to the Trayvon Martin case verdict.
The musing led him to share personal reflections on Facebook with a photo he snapped July 31, 1973 for The Macomb Daily. It shows five youngsters, three black and two white, posing playfully after a rain shower in Mt. Clemens – a moment of childhood innocence that moved Crachiola 40 years ago and still does.
He’s not alone. Though Crachiola has only 411 followers on the business page where he displayed it Sunday with a 160-word post, he tells Deadline Detroit the black-and-white image has been viewed nearly 20,000 times by Monday afternoon. It has more than 600 “likes,” was shared 260 times and has about five dozen comments.
On the Facebook photo – now up over 50,000 views, 4000 likes, 2000 shares with a bunch of great comments – he wrote:
I shot this photograph forty years ago in Mt. Clemens, Michigan – July 31, 1973 – while working for a suburban Detroit newspaper. It was a seemingly insignificant moment. I was walking down a side street and saw some children playing. They saw me and said, “Hey mister, take our picture!” The pose was completely spontaneous. I shot several frames and moved on. The picture ran somewhere inside the paper and was probably forgotten about, but for me it still stands as one of my most meaningful pictures.
It makes me wonder. When is innocence lost? At what point do we begin to mistrust one another? When do we begin to judge one another based on gender or race? I have always wondered what happened to these children. I wonder if they are still friends. In light of the current state of affairs in this country I can’t help but wonder if we couldn’t all learn something from them.
More portraits on Michigan in Pictures.
June 20, 2013
Staying safe at the beach? There’s an app for that. The Great Lakes Echo recently reported on myBeachCast, a smartphone app that gives you beach information:
Although drownings appear to be on track to fall from a record high in 2012, the overall trend from the past several years have seen consistent increase, according to the Great Lakes Surf Commission. The hazard warnings on the app informs users when and where there is a potential for dangerous rip currents.
In addition to the hazard warnings, the app will continue to feature lake temperature, beach locations and other components.
“The app is GPS enabled to allow a user to discover local Great Lakes beaches based on their location, save favorite beaches and view real-time information [on conditions],” said Christine Manninen, communications director of the Great Lakes Commission.
The app will hopefully reduce drownings, she said.
“Having the information at their fingertips gives people a better chance of making smarter decisions to protect their own health and safety and their family’s.”
Jonathan writes that this photo was taken at Formal Day at the Beach, a yearly event in Grand Haven where people dress up and get into Lake Michigan and swim around looking fabulous.
If anyone knows when this is in 2013 please post it in the comments! Jonathan just let me know that Formal Day at the Beach takes place this year on Sunday, July 28th at 2pm.
Much more about Michigan’s beaches on Michigan in Pictures!
June 15, 2013
Next Saturday (June 22nd) I get to be part of a neat moment in the annals of Michigan music when I work with my partner Laura, the wineries of Traverse City and a fantastic team of workers & volunteers to host Sixto Diaz Rodriguez at the 5th annual Traverse City Wine & Art Festival.
Thanks to the global stardom of Rodriguez, hero of the Academy Award winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, our festival sold out easily. You still have a chance to see this beautiful film though:
In 1968, two producers went to a downtown Detroit bar to see an unknown recording artist – a charismatic Mexican-American singer/songwriter named Rodriguez, who had attracted a local following with his mysterious presence, soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. They were immediately bewitched by the singer, and thought they had found a musical folk hero in the purest sense – an artist who reminded them of a Chicano Bob Dylan, perhaps even greater. They had worked with the likes of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, but they believed the album they subsequently produced with Rodriguez – Cold Fact – was the masterpiece of their producing careers. Despite good reviews, Cold Fact was a commercial disaster and marked the end of Rodriguez’s recording career…
A bootleg recording of Cold Fact somehow found its way to South Africa in the early 1970s, a time when South Africa was becoming increasingly isolated as the Apartheid regime tightened its grip. Rodriguez’s anti-establishment lyrics and observations as an outsider in urban America felt particularly resonant for a whole generation of disaffected Afrikaners. The album quickly developed an avid following through word-of-mouth among the white liberal youth, with local pressings made. In typical response, the reactionary government banned the record, ensuring no radio play, which only served to further fuel its cult status.
The film tells the story of the search and rediscovery of Rodriguez. He’s now in the midst of a world tour that has seen him appear on 60 Minutes (great piece), Letterman & Leno and legendary concert venues as the Montreaux Jazz Festival, the Orpheum Theatre in LA, the Hammersmith Apollo in London, Radio City Music Hall … and our festival in Traverse City.
June 7, 2013
I have to confess: I am a huge fan of Michael Moore. One of the reasons has nothing to do with politics or his films. Almost 10 years ago, Michael did something that I didn’t think possible. He galvanized support, spent and raised money and brainstormed to lead a vast & diverse army of volunteers to restore the theater of my childhood, the State Theatre in Traverse City. While the successful and wildly entertaining Traverse City Film Festival has been a huge driver of the theater’s comeback, many overlook how his dedication to the movie-going experience created a theater that hundreds of people every day enjoy as part of a vibrant downtown experience. Of course after the Motion Picture Association of America tapped the State as #1 on their list of the best theaters in America, that number has probably gone down.
All this is a rather long-winded way of introducing Michael’s latest Traverse City cause, restoring the empty Con Foster Museum as a new theater – the Bijou By the Bay. The story starts with Conrad “Con” Foster:
Manager of the State Theatre when it was originally known at the Lyric Theatre, he first arrived in Traverse City in July of 1917 as an employee of Fitzpatrick-McElroy Company to run and operate the Lyric. A true showman with a passion for the movies, one of the first things he did upon arrival was install a “newer and brighter” screen as part of his commitment to make the Lyric “equal to any motion picture house in the state.” It is this commitment to presentation the State Theatre continues today.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 21, 1875, Foster was not a Traverse City native, but the community embraced him and he quickly made the area his home. After less than a year in Traverse City, Fitzpatrick-McElroy transferred him to a new theater post in Wisconsin, and Foster spent the next six years heartsick, petitioning the company to bring him back.
Foster’s pleas were answered in April 1924 when he returned to Traverse City to resume his post at the Lyric. He placed an ad in the Record Eagle expressing his delight, writing:
“My ambition has been to return to Traverse City, since they made me leave, to operate what I think is the most beautiful theater in our circuit. I have come to love the city, its good natured folks, and have often told my wife that Traverse City is the place to make a home. So it is with great pleasure that I can announce that my longings have been realized and I have again been transferred to the best little city in the world.”
Over the course of the next sixteen years, Foster worked tirelessly to make the Lyric the best theater in Michigan. Ahead of his time, in the spring of 1929 Foster had the foresight to bring “talkies” to the Lyric, installing the latest state-of-the-art sound technology and film projectors in Traverse City. At that time, sound technician Walter Beck claimed this was the smallest city in the country, to his knowledge, to have installed this modern equipment.
Foster’s impact extended far beyond his movie house and into all aspects of civic life. He encouraged and promoted Cherry Festival programs, patriotic presentations and educational speakers. He knew the Lyric was more than a just movie theater, but an important gathering space for the community. Serving as head of the Chamber of Commerce, City Commissioner and even Mayor, Foster was committed to serving his community.
Foster managed the Lyric until he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1940. The city mourned his loss, with a tribute in the Record Eagle claiming, “When Con Foster died this morning a part of Traverse City died with him, not a physical part, but a spiritual part.” Downtown businesses closed for his funeral and the Lyric reopened afterward to screen Gone with the Wind.
Foster also created Clinch Park, which is home to the proposed theatre. Find out more and how to donate at Bijou By the Bay.
More Traverse City on Michigan in Pictures!