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In Praise of the Black Men and Women Who Built Detroit
SEPT. 6, 2017 | The New York Times | By THOMAS J. SUGRUE

BLACK DETROIT
A People’s History of Self-Determination
By Herb Boyd
Illustrated. 416 pp. Amistad/HarperCollins Publishers. $27.99

In 29 chapters, spanning more than three centuries, Boyd offers an unusual retelling of Detroit’s past, with black voices on nearly every page. The arc of his narrative is a familiar one in which he traces the transformation of Detroit from a French trading outpost to the world’s automobile production center to a national symbol of urban decline and rebirth. Along the way, Boyd introduces us to some of Detroit’s key social movements: abolitionism, union organizing, civil rights and black power. But this book is not a conventional urban history. Boyd’s purpose is to celebrate the black men and women, the city’s “fearless freedom fighters,” who would otherwise remain on history’s margins.....Today Detroit, with vast sections of its 139 square miles lying in ruin, its black population moving in unprecedented numbers to inner-ring suburbs, its residents struggling with failing schools, joblessness and incarceration, is not a land of hope. Travel reporters highlight Detroit’s thriving art scene, trendy restaurants and influx of hipsters. But those changes have scarcely benefited the working-class and poor black Detroiters who make up more than 80 percent of the city’s residents. There are a lot of reasons to despair about the city’s future. But Boyd remains hopeful.
Detroit  history  African-Americans  books  book_reviews  Black_Power 
september 2017 by jerryking
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