Thursday, August 25, 2011

Segregation, ranting once again

Martin Luther King Jr's father put together a gospel choir (with MLK) that performed at the premiere of "Gone with the Wind". The premiere was segregated and one of the women who won an academy award boycotted the premiere because she was not allowed to sit with the other actors. Today, the segregation of that premiere would be almost un-noticed except for MLK's segregated involvement.

A boycott usually results in an immediate news story, an issue of immediate concern. Very few boycotts result in something that is historically meaningful.

Look at the Detroit people Mover. When Detroit wanted to build a comprehensive mass transit system in partnership with the suburbs the suburbs refused to work with Detroit. "White Fright" of a "Black Invasion" caused Michigan to segregate it's largest urban area and primary industrial development.

In a different blog I talked about how industrialization always follows urbanization. Without a primary urban development there can not be a primary industrial development. This blog only mentions that issue in passing. This blog discusses the pure genius behind the People Mover.

Mayor Coleman Young was a segregationist and a realist. While Mayor Young believed that blacks were fully capable of educating themselves and managing the infrastructure of the city without any involvement from white people Mayor Young also knew that without industry the city of Detroit would have budget problems. I think Mayor Young was also a little naive. Mayor Young did not expect the state of Michigan to cut it's own economic throat to spite themselves.

When Mayor Young received federal funding to build a mass transit system in Detroit he tried to work out a plan with the suburbs. That didn't work. Too much "White Fright". Coleman Young sat down and planned out a small mass transit system, segregated from the surrounding suburbs, running around in a circle like a puppy chasing its tail.

For the rest of time, or at last as long as Detroit existed, the People Mover would be a monument of segregation. A lasting reminder that in the 1970's and 1980's the state of Michigan worked very hard to segregate the city of Detroit.

The lack of a mass transit system which incorporates the surrounding suburbs exemplifies the ongoing abomination that is northern segregation.

This is 2011. Detroit is a decaying, segregated city. Unfortunately for the politicians in the State of Michigan, Detroit is a city of people.

The people are not stupid, they are well aware that the condition of the city of Detroit is caused by segregationist politics. Sure, there are bigots who will say something like "they did it to themselves", just as people walking past a lynched black man swinging from a lamp post in 1860's New York City might say the same thing.

People with any kind of empathy or understanding know that

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