Detroit historian to lecture on Hastings Street
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Preservation Detroit’s Third Friday Lecture Series, highlighting the rich cultural history of the people and places of the city, will continue on June 20 at the Hastings Street Ballroom, 715 E. Milwaukee Street. Award-winning performer Marsha Music, a writer, singer and story-teller, will share the tales of her childhood in Detroit’s Black Bottom before the African American district was demolished for the interstate highways.
“It felt like now is the time where we need to think about preserving our culture, because the face of the city is changing so quickly,” says Lauren Hood, one of the event’s coordinators for Preservation Detroit, and who last year wrote a well-read blog post about losing connection to her childhood home. “I’ve always heard people talk about the importance of oral histories, and I never really got it until, my parents recently moved from the house that they owned in Detroit to Farmington Hills last year, and I recently drove past their old house, and it was a very emotional experience.”
Preservation Detroit is a non-profit organization with a mission of protecting the neighborhoods and structures within the city, emphasizing the architectural structures that define the urban environments where the people’s stories are born.
Preservation Detroit began in 1975 on the campus of Wayne State University, and now conducts tours and lectures to raise people’s consciousness regarding the unique stories within the city’s history that are rarely told.
Marsha Music has told her story of growing up in Highland Park and around her father’s record shop on Hastings Street to live audiences, television and radio, connecting the story of Detroit’s famed Black Bottom to her own experience of seeing the shop relocated then lost after the ‘67 Rebellion. Her presentations include music and stories, bringing the city during that era back to life through her testimony.
“I just want other people to be able to tell their magical place stories,” says Hood.
“It’s the first time that (Marsha Music)’s ever gotten to talk about Hastings Street on Hastings Street,” she says. “So we’ll be in the space that once was her stomping grounds. I think that’ll be really powerful for people.”