By Richard Hammonds, Esq.
One warm day in Detroit this past spring I thought I would sit in the park nearwhere I live and soak in some sun and the surrounding environment. The area was in an all Black community, or so I thought. I noticed a young, white couple walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk toward Woodward Avenue with apparent freedom from assault.
The sight so startled me that I began to rack the old grey matter for other such out of the ordinaries. I found them. As of 2010, the racial composition of Detroit was 10.5 percent for whites and 82 percent for Blacks. The area I was in has been predominantly Black. Then I began to recall the subtle reminders of the return of whites to the city once abandoned by whites.
Downtown Detroit has seen a rapid return of businesses. Mothballs of former prominent hotels downtown are being removed. Once semi-exclusive apartment buildings are being refurbished. On weekends, throngs of young whites can be seen downtown partying and celebrating civic events. Police presence in quite obvious. In fact, in the Palmer Park area, where I live, extensive once exclusive apartments are being renovated at considerable cost. Police patrols are becoming more noticeable.
These are just a few examples of a resurgence of the once great leviathan Arsenal of Democracy.
Just what is so attractive about this run down city? Of what value has she?
To start, Detroit is one of a few American cities that sits facing a peaceful international border (Canada). She has a thriving seaport being fed by the St. Lawrence Seaway via the Detroit River. (The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is a deep draft waterway extending 3,700 km (2,340 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean to the head of the Great Lakes, in the heart of North America. The St. Lawrence Seaway portion of the System extends from Montreal to mid-Lake Erie. Ranked as one of the outstanding engineering feats of the twentieth century, the St. Lawrence Seaway includes 13 Canadian and two U.S. locks.) She sits at one end of the mighty Great Lakes similar to Chicago’s position. And she has great amounts of un(der)developed urban land going at cheap prices.
Internally, Detroit has suffered from extreme mismanagement and a dwindling tax base. As the Black population grew, the white flight to the suburbs increased. The tax base decreased and essential services suffered. The upcoming mayoral elections may be a signal that a needed metamorphosis is in the making.
What is outstanding in this contest is that is a viable white candidate is seeking the position of City Executive. (However, he has since been declared ineligible to be on the ballot.) This is not to say that Blacks cannot govern themselves. This was primarily due to a shrinking tax base and an uninformed voting populace engendered by name popularity and pastoral misdirection. It is the writer’s hope that this urban cancer will continue to receive treatment (money), better management, and make a speedy recovery. However, there is a price for the surgeon’s visit.
June 2013. Summer is but a few days old and Detroit is awakening as well. I am seeing more salt grains in the pepper shaker. Detroit is undergoing its transformation before your eyes. Things are being torn down and built up. The ethnic make-up of the landscape is changing. Outside forces (state, business, special interest groups) are asserting themselves over the unspoken will of the citizens — the people. The physical nexus of this resurgence has as its core, downtown Detroit. It spirals outward bringing a metamorphosis to any area touched. For most who could afford the move have done so. The northward migration of the minority majority to the suburbs is about complete, And as we all know, nature abhors a vacuum. Money is flowing into Detroit from unseen hands. Let’s hope these be clean ones.