An extensive article in the Detroit Free Press caught the attention of many a reader. The interesting part to the article is it’s title: ‘How Detroit went broke: The answers may surprise you – and don’t blame Coleman Young‘. The article states that Coleman A. Young was an astute businessman because he recognized that changes needed to be made financially within the city.
Mayor Young cannot be blamed for Detroit’s population decline that started in the 1950’s. The decline of Detroit’s population accelerated in the 1960’s with the riots of ’63 & ’67. Coleman A. Young was not elected to become mayor of Detroit until 1974.
However, a major defining moment was when Young made the statement “I issue a warning to all those pushers, to all rip-off artists, to all muggers: It’s time to leave Detroit; hit Eight Mile Road! And I don’t give a damn if they are black or white, or if they wear Superfly suits or blue uniforms with silver badges. Hit the road.” The suburbs listened with intent. The line had not been drawn in the sand but in the pavement that is known as Eight Mile Road.
Those words were spoken some 39 years ago but they still sting like they did that day. Until someone with drive, vision, focus and an understanding of those on both sides of Eight Mile Road steps forward to wipe away or dull those memories, will the southeast region really begin to honestly heal and become one as it should.