Originally published 08/07/2013
"On The Media," National Public Radio's weekly show, took on the way journalists and other commentators have used Detroit's bankruptcy to draw a larger picture of what is wrong with the country -- often with an ideological bent that suits their own purposes. "Pundits and pontificators have seized on the moment to lay blame on their favorite targets and reductively declare that what ails Detroit is a microcosm of what ails America," said co-host Bob Garfield, who interviewed Northwestern University history professor Kevin Boyle on the most recent show.Boyle, who grew up on Detroit's East Side and attended the University of Detroit and received his master's degree and Ph.D from the University of Michigan, is the author of "Arc of Justice," the award-winning 2004 book about the Ossian Sweet case and Detroit in the 1920s, when, as he wrote, Detroit experienced explosive growth and the whole city seemed to function as one, huge, automobile-producing machine....
Originally published 07/22/2013
In 1945, Detroit was the American Dream.During World War II, the Detroit region was the center of American wartime production. The Willow Run factory near Ypsilanti, a few miles outside of Detroit proper, produced nearly half of the some 18,500 B-24 Liberator bombers built during the war. Ninety-one percent of all G.I. helmets were produced in Detroit. The city was home to the nation's first tank plant; a quarter of the nearly 90,000 tanks produced by the United States during the war were built in Detroit.That was the Detroit Tom Sugrue's parents and grandparents knew. But it was a city largely built on quicksand, reliant on the postwar auto industry for continued growth and which dealt with the large wartime influx of African American workers with discriminatory housing policies and at times brutal violence.The good times wouldn't last.