Visiting the Birwood Wall in Detroit

After the presidential election, I enjoyed watching teary-eyed Americans, many of who said they never expected this after struggling decades for civil rights.  What a great milestone.

A few days after, I biked down to the Birwood wall in Northwest Detroit.

From the Associated Press, May 17th, 2006:

The wall was built in the early 1940s when a developer wanted to build homes for middle-class whites but found that the U.S. government would not back mortgages because too many blacks lived in the neighborhood, said Blight Busters founder John George.

The developer proposed putting up a wall to show that whites and blacks would not be living together, George said. It worked, and federal officials approved the loans.

I just don’t understand how anyone thought this wall was acceptable.  And it’s also a reminder to temper those glowing stories of how Detroit used to be a paradise.  Walls like this wouldn’t get built in my vision of paradise.

The wall still stands today.  Parts of it are tagged, while others have been covered in an elaborate mural.

During my visit I spoke with one of the wall’s neighbors.  He grew up here and recalled how he used to walk along the wall when he was a kid.

We gave a fist bump to celebrate Obama’s recent victory.

I hopped back on the bike and headed home.



Obama visits Detroit Labor Day Parade

Yesterday I rode downtown to take in the Labor Day parade. Many folks had the same idea, motivated perhaps by the appearance of Barack Obama in Hart Plaza.

There were huge crowds waiting to get into Hart Plaza, so I didn’t try entering. Fortunately some videos of Obama’s speech have been posted. I did follow the parade and here are some of the highlights.


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