While visiting the Motown museum, we wound up on a few downtown streets. The drive to Hitsville was tense at best, as parts of Detroit are abandoned with shelled out homes that seem more like grave markers. But it was seeing the same empty streets after the museum experience that really drove home the tragedy, as Hitsville showed us what Detroit used to be. You feel the history there, and the pride of the spectacular tour leads shines through. This city’s story is important. The people who still live there are a testament to that.
Everyone has let this incredible city down. Detroit gave America key parts of its modern history, but the country- mostly white people- just took and gave back nothing. Ignored it. Hoped the problem of Detroit, or even Detroit itself, would go away. I can’t stop thinking about our few hours spent in the motor city proper. I visit the surrounding areas often, but this is the first time in years I’ve been back to downtown. I’m glad I’m still so preoccupied with it.
Detroit is as much a story of corruption and capitalist plundering leading to economic catastrophe as it is institutionalized racism and how much damage white flight can do.
It deserves better.