Current Project

Murder in the Motor City:
The 1967 Detroit Riot and American Injustice

The story of the Algiers Motel murders and subsequent trials, the main narrative thread of Murder in the Motor City, captures, in its tragic horror, the often hidden infrastructure of northern racism and white supremacy. From rabid residential segregation and job discrimination to racialized and sexual violence to economic and educational disparities and the everyday injustices and biased sentencing in the judicial system, racial inequality and segregation in Detroit was every bit as virulent as it was in the South. Maybe even worse.
Murder in the Motor City shows, though the autopsy of a single case, how police violence and distrust in the justice system have roots that stretch across the nation and are at last a half-century deep; how injustice infects our most cherished policies and institutions; and how good people on both sides of the color line, can fight to change it.

Today, as protestors around the country demand an end to police violence and cities like Chicago, Ferguson and Baltimore simmer and seethe with racial tension, understanding the causes and consequences of the Algiers Motel murders and the history of the 1967 Detroit uprising holds the promise for reconciliation and future change. Failure to heed this history can only lead to what James Baldwin called “the fire next time.”

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My conversation with Courtney B. Vance on the Roots of the ’67 Detroit Rebellion

My conversation with Courtney B. Vance on the Roots of the ’67 Detroit Rebellion

Listen to my conversation with Courtney B. Vance about the roots of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion. We covered a lot of ground in just 23 minutes! We talked history and the causes and consequences of the uprising that left 43 dead, more than 7000 arrested, and thousands injured and hundreds displaced. What caused the unrest? Mainly a Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)

Detroit Police killed their three sons at the Algiers Motel. No one ever said sorry.

Detroit Police killed their three sons at the Algiers Motel. No one ever said sorry.

I wrote this essay for Bridge Magazine. She reached into the box of pennies and ran her fingers across the mound. She paused, flattened her palm, closed her eyes and exhaled. Then, she scooped up a small handful and let them fall softly back into the box one by one. Thelma Pollard Gardner, a retired science teacher with beautiful gray and silver hair, remembers exactly when her older brother Aubrey gave her the coins. It was the last time she saw him alive.  Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)

Book Launch Party! Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies

Book Launch Party! Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies

Join us for the party! I am still working on my book about the 1967 Algiers Motel murders in Detroit.  But you can hear a sneak peak of my findings at the launch party for a new book on the 1967 Detroit uprising. This collection of essays investigates the origins and aftermaths of the 1967 Detroit Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)

Rosa Parks and SNCC Freedom Singers: Warriors for freedom and human rights

Rosa Parks and SNCC Freedom Singers: Warriors for freedom and human rights

This was probably one of the highlights of my career (so far). In this panel put together by the Central Ohio Transit Center, I joined a conversation with SNCC Freedom Singers Charles Neblett, Rutha Harris, and Betty Mae Fykes about the “power of one.” The first part of the video features the SNCC Freedom Singers Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)

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