Detroit sports a very uneven background. The city dates from 1701, when Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac planted the flag of New France, some 75 years before America became a nation. Almost two-thirds of Detroit's history was spent as little more than a frontier military outpost--home to French farmers and fur traders who shared the quarters with the soldiers. But as the 20th century arrived, the impact of the automobile roused the city from its slumber. Within a century's time, the industry set in motion by Henry Ford produced a skyrocketing population, a diverse mosaic of ethnic groups, and levels of culture and affluence rivaled by few other places. The literature of Joyce Carol Oates, the architecture of Albert Kahn, and the music fostered by Berry Gordy enriched life and created the "Paris of the Midwest." But growing pains were inevitable: growing racial instability culminated in the insurrection of 1967, inflicting deep wounds yet creating new opportunities for harmony and justice that were capitalized on by Rev. William Cunningham. Today, efforts continue to remove the tarnish from this corner of the "Rust Belt."
Author Bio: Paul Vachon is a Detroit author who specializes in both local history and contemporary issues. Images in this book come from various archives throughout Michigan.
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