May 16, 2010

Detroit Loves You

Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4 | Available Light
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Let's play a game of word association. I'll shout "Detroit!" and you will in turn shout the first word that springs to mind. I can hear you all now:

"Country music!"

No, not really.

In reality, country music probably is not the first word that springs to thought when you think of Detroit.  This makes the on-going success of the Motown Hoedown country music festival all the more noteworthy.

The Motown Hoedown is an annual festival that takes places in the center of downtown Detroit in a public performance venue appropriately christened Hart Plaza. It actually is the first festival in the summer festival line up  - a festival tradition which I truly believe is one of the best things about Detroit.

The Hoedown draws thousands of festival goers from all over including people from Detroit -  and more significantly - some of the outlying, mostly white cities, townships and regions that surround Detroit.

Which brings us back the the word association game, and what I think is the wonderful significance of this portrait.

While "country music" may not spring to mind, anyone who is tangentially familiar with metro Detroit when prompted would probably be likely to blurt out:


Their outburst would be with merit.

University of Pennsylvania historian Thomas Segrue in his book The Origins of the Urban Crisis : Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit  points out that Detroit is one of the most racially segregated areas in the United States. He also opines that the roots of the current voluntary segregation in the region stretch back past the race riots of 1967 all the way to the racially contention era of the 1940s and '50s. Remnants of that racial contention seems to persist to this day.

I have a large, male co-worker who works in Detroit, but to this day says he has never and would never spend a recreational day in downtown Detroit.

Nonetheless, Motown Hoedown's perennial popularity seems to proves my large, male worker's inhibitions irrational.

Maybe I will e-mail him this photo as an invitation of sorts...

[View the weekdaily blog and meet more of: The People of Detroit ]


Tafari said...

I have read that we are; I mean
Detroit is THE MOST segreated city in the country.

On a side note, remember way be when there used to be a dfestival every weekend?

Anonymous said...

Her eyes draw me in! Good shot!!! Love it!!!

The People of Detroit said...

Tafari.. Yea, i know right. I guess budget concerns made the promoters scale back.

The People of Detroit said...

Thank you @ Anonymous