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Great Lakes Books Series

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Mapping Detroit

Land, Community, and Shaping a City

Edited by June Manning Thomas and Henco Bekkering

One of Detroit’s most defining modern characteristics—and most pressing dilemmas—is its huge amount of neglected and vacant land. In Mapping Detroit: Land, Community, and Shaping a City, editors June Manning Thomas and Henco Bekkering use chapters based on a variety of maps to shed light on how Detroit moved from frontier fort to thriving industrial metropolis to today’s high-vacancy city. With contributors ranging from a map archivist and a historian to architects, urban designers, and urban planners, Mapping Detroit brings a unique perspective to the historical causes, contemporary effects, and potential future of Detroit’s transformed landscape. To show how Detroit arrived in its present condition, contributors in part 1, Evolving Detroit: Past to Present, trace the city’s beginnings as an agricultural, military, and trade outpost and map both its depopulation and attempts at redevelopment. In part 2, Portions of the City, contributors delve into particular land-related systems and neighborhood characteristics that encouraged modern social and economic changes. Part 2 continues by offering case studies of two city neighborhoods—the Brightmoor area and Southwest Detroit—that are struggling to adapt to changing landscapes. In part 3, Understanding Contemporary Space and Potential, contributors consider both the city’s ecological assets and its sociological fragmentation to add dimension to the current understanding of its emptiness. The volume’s epilogue offers a synopsis of the major points of the 2012 Detroit Future City report, the city’s own strategic blueprint for future land use. Mapping Detroit explores not only what happens when a large city loses its main industrial purpose and a major portion of its population but also what future might result from such upheaval. Containing some of the leading voices on Detroit’s history and future, Mapping Detroit will be informative reading for anyone interested in urban studies, geography, and recent American history.

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Maxwell Motor and the Making of the Chrysler Corporation

Anthony J. Yanik

Though usually regarded as a footnote in automotive history, Maxwell Motor was one of the leading automobile producers in the United States during the first quarter of the twentieth century, and its cars offered several innovations to buyers of the time. For instance, Maxwell's was the first popular car with its engine in front instead of under the body, the first to be designed with three-point suspension and shaft drive, and one of the earliest cars to feature thermo-syphon cooling. In Maxwell Motor and the Making of the Chrysler Corporation, Anthony J. Yanik examines the machines, the process, and the men behind Maxwell, describing both the vehicle engineering and the backroom wheeling and dealing that characterized the emergence and disappearance of the early auto companies. In this detailed history, Yanik charts the company's evolution through the early Maxwell-Briscoe years, 1903-1912; the Maxwell Motor Company years, 1913-1920; and finally the Maxwell Motor Corporation years, 1921-1925. He considers the influential leaders, including Jonathan Maxwell, Benjamin Briscoe, Walter Flanders, and Walter P. Chrysler, who executed the business decisions and corporate mergers that shaped each tumultuous era, concluding with Chrysler's eventual deal to transfer all Maxwell assets to form a new Chrysler Corporation in 1925. Yanik also discusses the aftermath of Maxwell's dissolution and the fate of its famous corporate leaders. For this study, Yanik draws on a wealth of primary sources including old automotive trade journals, the writings of Ben Briscoe and William Durant, and company records in the Chrysler archives. Maxwell Motor and the Making of the Chrysler Corporation fills a gap in existing automotive scholarship and proves that the Maxwell story is an excellent resource for documenting the development of the automobile industry in the early twentieth century. Auto buffs and local historians will appreciate Yanik's thorough and engaging look at this slice of automotive history.

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Michigan's Early Military Forces

A Roster and History of Troops Activated Prior to the American Civil War

Le Roy Barnett

Michigan has long been proud of its military service, but many of its early accomplishments are unknown to most of the state's residents. This book fills the void in our knowledge by bringing together an impressive array of information on Michigan's armed forces from 1775 to 1860. Here we find the name rank, unit, and dates of service for all known Michigan men who served in the Revolutionary War, Indian Wars, War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Toledo War, Patriot War, and the Mexican-American War. Accompanying histories explain the reasons behind the conflicts and include maps showing all theaters of operations for Michigan troops. The in-depth accounts of the state's role in these hostilities often serve as the first serious and comprehensive studies of the contributions made by its citizens in these events. Ultimately, this book stands as a fitting memorial to the many men who took up arms on behalf of Michigan.

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"Old Slow Town"

Detroit during the Civil War

Paul Taylor

Though it was located far away from Southern battlefields, Detroit churned with unrest during the American Civil War. The city's population, including a large German and Irish immigrant community, mostly aligned with anti-war Democrats while the rest of the state stood with the pro-Lincoln Republicans. The virulently anti-Lincoln and anti-Black Detroit Free Press fanned the city's flames with provocative coverage of events. In "Old Slow Town": Detroit during the Civil War, award-winning author Paul Taylor contends that the anger within Detroit's diverse political and ethnic communities over questions about the war's purpose and its conduct nearly tore the city in two. Taylor charts Civil War­­-era Detroit's evolution from a quiet but growing industrial city (derisively called "old slow town" by some visitors) to a center of political contention and controversy. In eight chapters, Taylor details topics including the pre-war ethnic and commercial development of the city, fear and suspicion of "secret societies," issues of race, gender, and economic strife during the war, Detroit's response to its soldiers' needs, and celebration and remembrance at the conclusion of the conflict. Through Taylor's use of overlooked military correspondence from the National Archives, soldier and civilian diaries and letters, period articles and editorials from Detroit's Civil War-era newspapers; and a fresh, judicious synthesis of secondary sources, Paul Taylor presents the captivating story of Detroit's Civil War history. Until now, why events occurred as they did in Detroit during the Civil War and what life was like for its residents has only been touched upon in any number of general histories. Readers interested in American history, Civil War history, or the ethnic history of Detroit will appreciate the full picture of the time period Taylor presents in "Old Slow Town."

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The Political Activities of Detroit Clubwomen in the 1920s

A Challenge and a Promise

Jayne Morris-Crowther

In the early 1900s, Detroit's clubwomen successfully lobbied for issues like creating playgrounds for children, building public baths, raising the age for child workers, and reforming the school board and city charter. But when they won the vote in 1918, Detroit's clubwomen, both black and white, were eager to incite even greater change. In the 1920s, they fought to influence public policy at the municipal and state level, while contending with partisan politics, city politics, and the media, which often portrayed them as silly and incompetent. In this fascinating volume, author Jayne Morris-Crowther examines the unique civic engagement of these women who considered their commitment to the city of Detroit both a challenge and a promise. By the 1920s, there were eight African American clubs in the city (Willing Workers, Detroit Study Club, Lydian Association, In As Much Circle of Kings Daughters, Labor of Love Circle of Kings Daughters, West Side Art and Literary Club, Altar Society of the Second Baptist Church, and the Earnest Workers of the Second Baptist Church); in 1921, they joined together under the Detroit Association of Colored Women's Clubs. Nearly 15,000 mostly white clubwomen were represented by the Detroit Federation of Women's Clubs, which was formed in 1895 by the unification of the Detroit Review Club, Twentieth Century Club, Detroit Woman's Club, Woman's Historical Club, Clio Club, Wednesday History Club, Hypathia, and Zatema Club. Morris-Crowther begins by investigating the roots of the clubs in pre-suffrage Detroit and charts their growing power. She goes on to consider the women's work in three areas-Policies That Affect Women and Children, Protecting the Home against Enemies, and Home as Part of the Urban Environment-and considers the numerous challenges they faced in The Limits of Enfranchised Citizens. An appendix contains the 1926 Directory of the Detroit Federation of Women's Clubs. In the end, Morris-Crowther shows that Detroit's clubwomen pioneered new lobbying techniques like personal interviews, and used political education in savvy ways to bring politics to the community level. This volume will be interesting reading for enthusiasts of Detroit history and readers wanting to learn more about women and politics of the 1920s.

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Race, Religion, and the Pulpit

Rev. Robert L. Bradby and the Making of Urban Detroit

Julia Marie Robinson

During the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West, the local black church was essential in the making and reshaping of urban areas. In Detroit, there was one church and one minister in particular that demonstrated this power of the pulpit—Second Baptist Church of Detroit (“Second,” as many members called it) and its nineteenth pastor, the Reverend Robert L. Bradby. In Race, Religion, and the Pulpit: Rev. Robert L. Bradby and the Making of Urban Detroit, author Julia Marie Robinson explores how Bradby’s church became the catalyst for economic empowerment, community building, and the formation of an urban African American working class in Detroit. Robinson begins by examining Reverend Bradby’s formative years in Ontario, Canada; his rise to prominence as a pastor and community leader at Second Baptist in Detroit; and the sociohistorical context of his work in the early years of the Great Migration. She goes on to investigate the sometimes surprising nature of relationships between Second Baptist, its members, and prominent white elites in Detroit, including Bradby’s close relationship to Ford Motor Company and Henry Ford. Finally, Robinson details Bradby’s efforts as a “race leader” and activist, roles that were tied directly to his theology. She looks at the parts the minister played in such high-profile events as the organizing of Detroit’s NAACP chapter, the Ossian Sweet trial of the mid-1920s, the Scottsboro Boys trials in the 1930s, and the controversial rise of the United Auto Workers in Detroit in the 1940s. Race, Religion, and the Pulpit presents a full and nuanced picture of Bradby’s life that has so far been missing from the scholarly record. Readers interested in the intersections of race and religion in American history, as well as anyone with ties to Detroit’s Second Baptist Church, will appreciate this thorough volume.

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Redevelopment and Race

Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit

June Manning Thomas

In the decades following World War II, professional city planners in Detroit made a concerted effort to halt the city's physical and economic decline. Their successes included an award-winning master plan, a number of laudable redevelopment projects, and exemplary planning leadership in the city and the nation. Yet despite their efforts, Detroit was rapidly transforming into a notorious symbol of urban decay. In Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit, June Manning Thomas takes a look at what went wrong, demonstrating how and why government programs were ineffective and even destructive to community needs. In confronting issues like housing shortages, blight in older areas, and changing economic conditions, Detroit's city planners worked during the urban renewal era without much consideration for low-income and African American residents, and their efforts to stabilize racially mixed neighborhoods faltered as well. Steady declines in industrial prowess and the constant decentralization of white residents counteracted planners' efforts to rebuild the city. Among the issues Thomas discusses in this volume are the harmful impacts of Detroit's highways, the mixed record of urban renewal projects like Lafayette Park, the effects of the 1967 riots on Detroit's ability to plan, the city-building strategies of Coleman Young (the city's first black mayor) and his mayoral successors, and the evolution of Detroit's federally designated Empowerment Zone. Examining the city she knew first as an undergraduate student at Michigan State University and later as a scholar and planner, Thomas ultimately argues for a different approach to traditional planning that places social justice, equity, and community ahead of purely physical and economic objectives. Redevelopment and Race was originally published in 1997 and was given the Paul Davidoff Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in 1999. Students and teachers of urban planning will be grateful for this re-release. A new postscript offers insights into changes since 1997.

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Riding the Roller Coaster

A History of the Chrysler Corporation

Charles K. Hyde

From the Chrysler Six of 1924 to the front-wheel-drive vehicles of the 70s and 80s to the minivan, Chrysler boasts an impressive list of technological "firsts." But even though the company has catered well to a variety of consumers, it has come to the brink of financial ruin more than once in its seventy-five-year history. How Chrysler has achieved monumental success and then managed colossal failure and sharp recovery is explained in Riding the Roller Coaster, a lively, unprecedented look at a major force in the American automobile industry since 1925. Charles Hyde tells the intriguing story behind Chrysler-its products, people, and performance over time-with particular focus on the company's management. He offers a lens through which the reader can view the U.S. auto industry from the perspective of the smallest of the automakers who, along with Ford and General Motors, make up the "Big Three." The book covers Walter P. Chrysler's life and automotive career before 1925, when he founded the Chrysler Corporation, to 1998, when it merged with Daimler-Benz. Chrysler made a late entrance into the industry in 1925 when it emerged from Chalmers and Maxwell, and further grew when it absorbed Dodge Brothers and American Motors Corporation. The author traces this journey, explaining the company's leadership in automotive engineering, its styling successes and failures, its changing management, and its activities from auto racing to defense production to real estate. Throughout, the colorful personalities of its leaders-including Chrysler himself and Lee Iacocca-emerge as strong forces in the company's development, imparting a risk-taking mentality that gave the company its verve. How Chrysler has achieved monumental success and then managed colossal failure and sharp recovery is explained in Riding the Roller Coaster, a lively, unprecedented look at a major force in the American automobile industry since 1925. Charles Hyde tells the intriguing story behind Chrysler-its products, people, and performance over time-with particular focus on the company's management. He offers a lens through which the reader can view the U.S. auto industry from the perspective of the smallest of the automakers who, along with Ford and General Motors, make up the "Big Three." The book covers Walter P. Chrysler's life and automotive career before 1925, when he founded the Chrysler Corporation, to 1998, when it merged with Daimler-Benz. Chrysler made a late entrance into the industry in 1925 when it emerged from Chalmers and Maxwell, and further grew when it absorbed Dodge Brothers and American Motors Corporation. The author traces this journey, explaining the company's leadership in automotive engineering, its styling successes and failures, its changing management, and its activities from auto racing to defense production to real estate. Throughout, the colorful personalities of its leaders-including Chrysler himself and Lee Iacocca-emerge as strong forces in the company's development, imparting a risk-taking mentality that gave the company its verve.

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Roads to Prosperity

Economic Development Lessons from Midsize Canadian Cities

Gary Sands and Laura A. Reese

Roads to Prosperity: Economic Development Lessons from Midsize Canadian Cities explores the relative prosperity of midsize Canadian urban areas (population 50,000 to 400,000) over the past two decades. Communities throughout North America have strived for decades to maintain and enhance the prosperity of their residents. In the areas that are the focus of this research, the results of these efforts have been mixed-some communities have been relatively successful while others have fallen further behind the national averages. Midsize cities often lack the resources, both internal and external, to sustain and enhance their prosperity. Policies and strategies that have been successful in larger urban areas may be less effective (or unaffordable) in smaller ones. Roads to Prosperity first examines the economic structure of forty-two Canadian urban regions that fall within the midsize range to determine the economic specializations that characterize these communities and to trace how these specializations have evolved over the time period between 1991 and 2011. While urban areas with an economic base of natural resource or manufacturing industries tend to retain this economic function over the years, communities that rely on the service industries have been much more likely to experience some degree of restructuring in their economies over the past twenty years. The overall trend among these communities has been for their employment profiles to become more similar and for their economic specialization to fade over time. The second part of the book looks at a number of currently popular economic development strategies as they have been applied to midsize urban areas and their success and failures. While there appears to be no single economic development strategy that will lead to greater prosperity for every community, Sands and Reese explore the various factors that help eplain why some work and others don't. Those with an interest in urban planning and community development will find this monograph highly informative.

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A Sailor's Logbook

A Season Aboard Great Lakes Freighters

Mark L. Thompson

In this firsthand account of life aboard the ships of the Great Lakes, Mark Thompson weaves together the threads of a story that relives a centuries-old tradition. Thompson began his logbook after he reported for duty aboard the Calcite II at Fraser Shipyard in Superior, Wisconsin, for the 1996 shipping season. A Sailor's Logbook is the first such book to chronicle a sailor's life at the end of the twentieth century. Not just a detailing of weather, cargo, and crew relations, A Sailor's Logbook is also an account of the daily lives of a diverse group of crewmembers as they share their sailing knowledge, "sea stories," and the many memories that accompany the pictures. Although there are ample resources in museums, archival collections, and company files regarding statistical logbook information, A Sailor's Logbook details the intricacies of daily life on a Great Lakes freighter. Thompson navigates the reader through the waters of the Great Lakes and his own life in this very special narrative.

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