tv Book Discussion on Once in a Great City CSPAN December 27, 2015 8:00pm-9:02pm EST
distraite historical society is pleased to host this special event and after today's presentation you are welcome to stay as long as read like if you have not been here there is a lot of new things you will find interesting on the first floor with in the gallery of culture you'll see some of the stories his recollections setter here today come to life through videos and are working and photographs so please don't miss that. the format today is to have a discussion and our guest today is david maraniss a pulitzer prize-winning author called once in a great city". [laughter] i should have known that and of course, it is for sale in
the bookstore so after the presentation we will ask you to go upstairs and he will be more than happy to side -- cited are few brought a book with you that is where he will be end dash is that the conclusion at about noon if we are honored to have a mark cavanagh representing the cavanaugh family the oldest son of jerome cavanagh and they will guide is an interactive discussion of the time period covered in this book. as time allows there will be questions and answers that they will entertain and but if you have a question approach the microphone in it and orderly way and big knowledge before you have your question.
sir everyone knows what questions period answering. with that we are ready to start. c-span is here that is why we have the bright lights. looking for a to a great session. [applause] >> one good morning. i am mark cavanagh the oldest son of the former mayor jerome cavanagh whose first two years coincide with the first two years of david maraniss book once in a great city". there is so many things i had always considered myself to be as sadie traits historian but i was
absolutely amazed at all i didn't know. and these are very important types of subjects of particular interest to the audience and anybody, and also in terms of the strike and a great history. what inspired you to write this book? >> i have to be assessed indicate mindy unusual way. we'll end with the cast of the broadway play lombardi and then we looked at the screen in to save detroit that caught my interest.
with going down world'' -- would revenue and i am too old to be the mn them die but i do love that hypnotic back seat and he gets out and then the black gospel choir that this is the motor city. weiss said wiry falling for this but i choked up watching a. but my memories have emerged going domino's and then go into the christmas season.
line about 1 mile up. these memories started to overwhelm me and what does that mean? i wanted to write about the jury to. i am not a financial writer says bankruptcy was always coming into view. and wanted to do something that honor that. in not including just the obvious and the fabulous motown sound track of the generation of battle so with the united autoworkers civil-rights with martin luther king coming through detroit in reverend franklin
in the labor in the city. with the working class in the middle class and all the contributions with how the whole idea and inspiration started. >> host: you chose the years 1962 through 1964 per tell us why. >> guest: i wanted to honor the city and when it gave america so and motown started in 1959. with fellow that berry gordy got from his siblings and parents and they used to help each other. so that narrowed the up period someone.
and i wanted civil rights in 1963 but the mustang was being conceived in many different ways in 1963 and then revealed that the world's fair in 1964. and i wanted to start the threads moving along so the first motor town review in 1962 and incredible busload of talent marvin gaye and mary wells and martha and the mandelas and the supremes. that starts october 62 that same week that the detroit auto show introduces the 63 models. there is the beginning of my book. i end it that is when
president johnson comes to detroit to declare hope to deliver that great society. so there was that wistful moment that period because we go what is to come but they did not. >> you have mentioned the big three and at one time that was the year they introduce more new model cars than ever. that is the vibrancy of the city. even the you have written others but your book:vince lombardi of president clinton and president obama you rightabout people in defense but now you write about a place. why the place?
>> day trait is the main character of the book. but the characters that i could write about during that period were extraordinary. print reverend franklin every does bother -- aretha franklin's father with the african american and with the sermons with 2000 people attending because they're on the radio so day commonly called up to give the service and. -- served in india as three increate bond dash incredible daughters in one of the under appreciated figures of the 20th
century was cavanaugh the mayor in that represented that instinct in so many ways but the police chief of that era actually beside from the michigan supreme court with the sole interest to improve race relations in this city with such a difficult way of 1943 said with racial confrontations with 5/8 over jobs and housing. and that is why he came. and then to introduce the president of ford motor company and lee iacocca with the development of the mustang. so detroit is the main character. a capsule biography of this
period that other people could give it the issues that i want. >> host: it is interesting that the time 1962 came and in my opinion you chose to a the most essential and important and interesting years of detroit history. going back to 1915 with henry ford but you chose a period of talent the charismatic people the charismatic. everybody is seemed coalesced in dimension to the reverend tell us about his involvement in dr. king's march walk to
freedom. >> he was an unlikely leader in some ways he had a strong following in the trait bed he was a friend of mahalia jackson and dr. king in the major protest with dogs and fire hoses and martin luther king in the idea was to do something in the northern city with the leadership conference of dr. king. said ldds deemed to reference there is a lot of dissension in with him
and representing the black power aspect of the movement in your father and so many others. people in detroit know this story but that is through the first large reiteration of the i get - - "i have a dream" speech it was recorded by berry gordy. almost all of my book coalesces on this one magical movement -- will mid june 1963. the other aspect i say that detroit was in candescent but those two did not fully realize beyond what was possible. that was the structural problems that the leadership is trying to move out of but
the structural problems of the auto industry moving away from detroit and also he emotionally. the irony of urban renewal to disrupt the traditional plaques, late '50s '50s, disrupting paradise valley area and creating these reverberations throughout the black community. i saw a referendum could - - hudson he was looking at your renewal plans there were no black churches on them. they were ignored. this same time the freeway
allows people to leave the city. , so the leadership of the '60s but then all of this slowing of creativity. >> their problems there already but detroit was the victim of its own success. image and barry gordy who came from an interesting family and was a follower of booker t. washington self-help and empowerment i found that very revealing and fascinating. >> said gordy family people think just of berry gordy, jr. but it was a family endeavor from the beginning. he is very proud to call himself a businessman first he had a musical genius to
find a great talent and delete what to do with them and in my opinion was underrated by the aficionados' of the standardized musec but it was african-american owned and run from the beginning. so berry gordy with the loan starts motown 6% interest and that is the way they operated. and vichy had voted against that it never would have happened she was a follower in the family. so early on someone brings
to him this little stevie wonder who plays a harmonica for and then marvin gaye comes to town in all of this talent including the supreme say and the temptations mary wells. in to put all that together in an amazing way. what of the things that i wanted to do in the book is throughout history the civilizations have these moments why did motown happen at that time and in this way? some of these answers are obvious another is the oral
tradition and that african-americans from mississippi and alabama brought with them to detroit also similar to chicago. then some parts that is the vast geographic city 28 miles across with the single-family homes which the working class african-americans with live in these homes and then every musician would talk about the piano was from this great teacher rate piano manufacturer. >> the largest in the country right here and also policies that would allow everybody to get a piano
whether smokey robinson actually aretha had rimini's what was easy for them but people with less money had pianos into their single-family homes. but what i thought was important was the music teachers of the detroit public schools. every musician that i interviewed with the elementary school teacher martha reed is still in detroit and i tell people as a biographer of political writer with a rock above the end bill clinton so many of the figures of politics in washington over the last quarter-century but she
talked about her high school music teacher. she was chosen to sing an aria from the opera and then breaks into the area and it was a wonderful moment that represents motown. >> en but he tried to play the saxophone. [laughter] >> i remember reading somewhere that he was singing amazing grace. >> but in support of the accord the family they were featured on the cover of a magazine called caller. staying around a grand piano so that set the tone and
they were a family that when they came up in 1922 they had money and to they had property they're all entrepreneurial and that was fascinating. >> and one of the ways these connect is his early job was of the line at the mercury plant and there he told me he was so efficient at his job and his role of the assembly line that he would move ahead to do his part before he was supposed to then he would have four or five minutes of freedom than he would have these little songs.
>> and he didn't know musical notation said he would use xylophones with the numbers that is how he wrote his first songs the number one for a different key. they are on the assembly line. >> let's talk about the union said the uaw but i was surprised at the amount of involvement in the civil-rights movement. if you want to relay that to the 63 birch. feel free. >> him and his brothers came out of west virginia to detroit working on the assembly lines. it is not in the book but i
found of video where he describes going to school on the assembly line and said you are smart you can be a minister some day. and then moving up to become a leader of the united autoworkers. to have the contentious elements from the right to a and the left that survived an assassination attempt with violent acts against him including the goons from ford motor company. he had a very strong social conscience from the beginning a large part had to do with race.
so with the rank-and-file we cease sadly about the time he died in the plane crash the autoworkers are moving out of detroit but he believed the of the announcement of racial equality so in 1963 that a key moment of my book the united autoworkers plays an instrumental role in the civil-rights movement he was one of the top aides that flew down to bring him with a wad of cash as many people were getting arrested it was the autoworkers that helped freddie in chile with the march to washington and is very close with dr. king during that period.
said he was there on the "frontline" and then to spend a lot of effort to encourage members to participate. >> he had a relationship with henry ford decided to send people say of revolt against his grandfather all but that is not necessarily in the books but he was an unusual man with that relationship developed i find it interesting. , of course, he inherited everything with the founder of ford motor company. personally he was closer to
reverend franklin never completed never explain he was divorcing his wife during the period of a book. but the better side of henry ford the sec didn't, hitler had the newspaper that iran a series of 100 articles blaming the jews for every problem in the world and hitler had a copy of that in his office in berlin. that is the infected heart of detroit. also it relates that he was an entire urban. if you see the pastoral idea
constantly speaking out against immigrants that is very hard to overcome. that is anti-immigration aspect he handed the author of course, had contentious moments because they had different negotiating places but henry ford did not want to decimate the unions as they were instrumental to the balance of power. and they got along in the odd way. and henry ford and his archival histories said i did not agree with walter with that political aspect but i liked him and respected him even if there
were strikes here and there a really set the tone for that respect that lasted for that period speaking you would get to this question about my father during the mayor during this period. but the general question is how did he fitted specifically but i think this story about the olympics is interesting there is a surprising number of people who do not know anything about detroit and the 1968 olympic bid. >> your father ties together so the elements along with one of his old friends and his dad worked in the plant, your grandfather.
and comes up 1961. they have the african-american vote after the of the year before that and the police department is counting on the african-american community community, he ties that together. and those elements are trying to pull those together. one of the great gaffes that i deal with past to deal with to bring the olympics to detroit that decision was made 1963. pursed metaphytes about losses angeles to undercut a detroit at every moment. the rest belt vs. the
sunbelt's the glitter of hollywood or detroit they overcame losses angeles and a lot of the leaders were instrumental in the international olympic committee for decades dealing with the u.s. nominee. this was their time. but largely because of geopolitics on the global scale and the rise of third world countries in day lead to mexico city. think of what might have happened 1968. with the fact to become the
center of the universe for those weeks make it there would have been bigger sensitivities we could have changed the dynamics of those disturbances. kudos. it is an interesting thing and interesting concept and if the jury got into the olympics think about that with black power when they raised their fists in the black power salute if that happened in detroit in the heart of african-american life in america i would have been a very different dynamic so those aspects fascinate me. but your father led the effort to is not his son's
father. >> politics was different back then. but there was a stronger working relationship and they agree does some of the larger questions and economic development of race relations. in is instrumental i watched many times the presentation during that period with the hope and promise of almost breaks your heart. >> so there is up flurry of wonderful news from albert mayer. and it turns out to be very prophetic.
and with those in the mix of detroit ended 1963 they were on the path to lose that many people per decade for the foreseeable future and that is exactly what happened. down from the peak before that in starting the of loss of population for a variety of different reasons. but still looking for in not seeing it the tax base will diminish to have these profound effects but sadly it blinded people to that
reality. >> was it noticed? >> not much. the one day story. they knew that this trend is something that was going on for a while but. >> believes to in interesting question was there anything to stem the tide? or otherwise to fulfill the prophecy or at least the steady? >> the combination of huge issues of smaller bad luck and may have created at different result.
and to move the factories out. i take if you talk to them for all the different short-term benefits though long-term effect would kill this fibrous city is now worth it. they regret that and then they're part of the effort to rebuild that no. decades later. and then against open housing but only those that voted for it. >> that also was then to some extent the book came after that so i the increase
in the auto industry and the freeways making it easier to get out of the city was disruptive. just like the olympics were a slight turn could have a different result. but structural problems are there from the beginning and those are very hard to overcome. >> we could spend a long time with this. but let me ask you a general question either any lessons or themes we could draw from?
>> also with the book about the vietnam war. what i would say after that is a mere cuts didn't have the vietnam war but now years later sometimes it is forgotten or ignored by the leadership. but detroit does have the lessons of the past to learn from. if we had all the answers this would be a magical world the problems of urban america. i don't have specific remedies where people go for short-term gains instead of long-term benefits.
there is a revitalization and to participate with that expatriate's coming back to detroit and in the downtown with these rich people to come back they want to make money but it is the revitalization with the people coming to detroit just like motown decades earlier. there is a lot of energy in a midtown. but what about the people of detroit? but that house is gone.
with l.f. side than the east side -- beside. as much effort and not felt left out. there is a realization of that this time and also of the other aspect. >> bid is interesting for those two years whenever error that you want to describe to detroit you would not have that interest but you do going on reputation that it had that
is the requisite -- representation the moment of incandescence but even so forget about of what the city and into the country and to the world. web back to that moment to see the shadows to remind people that the key word in my title is the least important in a great city now once used to be now once upon a great city but in a great city is still has that element and can be great. >> host: thank-you david maraniss i don't have any more questions. i have plenty. [laughter] pilot give other people a chance we will try to make this about 50 minutes total
given us your first name the. >> might leave is suzanne clinton. thank you very much to give detroit a voice. [applause] as a follow-up does the former detroit residents and now a new yorker were ddc the jury going? >> i am actually a washington guy. i do personally think is going in the right direction ina journalist and historian so be skeptical but optimistic. detroit has had these deaths
fifth and starts before. but remember this whole aspect that should have been left behind that i felt an energy. when i started the book i would be on the bed and breakfast going back to woodworth avenue and i said with a joking exaggeration that i could stop in the middle of the street. [laughter] that was years ago. but many time they came back with field more vibrant. but when the olds house is gone it is still struggling terribly.
but i see that going in both directions. >> good morning. i know your son very well. and the great books that he rode to so you know, i will ask a question about race. been looking into an urban america the structural problems that most urban problems have had why did the trade become the most racially polarized urban center and america? title for jobs and a fight over jobs and why we became the most polarized?
em back to the 1840's really. and people don't realize there are viable communities in this city of detroit property values are though. and then to be around more than 50 years. the people all realize it is one of the greatest cities in the world. not just the united states. i want you to address the open renewal is a deadlock with dr. king with a free to
all of these of the mightiest of lack of foresight perhaps good intentions but what makes a community. and with any aspect the families in the communities. >> with those historical resources. >> eight you for asking. the first lady is go there. mitt from the lombardi book and then how would he like to move to green bay for the
table. >> i grew up in dexter. the but city magazine which is the bible for cities and the lead space the economic and the delay and the lower economic but the difference is there was enough of a higher economic population who comes in and with higher incomes and and what they spend. so those cities have money coming in to them. for all the people to have good services.
i have been living 30 years in australia right now have citizenship in 40 years in the australian labor party. with that framework, america is rather unique every country east and west my speech of age dash and africa we never had left-wing politics in america. that is communist and socialist that you want to gather bit of capitalism but instead we use identity politics to take social issues and to is the left and right to be keen as he did in the middle.
how did we never ever have left-wing politics that the unions have the treaty of detroit? that we're not the only ones to sign the international bill of rights. >> i get your point. [applause] >> but the rest of the road has a bad image. would get the title of a book. the you don't tell them we have the good city it is murder city it is motown.
with general motors. >> we have time for one more question. >> i think there was a very strong left-wing in detroit i have lived here since i was 18 years old and have always been a strong supporter of detroit always at odds with people from chicago people seems to think it is a great place appeared to tell you that is not true. i have no desire to move back to chicago.
but there is a lot more to chicago the and just downtown. would have the things i have observed is you can go to chicago matter how bad it is every bit he loves it you'll never hear of anybody even with mayor daley. but in detroit people are apologizing and i always thought that was the detriment but with the lack of civic pride.
takes a look at expanding access to experimental medical treatments to terminally ill patients interviewed by kimberly weiner of health reporter for u.s. news & world report. >> thank you so much for joining me today to talk about your new book the right to try. i am looking for her to speaking with you today. >> as the time only five states passed the rights to drywall and now it's climbed to 24 states