Exhibition highlights the contributions of Detroit activists to the radical labor and community movements post-1967.
October 16, 2007
DEARBORN / Oct. 16, 2007---The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for the Study of Automotive Heritage and the Art Museum Project are hosting an exhibition called “Motor City Voices: Race, Labor and De-Industrialization” through Nov. 9 at the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery, located on the third floor of the campus’s Mardigian Library.
The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, highlights the contributions of Detroit activists to the radical labor and community movements post-1967.
“I hope that the exhibit will spark interest and discussion among our students and community members throughout the metro Detroit region,” according to economics Prof. Bruce Pietrykowski, director of Urban and Regional Studies and former director of the Center for the Study of Automotive Heritage. “The exhibit coincides with the annual meeting of the North American Labor History Conference at Wayne State University so I hope that it will generate interest from scholars and activists beyond Detroit as well.”
The goal of the exhibition, according to Pietrykowski, is to shed light on the voices of radical labor and community activists who believed that the existing institutions of capitalist society thwarted, by design, the hopes and aspirations of large segments of the American population.
“This was a period during which the pillars of the great post-war economic expansion--big business and big labor--came under intense scrutiny and criticism from diverse sectors of society, especially students, African-Americans and women in particular,” he said. “By focusing on Detroit organizations' and activists' calls for social and economic revolution during a period of social and economic upheaval we can gain insight, useful strategies and hopefully inspiration in the face of the serious challenges confronting the metro Detroit region and the whole of Michigan in the years to come."
The exhibit will consist of two parts. The first is a series of displays tracing the development of revolutionary Black labor and community leaders and the movements they led in Detroit during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Specifically, the exhibit focuses on the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.
The second part of the exhibit features a video kiosk that will play clips of video oral histories. Subjects in the videos include General Baker, Grace Lee Boggs, Mike Hamlin, Marian Kramer and Jim Jacobs. In addition, two clips from a historical documentary feature the late Ken Cockrel Sr.
The project is funded in part by a $15,000 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, the state’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Assisting Prof. Pietrykowski in developing the exhibit were Kae Halonen, lecturer in history; MALS students Sriya Shrestha, Kenny Garcia and Jason Pacyau; and museum studies intern Adam Johnson.
The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 313-593-3592.