Week Four: To Hell and Back – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week Four: To Hell and Back

While in this placement I have seen bits and pieces of the surrounding culture. I have heard stories of how vibrant and diverse it once was, and how connected people were to one another. With whites and blacks living next door to each other, kids meeting up for their after-school adventures, and adults standing on their porches discussing the current events among other things. This neighborhood was filled with life and did not lack opportunity. Now after the “riots”, the white and black flight/the middle-class flight, the fall of the public school system, and other things has led to the decay of this and other neighborhoods.

Remnants of the past community still exist but have twisted into a new form. A form that no longer has whites and blacks living next door to each other, but miles apart. One where kids still meet up for after-school adventures, but now explore the abandoned houses and schools. Where adults are still sitting on their porches, but there are a few with neighbors directly next door to discuss how much things have changed. This is a community with a dormant culture but is also on the road to revitalization. A revival that will influence a stronger and more connected culture.

Walking in the streets, anyone especially the natives here can feel a pain for what has been forgotten and lost, but if you look past those things one can also see the potential. There is another stronger and optimistic culture rising in this community, that has been for a while. One that is ready to fight against the currents of gentrification, housing discrimination, school to prison pipelines, overpriced water bills for poisoned water, and many other attacks against their community. This is a culture that is rising from the ashes and knows what it means to go to Hell and back.

1 thought on “Week Four: To Hell and Back”

  1. Nissa Thodesen-Kasparian

    I definitely see what you’re describing in this post in Highland Park as well. Hearing from residents how the culture has fundamentally changed over time due to disenfranchisement is frustrating in the simplest terms, but I also see that sense of potential you’re describing. If history has taught us anything, it’s that perhaps culture is more malleable than we normally think and that anyone can control the power to change it.

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