Building Matters: Black Architects in Michigan

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February 1, 2017 at the Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

In honor of Black History Month, local experts discuss the contributions of black architects, architectural designers, and landscape architects to the built environment of Michigan. They touch on Michigan's first black-owned architectural firm, Detroit's historic Black Bottom neighborhood, and Detroit's connection to the rise of hip-hop architecture.

This video includes talks from Jessica A.S. Letaw, Karen AD Burton, Saundra Little, and Emily Kutil. Burton and Little's project, the Noir Design Parti, is a 2016 Knight Arts Challenge winner. The project documents the professional journeys and creative works of Detroit’s black architects through a series of videos, photographs, maps, and tours. Kutil's project, Black Bottom Street View aims to connect Detroit residents with the Burton Historic Collection’s photographs of the former Black Bottom neighborhood, and is also a 2016 Knight Arts Challenge winner.

Saundra Little is a registered architect and founder and principal of Centric Design Studio, an architecture firm based in midtown Detroit. Her firm specializes in office, retail, healthcare, and multifamily design. She holds a bachelors and masters degree from Lawrence Technological University, is a past president of the National Organization of Minority Architects - Detroit Chapter [NOMA-D], a board member of the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, and past board member of the AIA Detroit.

Karen Burton is a marketing consultant to architects, engineers, and artists who combines her architectural design and entrepreneurial experience to help businesses grow to their full potential. She is also founder and president of SpaceLab Detroit, a new coworking space opening soon in downtown Detroit. Karen has a bachelor of science degree in architecture from the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, studied business administration at Wayne State University, and is a board member of the Detroit Chapters of the National Association of Minority Architects and National Association of Women in Construction.

Emily Kutil is a designer, adjunct professor of architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy, and a member of the We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective.

The program is moderated by Jessica A.S. Letaw, who enjoys working on, thinking over, and telling stories about architecture. Jessica's past day jobs included design/build and construction firms. She lives in Ann Arbor with her rescue hound, Henry, and keeps herself out of trouble by volunteering for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival and other local events. She enjoys reading, gardening, and well-made White Russians.

Don't miss this opportunity to explore the history and continuing legacy of local black architects in Michigan and beyond.

Length: 01:27:07
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
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Building Matters: Black Architects in Michigan


 

AACHM Oral History: Janice Thompson

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January 26, 2017 at Downtown Library

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

Janice Thompson was born in 1939 and grew up in Ypsilanti. She reminisces about visits from her Detroit relatives to her home in the "country," some of the prejudice she faced during her school years, and pranks she played with friends in Ypsilanti neighborhoods. Ms. Thompson received a master's degree in social work, working for a time at the Veteran's Administration hospital and running programs for public housing children.

Length: 01:23:04
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


 

AACHM Oral History: Nelson Freeman

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January 12, 2017

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

Nelson Freeman was born in 1939 and grew up in Ypsilanti. He remembers being one of the few black children at his elementary school and the transition to high school with white friends. He also recalls how his father made sure local African American children had a night of their own at the local rollerskating rink, where he became one of the best skaters, and other social and business activities in town. Mr. Freeman spent time in the Navy and had a long career as a dental technician.

Length: 01:19:37
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


 

AACHM Oral History: Charles Morris

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February 21, 2017 at Downtown Library

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

Chuck Morris was born in 1938 and grew up in Ypsilanti where he attended Harriet Street Elementary School and Ypsilanti High School. He recalls Ypsilanti neighborhoods and businesses, the Willow Run Bomber plant and air raids during World War II, and the opening of Washtenaw Community College. Mr. Morris attended the Navy and retired from the Ann Arbor District Library where he worked as the bookmobile driver/trainer for many years.

Length: 01:26:51
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


 

AACHM Oral History: Phase Four of the Living Oral History Project

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2017

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File NameSizeType
aachm_loh-phase_4-720.mp41.3 GB720p Video
aachm_loh-phase_4-480.mp4435 MB480p Video
aachm_loh-phase_4-audio.mp326 MBAudio

Compilation video from Phase Four of the Living Oral History Project, in collaboration with the Ann Arbor District Library and the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County. With Fred Adams, Audrey Lucas, Chuck Morris, Nelson Freeman, Johnnie Rush, and Janice Thompson.

Length: 00:26:50
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
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The African American Cultural & Historical Museum Of Washtenaw County Living Oral History Project


 

Author Tom Stanton Discusses His New York Times Bestseller: “Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-era Detroit”

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October 11, 2016 at Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Award-winning author Tom Stanton weaves a stunning tale of history, crime, and sports. Richly portraying 1930s America, "Terror in the City of Champions" features a pageant of colorful figures: iconic athletes, sanctimonious criminals, scheming industrial titans, a bigoted radio priest, a love-smitten celebrity couple, J. Edgar Hoover, and two future presidents, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. It is a rollicking true story set at the confluence of hard luck, hope, victory, and violence.

Detroit, mid-1930s: In a city abuzz over its unrivaled sports success, gun-loving baseball fan Dayton Dean became ensnared in the nefarious and deadly Black Legion. The secretive, Klan-like group was executing a wicked plan of terror, murdering enemies, flogging associates, and contemplating armed rebellion. The Legion boasted tens of thousands of members across the Midwest, among them politicians and prominent citizens—even, possibly, a beloved athlete.

The book opens with the arrival of Mickey Cochrane, a fiery baseball star who roused the Clutch Plague’s hardest-hit city by leading the Tigers to the 1934 pennant. A year later he guided the team to its first championship. Within seven months the Lions and Red Wings follow in football and hockey—all while Joe Louis chased boxing’s heavyweight crown.

Amidst such glory, the Legion’s dreadful toll grew unchecked: staged “suicides,” bodies dumped along roadsides, high-profile assassination plots. Talkative Dayton Dean’s involvement would deepen as heroic Mickey Cochrane’s reputation would rise. But the ballplayer had his own demons, including a close friendship with Harry Bennett, Henry Ford’s brutal union buster.

Tom Stanton’s other books include the critically acclaimed Tiger Stadium memoir "The Final Season" and the Quill Award finalist Ty and The Babe. A professor of journalism at the University of Detroit Mercy, he is a former Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan.

Length: 00:56:50
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
Related Event:
Author Tom Stanton Discusses His New York Times Bestseller: “Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-era Detroit”


 

AACHM Oral History: Audrey Lucas

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September 13, 2016 at Downtown Library

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

Audrey Lucas was born in 1934 and raised in Ann Arbor where she fondly recalls her school days Jones School. She talks about activities at the Dunbar Center where she had the pleasure of singing at various city events, and some of Ann Arbor's black neighborhoods and businesses. Ms. Lucas worked for the University of Michigan Health System for 47 years, the last 35 before her retirement as a human resources consultant.

Length: 01:07:03
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


 

AACHM Oral History: Johnnie Rush

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October 4, 2016

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

Johnnie Rush was born in 1931 and was the only black person in his class at Ann Arbor High School. He recalls many fond memories of activities with the Second Baptist Church and his family, and he talks about the many challenges for African American businesses as Ann Arbor changed over the years. Mr. Rush is a licensed barber and has run his own barbershop for 55 years.

Length: 00:41:10
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


 

AACHM Oral History: Fred Adams

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November 11, 2016 at Downtown Library

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File NameSizeType
aadl_loh_20161111-fred_adams-720.mp43.6 GB720p Video
aadl_loh_20161111-fred_adams-480.mp41.3 GB480p Video
aadl_loh_20161111-fred_adams-audio.mp375 MBAudio

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

Fred Adams was born in 1934 and grew up in Ann Arbor. He recalls summers playing in the Huron River, youth activities with the Dunbar Center and Jones School, his work as a paperboy, and some of the black neighborhoods and businesses in the Ann St. area. Mr. Adams worked for Johnson Controls for 41 years and owned his own business as an Industrial Manager.

Length: 01:18:12
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


 

AADL Talks To: AA/Ypsi Reads Author Cristina Henriquez

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February 23, 2016 at Downtown Library

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In this episode, AADL Talks To Christina Henriquez, author of the award-winning novel The Book Of Unknown Americans. The Book Of Unknown Americans was the book selected for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2016.

The Book Of Unknown Americans centers on fifteen-year-old Maribel Rivera, who sustains a terrible injury. Her family leaves behind a comfortable life in Mexico and risks everything to come to the United States so that Maribel can have the care she needs. Once they arrive, it’s not long before Maribel attracts the attention of Mayor Toro, the son of one of their new neighbors, who sees a kindred spirit in this beautiful, damaged outsider. Their love story sets in motion events that will have profound repercussions for everyone involved.

Henríquez seamlessly interweaves the story of these star-crossed lovers, and of the Rivera and Toro families, with the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America.

For more information and resources related to Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, please visit the program's website at aareads.org.

Length: 00:26:35
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


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