Monday, October 12, 2015

GOLDEN ERA - Detroit

"What Detroit’s golden years gave America" PBS NewsHour 10/5/2015


SUMMARY:  Detroit once seemed a city that stood on the threshold of unlimited possibilities.  Washington Post and Detroit native David Maraniss examines that creative and booming metropolis of 50 years ago in his new book, "Once in a Great City."  Maraniss joins Jeffrey Brown to discuss that golden era and the signs of troubled times to come.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Next, the latest addition to the NewsHour Bookshelf.

In the early 1960s, it was a city that stood on the threshold of unlimited possibilities, but it wasn’t to be.  Today, some two years after Detroit declared bankruptcy, it is slowly recovering from decades of decline.

Washington Post editor and Detroit native David Maraniss looks at the Motor City of 50 years ago in his new book, “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story.”

Jeffrey Brown talked to him recently at the National Book Festival here in Washington.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  So, “Once in a Great City,” you are taking us back to a great moment, right, maybe like the heights, right, of…

DAVID MARANISS, Author, “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story”:  Well, it’s a moment — the book takes place between 1962 and 1964, when Motown was booming, when the Mustang* was being conceived, when cars were selling more than ever before, when Walter Reuther and the labor movement were at their peak.

The working people of Detroit were reaching the middle class.  There was so much luminescence about the city then, but it was a luminescence that was also a dying light.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Well, before you get to the dying light, the luminescence, what was Detroit at that moment?  Because it’s so easy to forget when you — given what we look at now.

DAVID MARANISS:  It had 1.7 million people.  Now it’s down to 700,000.

It had — the Big Three was building more cars than ever before.  It had a creative spirit.  The book — one of the threads of the book is creation, creativity, destruction, decay.  And you see them sort of intertwined.  And it was very creative at that point.  You could invent yourself in Detroit 50 years ago.

JEFFREY BROWN:  And, of course, Motown famously invented itself and then many wonderful and famous musicians.

DAVID MARANISS:  Totally, yes, which is one of the key threads of the book, Berry Gordy and his family.

I give a lot of due to his sisters actually.  The whole Gordy family created Motown.  And all of this local talent, it’s just stunning to think about Smokey Robinson Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, the Supremes, Martha Reeves, Mary Wells.  All these great musicians grew up near each other, and Aretha Franklin, who wasn’t Motown, but was there.

* I own a 2015 Ford Mustang, V6, Manual Trans.

No comments: