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Stateside Podcast: When Detroit loses Black representation in Congress

Two months before Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington, tens of thousands gathered to watch him speak in Detroit — a city that’s home to so many Black activists, artists, and entrepreneurs. 

Since then, it hasn’t all been easy for Black Detroiters, but the elections of Mayor Coleman A. Young, and Congressman John Conyers brought forward a new era of Black leadership.

In recent years, Detroit has lost Black representation in both local and national leadership. Mike Duggan, a white man, has served as the city’s mayor since 2014. In the latest election, two non-Black candidates came out on top to represent the city in Congress, meaning, for the first time in 70 years, Detroit has no Black lawmaker representing the city.

Bridge Detroit and public radio station WDET have partnered to create a podcast called “What Had Happened Was." The limited series interrogates in real-time what loss of Black representation means for the city.


Orlando Bailey, engagement director at Bridge Detroit, co-host of "What Had Happened Was"

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Additional music byBlue Dot Sessions.

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Ronia Cabansag is a producer for Stateside. She comes to Michigan Radio from Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a BS in Media Studies & Journalism and English Linguistics with a minor in Computer Science.