Michigan history | Michigan Radio
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Michigan history

Mercedes Mejia

Today on Stateside, COVID-19 and the threat to schools as many districts approach the remaining weeks of the school year. Then, a new PBS documentary about Ernest Hemingway highlights how summers in northern Michigan influenced his writing. And, while transcribing letters about Hemingway, students uncover the unfortunate story of Marjorie Bump.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

In high school English classes, students are often tasked with trudging through the classics. At West Bloomfield High School, in Jennifer Tianen’s class, they’re getting a different view of one author in the literary canon.

These students have been transcribing the letters of Marjorie Bump, a Petoskey woman who was friends with Ernest Hemingway when he lived at his boyhood summer home of Windemere. She was also a character in his Nick Adams stories, particularly The End of Something, where Hemingway’s self insert character, Adams, ends up with a broken heart.

a table set up with people around it at the Ford Field vaccination site in Detroit
Vince Duffy / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, mass vaccination sites are opening in Michigan’s largest cities as the state races against another spike in COVID-19 cases. Also, we check in with two public health officials about the challenges of reaching herd immunity. Plus, the history of sea shanties sung by Black sailors on the Great Lakes.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Michigan has more than its fair share of lighthouses. In fact, the Great Lakes state, with its expansive shorelines, boasts the most in the country. When you think of a lighthouse keeper, you may think of a stoic, bearded man a la The Lighthouse with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. While many men led this life, Michigan has a long, beautiful history of female lighthouse keepers.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, COVID-19 cases are surging again in Michigan, with more outbreaks happening at K-12 schools. A reporter talks us through the latest data. Also, how one of Detroit’s first Black educator helped desegregate Detroit schools and bring the concept of kindergarten to Michigan. Plus, the founder of Detroit Vs. Everybody discusses his latest collaboration.

Michigan History Center

While teaching has long been considered a “feminine” job, with 76% of teachers being female in 2019, it hasn’t always been open to women of color. Not until the mid-1800s when Detroiter Fannie Richards changed education in Michigan forever.

Richards was born around 1840 in Fredericksburg, VA, and moved to Detroit after her father died in 1850. Around that time, Black Detroiters were primarily settled in the area that is now Lafayette Park and were staunchly middle class, Michigan History Center’s Rachel Clark described.

corktown sign
Robert Duffner / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s St. Patrick’s Day. While the bars may be emptier than usual, you can still enjoy some Irish history over a socially distant Guinness here at Stateside.

The day is usually marked by large festivities in Detroit’s Corktown, the tradition continues, although smaller. Pat Commins and Elizabeth Rice are the authors of the new book Irish Immigrants in Michigan: A History in Stories.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, Grand Rapids public schools are back in the classroom. The district’s superintendent discusses the return to in-person learning. Also, writer Rochelle Riley tells us about her new book, which features children dressed up as iconic and influential Black Americans. Plus, a look at the history of Black sailors on the Great Lakes.

picture of an old ship
Public Domain


President Biden speaks at an event in Jackson, MS standing in front of an American flag
The White House / whitehouse.gov

Today on Stateside, President Joe Biden signed a stack of executive orders on his first day in office, including an end to President Donald Trump’s travel ban on a number of countries with large Muslim populations. A reporter discusses the state's Muslim American communities’ responses to the controversial ban’s reversal. Also, a look at the debate over absentee ballots — during the American Civil War. Plus, a grocery store tackles food insecurity in Grand Rapids with tools from social justice.

Judge's gavel
Flickr user Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

 

It was an election year in a divided America. Tens of thousands of absentee ballots were sent out by the state. Eventually, the Michigan Supreme Court weighed in. 

 

No, we’re not talking about the 2020 election, but rather the presidential election of 1864. It was a contest between Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party and former General George B. McClellan of the Democratic Party.

 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources


Today on Stateside, a conversation with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) about making mental health accessible and the future of the Senate under President-elect Biden. Plus, a look at the history of some notable Black Michiganders—from the pre-Civil War era to the suffrage movement.

this is a picture of someone getting a shot
Rido / Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, we check in with the director of Michigan’s department of Health and Human Services in light of the new COVID-19 orders going into effect Wednesday. We'll also hear about how Native Americans in nineteenth century Michigan were at the forefront of the fight for equal voting rights in the state. Plus, a conversation about how to have awkward conversations surrounding your Thanksgiving plans (or lack thereof).

Spartan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Big Ten football returns this weekend. A sports columnist talks us through what collegiate football games will be like in a pandemic year. Also, a look at what life was like for African American people in Michigan prior to the Civil War. Plus, a Black family wonders whether they’re still welcome in their home in Cadillac.

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, what military leadership makes of Michigan's active militia movement. Also, we look into a hotly-contested race Up North that could help decide which party has control of the Michigan House of Representatives.

a political cartoon about tuberculosis
Michigan History Center

To make sense of the present, it sometimes helps to look to the past. One moment in history that’s particularly relevant to our current moment is the tuberculosis epidemic during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Despite the differences in daily life and the advances in medicine and technology since then, the country’s response to tuberculosis outbreaks has clear parallels to the current COVID-19 crisis.

Yusef Lateef plays a flute
Charles Andersen / Wikimedia Commons - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today on Stateside, an alleged plot from an anti-government extremist group to kidnap Governor Whitmer and take hostages at the state Capitol has been foiled by federal investigators. We'll talk about what we know about this case so far and how it ties into a broader discussion about the rise of violent alt-right movements in America. Plus, we talk about the life and legacy of the late Detroit native and jazz legend Yusef Lateef ahead of his 100th birthday. 

HarperCollins Publishers

Sometimes fiction tells new truths about history. That’s what happens in author Alice Randall’s latest novel Black Bottom Saints, which draws from the experiences of Black Detroiters who lived in the city’s historic Black Bottom neighborhood. The book is structured like a book of saints in the Catholic tradition. Many of the saints are based on real people, and they give voice to a place that continues to influence Detroit, and the rest of the world, today.

a black and white portrait of Charlotte "Lottie" Wilson
Michigan History Center

One hundred years ago in August, the 19th amendment guaranteed women the right to vote. But not all women benefitted equally. Voting was—and still is—more difficult for people of color due to voter suppression and disenfranchisement. While many of the most well-known suffragettes are white, Black women were also fighting for equal voting rights. Michigander Charlotte "Lottie" Wilson was one of them. 

A screen showing the logos of different social media platforms.
Pixabay

Today on Stateside, Michigan’s 8th congressional district is one of the state’s most competitive races this year. We check in on how the changing district has shaped the political calculus for the candidates there. Speaking of elections, we take a look at how our social media feeds impact our political views and why that’s a problem. Plus, the story of a Black suffragette from Niles, Michigan who used art and activism to push for racial and gender equality.

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 2000.
Joshua Schwimmer / Flickr

The state of Michigan owns public parks, roads, buildings, and even some historic artifacts. Among those artifacts are the original architectural drawings of the World Trade Center.

This is a story of how the state of Michigan – its taxpayers – came to own the works.

Thousands of people visit the 9-11 Memorial in New York every day.

Children play by the fountain that surrounds the footprint of what once were the world’s tallest buildings. Some people take the time to read at least some of the names of the people who died here on 9-11.

Native American protesters of the George Armstrong Custer monument dance in front of the monument
Katybeth Davis

Which historical figures deserve a monument? Many Americans are asking that question as the nation continues to reckon with racial injustice in the current moment. There are campaigns across the country to remove public monuments that honor people from America’s past who upheld racist systems, including slavery and the removal of Native people from their ancestral lands. That debate reached the city of Monroe this summer after a petition to remove its downtown statue of George Armstrong Custer received nearly 14,000 signatures.

A black and white photo of Richard Austin
Public Domain

Today on Stateside, we talk to Detroit News sports columnist John Niyo about how professional athletes found their voice and their power as teams in Michigan and across the country protest racial injustice. Plus, Michigan's chief mobility officer joins us to talk about the changes coming to the way we get around.

back of child's head
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, the Michigan Senate will meet in a special Saturday session this weekend to make recommendations for school reopenings. We hear from two reporters about what factors lawmakers are considering as they plan for what a return to the classroom could look like this fall. Plus, a Detroit-born journalist discusses how racial profiling and police brutality complicated his relationship with the cars he grew up loving. 

DAN WANSCHURA / Interlochen Public Radio

Today on Stateside, we dig into the history of King James Jesse Strang— a self-professed mormon monarch who held court on Beaver Island. Plus, we look back on the worst oil spill into an inland waterway in US history, which took place here in Michigan.

Marsha Music's father Joe Von Battle in his record shop and recording studio on old Hastings St. in the Black Bottom neighborhood.
Picture and caption courtesy of Marsha Music / https://marshamusic.wordpress.com/page-joe-von-battle-requiem-for-a-record-shop-man/

Before the construction of Interstate 75, the Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods in Detroit were hubs for Black life and culture. Paradise Valley, in particular, was known as an arts and entertainment district that drew people to from all over to hear artists like John Lee Hooker, Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday, and Sam Cooke. 

WikiMedia commons / Brady-Handy Photograph Collection

Today on Stateside, we talk to an elder care researcher about the mental and physical health challenges seniors face during the pandemic. Also, Flint poet laureate Semaj Brown reads an essay she wrote on why she believes her alma mater, Cass Technical High School should be renamed.

Jim Toy sitting and State Rep Yousef Rahbi standing on stage
Courtesy of Jim Toy Center

This year’s Pride Month celebrations coincided with a major victory for the LGBTQ community. The U.S. Supreme Court last week ruled that workplace protections outlined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to gay and transgender people. 

The ruling comes after decades of work by activists in Michigan and elsewhere to expand legal rights and protections for the LGBTQ community. One of those activists is Jim Toy. 

Today on Stateside, we discuss an evolving story about a COVID-related condition that has infected dozens of kids in Michigan. Plus, we get details about protestors back at Michigan's Capitol today.

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