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Michigan history

Vintage photo of Faygo's headquarters in Detroit.
The Feigenson Family Archives

"Remember when you were a kid? Well, part of you still is. And that’s why we make Faygo," goes an old jingle for one of Detroit's most iconic companies.  

Faygo was born on Detroit’s Eastside more than 100 years ago, and it remains a well-known pop brand in the United States today.

Joe Grimm is a journalism professor at Michigan State University and author of The Faygo Book

Cynthia Canty and Amanda Saab at Butter Bear Shop
Bella Isaacs / Michigan Radio

 

Today on Stateside, we go over what you can (and can't) do on December 6 when marijuana is expected to officially become legal in Michigan. Plus, we hear the historical holiday greetings of a Michigan family who used the break through techonoly of a Recordio to send audio season greetings of themselves to friends and families during the 1940s and beyond.

police car
Matt Popovich / Unsplash

 

Today, did the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ignore a staff scientist’s warnings about PFAS contamination in 2012? Plus, the chief of the Grand Rapids Police Department tells us how he plans to implement changes to reduce racial bias following a task force’s review of the department. 

Steven Piper

Today, Stateside speaks with Michigan’s new Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer to discuss her top priorities when she takes office, the Line 5 pipeline, and her plans to work with the Republican leadership in the state Legislature. Plus, Tunde Olaniran, a Flint native and staple of the Detroit music scene, discusses his new album with us.

March 7, 1919. Reindeer teams.  In the background is one of the churches of Archangel.  339th Inf., 85th Div. Archangel, Russia.
Public Domain

November 11th is Veterans Day. 

The national holiday was formerly known as Armistice Day, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the very bloody stalemate of World War I.

But for one group of American soldiers — known as the Michigan Polar Bears — the fighting did not cease.

Photo Courtesy of Laura Griskiewicz Rzanca and findagrave.com

 

Today, in the spirit of Halloween, we bring you two different segments on the Minnie Quay ghost story and its historical roots. Plus, Kirk Steudle joins Stateside on his last day as director of the Michigan Department of Transportation to discuss what he's learned about the intersection of infrastructure and politics. 

4 tables of boys at Christmas party at Coldwater State Home & Training School (ca. 1925)
University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library

Today on Stateside, a conversation with the reporter who broke the story of two Detroit funeral homes that were shut down for their mishandling of human remains. Plus, our education commentator shares her thoughts on how Michigan schools could update their classrooms to better serve modern students. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.  

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons

This is part three of our series "An Idea on the Land." Part one is here. Part two is here.

It’s the summer of 1831. A young French writer arrives in Michigan, hoping to get a glimpse of untouched American wilderness. He sets off from Detroit.

"A mile out of town," he writes, "the road goes into forest and never comes out of it."

New York Public Library Digital Collections

We are of the dirt.

That’s what Willie Jennings believes.

“My mother was a gardener,” he says. Each spring, as she got her garden ready, she would spray water on the dirt, and tell him to plunge his hands deep into the wet soil.

“And she would turn to me and say, ‘You feel that? You feel that son? That’s life.'”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

 

Today on Stateside, will the 44,000 people who were wrongfully accused of unemployment fraud be able to sue the state? Plus, the legacy of the 1920’s African-American Doctor who purchased a home on Detroit's segregated East Side.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

 

Michigan Supreme Court hears appeal for lawsuit against state for false fraud accusations

Debbie Stabenow being interviewed by Cynthia Canty
Matt Williams

Today on Stateside, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) on how a trade war with China is hurting Michigan businesses. Plus, Holocaust survivor Irene Butter explains why, after decades of silence, she started talking about her family’s experience during WW2.

Motor Corps and Canteen volunteers from the Detroit chapter of the American Red Cross, taking a break from delivering supplies to influenza victims.
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

Today on Stateside, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Bill Gelineau says he would cut Medicaid costs by rewarding young women for not getting pregnant before age 23. Plus, 100 years ago, the world’s deadliest flu pandemic hit Michigan and killed roughly 19,000 people.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Shelter leader responds to complaints from homeless Kalamazoo residents in ongoing protests

Haleem "Stringz" Rasul dances with Zimbabwe dancer Francis "Franco Slomo" Dhaka during a trip to Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Cultural Centre of Detroit

On today’s Stateside, we answer your questions about what happens if Michigan voters legalize recreational marijuana. And, the story of broadcast executive and former Detroit Tigers owner John Fetzer’s exploration of new-age spiritual movements.

 Reimund Holzhey mugshot
Courtesy of Michigan History Center

Today on Stateside, after a contentious city council meeting, Kalamazoo is moving to meet the demands of homeless protestors camped out in a downtown park. Plus, nationally-recognized teacher Matinga Ragatz talks about why she thinks school reform is hurting, not helping, students.

striped safety cones on a road
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

On today's Stateside, you've probably seen pictures of plastic pollution in the ocean forming giant islands or entrapping sea animals. But what happens when plastic gets into the Great Lakes? Plus, a Michigan chaplain pushing for prison reform in the 1930s wanted to enrich inmates lives with art. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes, a popular tourist spot in Northern Michigan
Flickr user Rodney Campbell / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On today's Stateside, the students in Detroit's public schools are starting the year drinking bottled water after high levels of copper and lead were found in some drinking fountains. Plus, trips to Michigan's sand dunes are a classic summer activity, but could climate change reshape the state's beloved natural landmarks? 

scan of The Michigan Essay newspaper
Archives of Michigan

For much of American history, newspapers were the main source of information for citizens of all backgrounds.

And although profits may have been a top priority, newspapers helped form and inform communities, and provided a check on government.

Topographic map of the counties of Ingham & Livingston, Michigan
Library of Congress

 

Lynching is one of this country's darkest legacies. It claimed the lives of thousands of black Americans, particularly in the South. But the South wasn't the only place where mobs of white people brutally murdered black citizens. In the wake of the Civil War, Michigan saw three lynchings of African-American men by white mobs.

Sewer cover
WikiCommons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Michigan has a long list of water problems: raw sewage overflowing into the Great Lakes, PFAS chemicals in groundwater and, of course, the countless lead pipes that contributed to the Flint water disaster.

The state's first-known water crisis, though, happened more than 180 years ago.

 

cover of Rosie: a Detroit herstory
Wayne State University Press

A new children’s book from two Metro Detroit women uses the iconic image of “Rosie the Riveter” to teach kids about the roles that women and the city of Detroit played in winning World War II.

A letter urging the governor to suppress the film
Michigan History Center

Nowadays, watching sports highlights is as easy as looking at your phone. But a century ago, not so much. 

In fact, more than 100 years ago, groups were urging the Governor of Michigan to suppress the showing of a film that recorded one of the biggest sporting events of the age. 

woodcut of le griffon
Wikimedia Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Today, we’re taking you way back to the summer of 1679. It was on this Friday, 339 years ago, that the French ship Le Griffon appeared on the Detroit River.

It was the first large scale, European style sailing ship to reach the shores of what would eventually become Michigan.

Harriet Quimby in a plane
Library of Congress

A century ago, a Michigan woman soared above the patriarchy, flouting the restrictions placed on women in her era.

It was on this day in 1911, that Arcadia Township's Harriet Quimby became the first female pilot licensed in the nation, blazing the way for famous aviator Amelia Earhart.

Michigan History Center's Rachel Clark and the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation's Curator of Transportation Matt Anderson spoke with Stateside about the trail-blazing aviator.

The LaSalle Hotel lobby, the site of the assassination of Detroit Radio personality Jerry Buckley
Courtesy of The Detroit News

Like something out of a gangster movie, radio personality Jerry Buckley was gunned down in the La Salle Hotel in Detroit 88 years ago this week.

Buckley’s killer was never found, and the mystery of his death involves mobsters, a city mired in violence, and a corrupt mayor who was recalled, in part, because Buckley protested his election on the radio.

WWI soldiers
Richard Bachus

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War One.

Michiganders were an important part of that hard-fought victory. Thousands of men fought in France with the 32nd Division, known as the "Red Arrow" Division.

Among them: Joseph Bachus, grandfather of author Richard Bachus. The elder Bachus, a native of Ann Arbor and Harbor Springs, led his men into the trenches and received a battlefield promotion from General John Pershing.  

Image of the Britannia, c. 1915. A ferry on the Detroit River.
From the General Photo Collection, Archives of Michigan

With ground breaking this week on the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, it seems like the perfect time to mark the 80th anniversary of the last passenger ferry to cross the Detroit River. 

Jason / FLICKR: HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With the tap of your finger, you can access pretty much anything these days, whether you're streaming a movie or ordering a pair of shoes. But just 50 years ago, Michigan had a law banning most businesses from being open on Sunday. 

That law, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1962, fell into a category of “blue laws.”

Wayne State University Press

She brought us the stories of Great Girls in Michigan History. Now, writer Patricia Majher is focusing on the boys.

Her new book is Bold Boys in Michigan History.

In it, Majher tells the stories of Michigan boys who did remarkable things before they were 20. These bold young men include a filmmaker, musicians, inventors, athletes, a politician, and more.

man putting wedding ring on woman
Cinematic Imagery / Unsplash

 


June in Michigan means time to tuck away the storm windows, dust off that swimsuit, and maybe attend a wedding or two. 

Weddings are currently a more than a $1 billion a year business in Michigan.

But the wedding industry here might be even bigger if the state's tradition of "quickie weddings" at the turn of the last century had continued.

Kalamazoo Ladies Library reading room
Courtesy of the Kalamazoo Ladies Library

The nation's oldest documented structure built for women, by women, was a lending library right here in Michigan. 

The Kalamazoo Ladies Library Association (LLA), loosely formed in 1852, has been holding meetings in its historic red brick Venetian Gothic style building since 1879.

Marge Kars, a former president of the organization, joined Stateside to talk about its history as the city’s first lending library.

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