24 Hours in Detroit- by James Weldon
I’ve been to Detroit twice before my most recent trip in November 2017. Never before have I seen the beauty of Motown. This is a city filled with so much diversity. Before really having the opportunity to experience Detroit, I believed it was probably the last city anyone would want to visit. It’s amazing how powerful the American media has become. The Detroit area’s diverse population includes French, Belgian, German, Hispanic, Polish, Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern, West Indian, Hispanics, Asians, and Blacks. To make a long story short…….Detroit is a melting pot of love. Detroit is the backbone of America, and America doesn’t know it.
After my arrival, my first stop was breakfast at The Omega Coney Island. Two eggs, rye toast and a for chili dog for $6………I left there ready to tackle Detroit. My main goal was to visit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and I was not disappointed. The spirit of this museum is so strong and you can feel the energy with every step you take. Tuesday was election day so schools were closed. What I really enjoyed was seeing parents with their children and teaching them Black History. Seeing the looks on these kids faces was priceless.
The journey within the walls of the museum started the education on Africa. I walked from pre-slave trade to Middle Passage within minutes. Before I knew it, I was looking at pictures of Goree Island, and suddenly the walls around me became a reenactment of the dungeons the slaves were packed into. From here I walked upstairs and found myself walking on a slave ship. The floor was made of wood and you can hear the sounds of the wind and slaves beaten. I made another turn and began my walk downstairs. I had no idea where I was walking into and before I knew it, I was in the belly of the beast. The entire section was full of chained slaves. The mannequins looked so real and they were packed like sardines. I had to sit down and just be still………… This was a wow moment.
After that, I was pretty much ready to go………sad but true. The journey continued with the history of slavery. I was amazed to learn how slaves were branded like cattle. Your owner would brand you on your chest, back, arm or thigh. When you were sold to another owner, you were branded AGAIN!!!! What else did I learn? Detroit was the doorway to freedom. Detroit was a pivotal part of Underground Railroad. The city provided access to Canada across the Detroit River.
As I said before, Detroit is the backbone of America. When Detroit is booming so does America. When Detroit hits rock bottom…………so does America.
Thank you, Detroit for showing me love.
Note: James wrote this post in early November, and the NY Times posted an article on November 20, 2017, touting the resurgence of Detroit. Looks like Detroit is a must-visit destination.