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From 1960 to 2000, Detroit's black community grew from 29% to 82% of the city's total population, becoming a political powerhouse that city, state, and national leaders had to court. ABJ shows highlight political leaders (especially Mayor Coleman Young, the colossus of Detroit politics during all but a few years of the existing ABJ archive), and their followers among the varied interests and neighborhoods that enlivened and complicated the city's politics.

Featured Show Clips & Comprehension Questions

Related Videos

Bobby Seale responds to an audience member's question about his future

Commentary on Nelson Mandela's appearance in Harlem by Susan Watson and Emery King

Erma Henderson describes her mayoral campaign

Erma Henderson discusses her relationship with and challenge to Mayor Coleman Young

Erma Henderson's early activism and her acquaintanceship with W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson

Ernest Dillard discusses the need for cooperative action with whites on economic issues

Ernest Dillard discussing the present state of political and legal rights of African Americans and the limitations of affirmative action

Excerpts from an October 12, 1990 speech by Louis Farrakhan in Detroit

Highlight footage of Nelson Mandela's visit to Michigan

Jesse Jackson describes the way injustice is expressed in public policy

Jesse Jackson discusses South Africa

Jesse Jackson discusses the nature of the crisis facing black America

Jesse Jackson discusses the potential for an African American to be elected president and the relationship between mass mobilization and changes in public policy

Jesse Jackson on the importance of coalition building

Julian Bond describes Eyes on the Prize and the attention it gives to activists who did not become famous

Julian Bond discusses the Eyes on the Prize PBS documentary, which he narrated, and which was about to be broadcast for the first time

Kenny Cockrel retrospective

Louis Farrakhan discusses media misrepresentation

Mike Hamlin discusses Ken Cockrel's labor activism

Minister Rasul Muhammad describes the efforts of the Nation of Islam is taking to establish programs in Detroit

Thematic Questions

Do you see any common concerns in the ideas of such leaders as Erma Henderson, Bobby Seale, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan and Nelson Mandela? If so what are they?

What role do you see religion or spirituality playing in leadership among African Americans?

To what extent do African American leaders seem to be concerned with issues that might commonly be called "civil rights" and to what extent are they concerned with other issues?


Avoice: African-American Voices in Congress
This site was developed by the Congressional Black Congress Foundation to document the work of African-American legislators in Congress. It contains video and audio clips of black legislators and activists, as well as exhibits focusing on subjects such as the Voting Rights Act and the Anti-Apartheid movement.
The site of the Civil Rights Coalition for the 21st Century. This organization is a collaboration between the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund. It is a clearinghouse for civil rights news and information.

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
A public policy institution devoted to issues of concern to the communities of African-Americans and other persons of color.

Nation of Islam
Official site for the Nation of Islam. Provides institutional histories, program and policy information, as well as biographies of leaders including Louis Farrakhan.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
Site of Stanford Project devoted to compiling and publishing a fourteen-volume collection of King's personal and professional papers. The project also develops and promotes a variety of related educational activities. Among these activities is the Liberation Curriculum, including lesson plans and other educational resources.

Related Films

Finally Got The News.
VHS. 55 minutes.
New York: First Run/Icarus Films, 1970.
A documentary on the League of Revolutionary Black Workers from Detroit auto factories. It chronicles their efforts to build a black labor organization dedicated to solving problems facing both black and white worker such as speed-ups and low wages.

Getting Out.
VHS. 10 minutes.
New York: First Run/Icarus Films, 1993.
A film short focusing on three teenage gang members in rival Detroit gangs. Underscores the reality of urban life shaping Detroit's youth.

Chisolm '72: Unbought and Unbossed.
DVD. 72 minutes.
Directed by Shola Lynch. Los Angeles: Twentieth Century Fox, 2004.
A documentary on Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm's campaign to become the Democratic Party's 1972 presidential nominee. A champion of marginalized Americans she sought to draw more people to participate in the political process.


Collier-Thomas, Bettye and V.P. Franklin, eds. Sisters in the Struggle: African-American Women in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. New York: New York University Press, 2001.
A collection of essays documenting the work of African American women in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. The collection explores the complicated roles women played in these movements as well as those in local, state, and national politics. Topics include: "Citizen Schools" in the South, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the Black Panther party and the Free Joan Little Movement.

Johnson, Ollie A., III and Karin L. Stanford, eds. Black Political Organizations in the Post-Civil Rights Era. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2002.
A collection of eleven essays examining current black political movements and organizations. Some topics include: the National Urban League, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, black conservatism, black women's community work, and the role of the black church in politics.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986.
A collection of King's work including interviews, personal reflections, speeches, writings and book excerpts. Contains bibliographical references for further reading and research.

Rich, Wilbur. Coleman Young and Detroit Politics: From Social Activist to Power Broker. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2003.
Part biography, part political analysis, the author follows Young's movement from marginalized 1950s activist to major political figure in Michigan and National Democratic Party politics. This work focuses on three areas of Young's political policies: affirmative action, economic redevelopment, and the city’s fiscal crisis.

West, Cornell and Kelvin S. Sealy, eds. Restoring Hope. Boston: Beacon Press, 1999.
Transcripts of scholar Cornell West's interviews with Harry Belafonte, Bill Bradley, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Rev. James A. Forbes, Jr. and Rev. Dr. James M. Washington, Wynton Marsalis, Patricia Williams, Haki Madhubuti, and Maya Angelou.

Additional Show Clips & Comprehension Questions

Related Videos

Overview of Detroit students' trip to King Center in Atlanta.

Coretta Scott King discusses MLK's vision of the Beloved Community

Coretta Scott King describes leadership development and values

Coleman Young discusses the prospects of a black person being elected president

Opening Tribute to Rev. Franklin

John Conyers' thoughts on how the struggle for civil rights has evolved into a struggle for human rights

John Conyers discusses the issue of reparations for slavery

Julian Bond discusses the Eyes on the Prize PBS documentary, which he narrated, and which was about to be broadcast for the first time

Julian Bond describes Eyes on the Prize and the attention it gives to activists who did not become famous