It is a city that goes by many names. The D. The 313. Motown. The Motor City. The City That Labor Built. The Arsenal of Democracy. Hockeytown, USA.
Now I can add one more name to the list of things to call Detroit: home.
For those who do not know by now, I am no longer in Alabama. I decided to pick up stakes and move to Detroit to finish my PhD in political science at Wayne State University. It goes without saying that the home of the largest labor archive in North America is a great fit for a labor researcher rounding the bend on their career as a student. But it is not just the academics and the potential for research that has me excited: the prospect of living in one of America’s greatest cities is one that is irresistible.
It is a city that has, as one of my all-time favorite commercials put it, been through hell and back. The headlines that you have doubtless seen places a lot of focus on the hell: the city’s precipitous population decline, the murder rate, the shuttering of once-mighty factories and the laying off of proud members of America’s working class by the thousands, the corruption incompetently executed, the city’s finances laid waste, and the very democracy that the city built machines to defend abroad abrogated. It has been a long and bumpy journey for Detroit’s roughly 680,000 residents.
But there is one nickname that used to greet those who entered the city by car, and it is one that has never been more apt than it is right now: The Renaissance City. Detroit’s comeback is something that I am glad to have moved here in time to witness and take part in, and it is something that I will be periodically writing about here on The South Lawn. I will write about the things I see, the people I interact with, the festivals I celebrate with my neighbors, and the copious amounts of delicious food that I will eat.
I look forward to sharing parts of this experience with y’all.