Poletown Lives!

In 1981 a living, breathing neighborhood in Detroit was bulldozed for a new GM plant.

Join us JUNE 6th, at 7pm in the Great Hall of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church to watch George Corsetti and Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann’s film Poletown Lives! A Q&A Session with Bill Wylie-Kellermann to follow. Snacks and coffee/tea provided.

An area of Hamtramck, MI commonly known as Poletown was burned and bulldozed in 1981 for corporate gain in the form of a new General Motors plant. Most of the neighborhood fought against its destruction with everything they had, some even with their lives.      

In the eyes of media-viewers at home, the fight for Poletown seemed superfluous. GM’s presence in the media was perpetually advertised as hero, coming to pull Detroit out of or lessen the blow of a nation-wide recession. But the people of Poletown fought still, however muted their voices may have been.

The event is evidence of what a community can do when it sticks together, allowing their fellowship to reign even in the face of death. Even when the powers were trying to split and separate, the people instead united and shared. If anything, despite how angry and hurt these people were, their protests were an act of love. Love for their neighbor, love for their family, love for their church, love for their childhood memories, and love for their community. Theirs was the fight, with mute voices in the face of the media, for what’s real in life. Yet, no one was listening. They fought for the things we all should fight for and what we have fought for; theirs was a fight for the pursuit of happiness. There was nothing materialistic about it. If we look at what—as a conglomerate—GM, the City of Detroit, the UAW and the Catholic Archdiocese were trying to gain out of the deal compared to the people of Poletown, those in the wrong are plainly exposed. This is how we discern between good and evil. The same discernment which took place in the hearts and minds of those activists who helped the neighborhood fight—even when they doubted their own power to do so.

In the film Poletown Lives! George Corsetti captures the process of the community as it fought against its own demise. We will see first-hand the heartbreak and the angst--the human story the media never captured until after the wrecking balls and flames had done their job. We hope you will join us on June 6th at 7pm for a look back at an interesting time in Detroit’s history. 


If you have questions contact Brianne Turczynski, Briannefaye@gmail.com or 248-420-2926.

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