Metro Retro 

Looking back on 30 years of Metro Times

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25 years ago in Metro Times: The city of Detroit and a group of small merchants start a master beautification plan for renovating and rejuvenating the areas bordering Detroit's main traffic corridors. The cosmetic plan includes a $150,000 tree-planting project announced by the Woodward Action Planning Team. This won't be the last time the city gets help planting trees. Five years later, the Greening of Detroit would partner with the city to help ensure more trees throughout the city. Today, 20 years later, the Greening has planted 65,000 trees in Detroit. What was happening: Nina Simone at the Music Hall, Mike Marshall at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, and the Bears at Clutch Cargo's.

14 years ago in Metro Times: Jack Lessenberry reports that, on Halloween, Oakland County Prosecutor Richard Thompson is charging Jack Kevorkian with violating unwritten common law, after failing to convict him in two previous trials, one of which started on April Fool's Day. Geoffrey Fieger, Kevorkian's outspoken lawyer, tells Lessenberry, "In biology class in high school we did this experiment where a flatworm swam into an electrified wire and got shocked. After about three times, it didn't do it. I guess that proves that Thompson has a smaller brain than a flatworm." This year, the Kevorkian story got the TV treatment, with You Don't Know Jack, starring Al Pacino as Kevorkian and James Urbaniak as Lessenberry. What was happening: Charlie King at St. James Catholic Church Hall in Ferndale, Labradford at the Green Room in Ypsilanti, and Stabbing Westward at St. Andrew's Hall.

Five years ago in Metro Times: Michael Jackman mourns Rosa Parks the week of her funeral. He praises her as a person who didn't just face injustice, but fought back against it. "Don't let that sweetheart neighbor-lady smile fool you: Mrs. Parks' great achievement was an act of passive resistance. She stood up to authority, using civil disobedience to fight injustice, refusing what was then a legal order," Jackman writes. His point is that those who use civil disobedience are often ridiculed as "difficult" — at least until they win. "Before Rosa Parks departs to that great Black History Month in the sky," he concludes, "let's take a moment to recall that, sometimes, 'difficult' people make all the difference." Five years later, Rosa Parks has a brand-new transit center in downtown Detroit named for her. What was happening: Savoy Brown at the Magic Bag, Junior Brown at the Majestic, and the Arab Film Festival at the Arab American National Museum.


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