Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Housing discrimination on trial at WSU; urban food policies under review at U-M

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 3:25 PM

A couple weeks back, we took Time magazine to task for its retelling of — Time’s headline — “The Tragedy of Detroit.” The region’s stark segregation is one of the elements of that, but, as we argued in a blog posting last week, the piece overplays the role of the 1967 riot and underplays other equally troubling factors.

In examining a key factor, the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion puts the federal government on trial – even if it’s only a mock trial — on Friday, Oct. 16. Judge Victoria Roberts of the U.S. District Court in Detroit presides as attorneys argue the fictional — but hardly unrealistic — case of Miller v. Federal Housing Administration, in which attorneys for Miller, an African American, will argue that FHA policies kept him from buying a home in the suburbs in 1949 and 1960, first through FHA-endorsed racially restrictive covenants and then through red lining.

Following the trial, panels will examine how racial housing patterns, in turn, “impact health care, education, employment, business development, entrepreneurship, urban development and mass transit.” Other discussions during the daylong program include the history southeast Michigan housing and the current crisis in home foreclosures.

“Michigan’s history of discrimination continues to impede the state’s progress, and this is something we can only overcome through awareness,” Roundtable President and CEO Thomas Costello said in a press release. “We cannot move to a new beginning without recognizing history.”

The program at WSU costs $30, including continental breakfast, lunch and parking. More information at or call 517-485-6600.

On the evening before the roundtable, an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit looks at the intertwined histories of race and housing in metropolitan Detroit.

Meanwhile, looking to the future of the city, the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan, hosts a panel next week on “The Role of Urban Food Retail in Detroit’s Economic Development and Revitalization.” Panelists include Randall Fogelman of the Eastern Market Corporation and Margaret Garry of the Michigan Department of Social Services.

That program is held at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Annenberg Auditorium, 1120 Weill Hall, 735 South State St., Ann Arbor.

That program is to be held Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 4-5:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. More information at or by calling 734-647-4091.

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