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Season 4 – Episode 1: The Scene, The Hippest Show in Detroit in the 70s and 80s

Black Detroiters were invisible on local TV then . . . ‘The Scene’ changed it all    The low-budget, upstart and, to some, shocking dance show on a pioneering African-American-owned TV station put a screenful of Detroit teenagers on the air every day. If you were of an age in the 1970s and 1980s, you watched….

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Special Edition- The Polio Outbreak

With a terrible virus sweeping the nation, the word “vaccine” dominated headlines for months. Not COVID-19, but polio. Not now, but the 1950s. Elder generations remember it well. But almost all have forgotten, if they ever knew, that Detroit suffered a polio epidemic three years after Dr. Jonas Salk’s “miracle drug” quelled America’s fear of…

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Season 3 Finale: The Deindustrialization of Detroit

Some look at Detroit today and wonder how the abandoned buildings got here. What happened between The Arsenal of Democracy and now? How did a city of nearly 2 million people dwindle down to around 650,000? There are people that blame the 1967 rebellion for the urban decay the city has seen, others blame longtime…

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Season 3 – Episode 09: Lottie The Body, The Burlesque Queen of Detroit

Burlesque legend Lottie Graves-Claiborne wowed ’em on several continents, sharing the stage with numerous worldwide stars. But throughout her celebrated 90 years, Lottie insisted on highlighting the art of the tease. This week’s Detroit History Podcast focuses on a long life well-lived, and how Lottie the Body’s discretion painted a fine line between exotic dancing and mere titillating…

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Season 3 – Episode 08: Birds of a Feather- Bowling, Belgians, Beer, Pigeons, and the Cadieux Cafe

A historic cafe has morphed its way through generations of change, and still … still … there is the feather bowling. Feather bowling? Yes, feather bowling. One man, born in Detroit, found an important piece of his identity playing this unusual game of his forebears on the court at the Cadieux Cafe and he is an…

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Season 3 – Episode 07: The Politics of Fear

In 1952, famed historian David Maraniss’s father, Elliott Maraniss, was fired by the Detroit Times, the city’s Hearst daily newspaper. This happened on the very day congressional witch hunters showed up in the newsroom with a subpoena demanding he testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The family’s ensuing odyssey in search of a normal…

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Season 03 – Episode 06: The Evangelista Occult Murders

Benny Evangelista found Detroit’s near East Side fertile territory for dispensing pay-as-you-go insights into the lives of his working-class clientele. He was known in the neighborhood as a “divine prophet,” which is how the banner headline of the Detroit Free Press described him after his decapitated body and the hacked remains of his wife and…

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Season 3 – Episode 05: Far from New Orleans, Long Before Motown, Jazz Became Detroit’s Pulse

The magnet of good-paying factory jobs and the nurturing influence of an excellent public school music program helped make Detroit a hotbed of jazz and the hometown of many internationally famous musicians. This edition of Detroit History Podcast takes a look at when and how and why Detroit’s music began to swing, and how generations…

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Season 3 – Episode 04: They Sat Down and Rocked The Boat: Walter Reuther’s Blue-Collar Revolution

He came to Detroit as a high-school dropout raised in hardscrabble West Virginia. The career arc that followed — from diemaker at Henry Ford’s Ford Rouge Plant to confidant of American presidents — marks Walter Reuther as a singular figure in in the U.S. labor movement. His vision of power-sharing and social progressivism drew the…

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Season 3 – Episode 03: From Midnight to Windsor, Detroit’s Underground Railroad

From Dr. King’s march on Woodward to Cobo Hall where he delivered an early version of his “I Have a Dream” speech, to Coleman Young’s election in 1973, to Malcolm X’s days of activism in the city, to the protests of police brutality this past week, Detroit has always been a hotbed for civil rights….

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