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Author Event | Linda Solomon: The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 9:24am

The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait is a book full of firsts, as photojournalist Linda Solomon was invited not only to capture historical events in Aretha’s music career showcasing Detroit, but to join in with the Franklin family’s most intimate and cherished moments in her beloved hometown.  In this talk she reflects on this book which documents Aretha's life and career.

Linda Solomon met Aretha in 1983 when Linda was beginning her career as a photojournalist and newspaper columnist and was hired to capture the singer’s major career events, and to also document everything else.  What developed over these years of photographing birthday and Christmas parties, annual celebrity galas, private backstage moments, photo shoots with the iconic pink Cadillac, and more, was a friendship between two women who grew to enjoy and respect one another.

Martin Bandyke, morning drive host on Ann Arbor's 107one, hosted this event.

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Author Event | The History of Tiger Stadium: A Love Letter to Baseball at Michigan & Trumbull

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 8:33am

After writing 9 books about the joy of canoeing & kayaking rivers, lifelong Michigan resident Doc Fletcher moves to dry land for his latest book: The History of Tiger Stadium: A Love Letter to Baseball at Michigan & Trumbull, honoring The Cathedral at The Corner where - together with great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, siblings, children, godchildren, & friends - we have cheered our Detroit Tigers. Although the structure is gone, the memories remain...

"It was a night game, the field a shade of green that was the most beautiful color I'd ever seen, the smells, sounds, and sights of the pre-game action delightfully overwhelming... the air filled with the bouquet of hot dogs, spilt beer, and a cigar aroma much like that of the House of Windsor stogies preferred by my Dad. Cries of the vendors peddling those items pierced the air. Several Tigers were engaged in a game of pepper along the box seats down the right field foul line, as nearby Bill Freehan tossed a ball back 'n forth with a teammate, entertaining the fans by playfully catching the ball behind his back."

Doc shares stories from the book of the characters on the field, in the stands, and those in the neighborhoods surrounding the ballpark, as well as about the broadcasters who brought the action to us when we couldn't be there ourselves.

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Book Discussion | What the Eyes Don't See

Tue, 09/17/2019 - 9:36pm

Stephen Henderson of WDET's Detroit Today leads a discussion of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s What The Eyes Don’t See: The Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.

The book dives into Dr. Hanna-Attisha's story in contributing to the discovery of elevated lead levels in Flint’s public water infrastructure.  Henderson is in conversation with Michigan Radio Investigative Reporter Lindsey Smith ​and State Senator Jeff Irwin.

This event is part of a community-wide discussion on the story of Flint and how it’s affected the country’s views on infrastructure, justice and the relationship between state and local government.

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Author Event | Paul Vachon Discusses "Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline"

Thu, 09/05/2019 - 12:27pm

Let’s take a walk—a long walk, back over three centuries. At the dawn of the eighteenth century Detroit was established as simply an outpost for the French to take advantage of the fur trade while keeping the British at bay. The new book Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline, by Paul Vachon, points out many of the seminal events and noteworthy turning points of Detroit’s long journey, some little known: the city’s fall to the British during the War of 1812, the existence of slavery in Detroit as late as the 1820's, and Mayor Hazen Pingree’s aggressive advocacy for the everyday citizen against corporate interests. Chapters devoted to the twentieth century highlight Detroit’s underappreciated architectural heritage, the development of its notable cultural institutions, as well as the exploits of assorted scoundrels, such as the Black Legion, the Purple Gang, Harry Bennett and Father Charles Coughlin.

Martin Bandyke hosts author Paul Vachon as he discusses and shows images from Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline.

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Nerd Nite #65 - A Tale of Two Lakes: Eutrophy in Western Lake Erie and Oligotrophy in Lake Michigan

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 4:24pm

In Western Lake Erie, massive mats of blue-green algae blossom every summer, stirring up memories of the 2014 Toledo Water Crisis with every reappearance. Meanwhile, in Lake Michigan, there are nearly as many invasive mussels in the lake as there are gallons of water. Each mussel is the size of a thumbnail and, under the right conditions, their combined force can filter the entire volume of water in Lake Michigan in less than a week. The resulting crystal clear waters are great for beachgoers but extremely problematic for the lake ecosystem. In this talk, Christine discusses some of the causes of eutrophy (too much vegetation) in Western Lake Erie and oligotrophy (too little vegetation) in Lake Michigan and how lake-wide management strategies for one problem can exacerbate another.

About Christine:

Christine Kitchens is a research technician at the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research at the University of Michigan. She graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science from North Carolina State University and an M.S. in Conservation Ecology from the University of Michigan. While she performs a variety of tasks at the cooperative institute, she primarily spends her days helping monitor and understand harmful algal blooms in Western Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. When she does manage to find some free time, she spends it running around doing more volunteering with the Huron River Watershed Council and other various local environmental organizations, playing video/board games, and basically being a massive nerd in all facets of life.

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Shockwaves from Stonewall: Gay Liberation in Michigan

Mon, 07/29/2019 - 12:42pm

In the first few years following the Stonewall Uprising in New York, Michigan experienced a surge in gay liberation activism, what today might fall under the umbrella of the LGBT movement.  Historian Tim Retzloff explores the multiple queer organizations that sprang up in Metro Detroit and elsewhere in the early 1970s and key events from that time that sent political and social shockwaves through the state still felt today.

Tim Retzloff teaches history and LGBTQ studies at Michigan State University.  He earned a B.A. in history from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in history in from Yale University.  His scholarship has appeared in the anthology Creating a Place for Ourselves, the journal GLQ, and the collection Making Suburbia.  He is finishing his first book, Metro Gay, about gay and lesbian life and politics in Metro Detroit from 1945 to 1985.

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Aaron Foley

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 2:09pm

Aaron Foley is an author, editor, Detroit native and current resident. He is the author of the 2015 book How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass and editor of the 2017 anthology "The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook." Currently, he is the chief storyteller for the City of Detroit government. Previously, he was editor of BLAC Detroit Magazine, and a contributor to several local and national news outlets, including Jalopnik, CNN, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed and Reuters. Foley draws on a wealth of knowledge about the city and discusses his life and career through an insightful perspective that is sure to educate and entertain.

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Author Event | Barbara Barton and "Manoomin : the Story of Wild Rice in Michigan"

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 2:07pm

Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan is the first book of its kind to bring forward the rich tradition of wild rice in Michigan, and its importance to the Anishinaabek people who live here. The book received the 2018 Michigan History Award and 2019 Michigan Notable Book Award.

Join author Barbara Barton as she follows the threads that connect the history, culture, biology, economics, and spirituality of this sacred plant. Learn about the vast wild rice beds that once existed in Michigan, why many disappeared, and the efforts of tribal and nontribal people working to return and protect Manoomin across the landscape. 

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Author Event | Guardians of Detroit

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 10:25am

Due to a fortunate confluence of water, geography and entrepreneurial vision, Detroit at the end of the 19th century was poised to experience unprecedented growth. Even before the Ford Motor Company was established in 1903, Detroit was a major industrial center and transportation hub. All this commercial activity and prosperity led to a building boom of incredible proportions at a time when the most popular architectural styles were Beaux Arts, Gothic Revival, Classical Revival, and Art Deco. Each of these styles typically required extensive ornamentation and because of this, Detroit became a treasure trove of architectural sculpture. 

Jeff Morrison’s new book Guardians of Detroit: Architectural Sculpture in the Motor City documents these incredible features in a city that began as a small frontier fort and quickly grew to become a major metropolis and industrial titan.  Jeff shares more than 100 spectacular close-up pictures of architectural sculpture from throughout the city of Detroit. You also learn about the symbolism behind the ornamentation and hear some of the untold stories of the artists, artisans, and architects involved in its creation, all drawn from the book. 

Jeff Morrison is a historian and photographer who has been taking pictures since his parents gave him his first camera at age nine. He has a bachelor’s degree in history and art from Eastern Michigan University and over thirty years’ experience as a graphic artist. Jeff lives in Oxford, Michigan, with his lovely wife, Susie, and their wonder dog, Manfred.

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Archivist Bill McNitt on President Gerald R. Ford

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 10:14am

Join us as archivist and President Gerald R. Ford specialist Bill McNitt discusses Ford and his legacy.

In 1965, U. S. Representative Gerald R. Ford began donating his papers to the Bentley Historical Library.  After President Richard Nixon appointed Congressman Ford as Vice President in 1973, the Library created a new staff position to arrange, rehouse, and describe the Ford Congressional Papers and selected Bill to fill it.  When President Ford left the White House in 1977, Bill (and the Congressional Papers) moved to the Ford Presidential Papers Project, a precursor of the Ford Presidential Library. He spent much of his career there processing the extensive records of the Ford presidency, while also assisting researchers in using the collections, managing a major database indexing the holdings, and helping to launch a digitization project to make key documents available online.

Bill McNitt is a retired archivist whose career at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library and then the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library of the National Archives and Records Administration spanned more than 40 years.  He grew up in western Michigan and was quite familiar with the career of Gerald R. Ford from a very young age as the family lived in Ford’s congressional district and Bill’s father James had attended junior high school and high school with Ford.  Bill majored in history as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan and began working as a student employee of the Michigan Historical Collections (now housed in the Bentley Historical Library) in 1969. He then earned master’s degrees from the University in both history and library science.