DETROIT MOTOWN BERRY GORDY signed 1974 contract BINGO LONG BASEBALL MOVIE RARE


DETROIT MOTOWN BERRY GORDY signed 1974 contract BINGO LONG BASEBALL MOVIE RARE

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DETROIT MOTOWN BERRY GORDY signed 1974 contract BINGO LONG BASEBALL MOVIE RARE:
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AN EXCESSIVELY RARE 3 PAGE CONTRACT SIGNED BY BERRY GORDY OF MOTOWN PICTURES COMPANY, NEIL B. FISCHER VICE PRESIDENR OF MOTOWN RECORD CORP AND VICE PRESIDENT OF UNIVERSAL PICTURES
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings is a 1976 American sports comedy film about a team of enterprising ex-Negro league baseball players in the era of racial segregation. Loosely based upon William Brashler's 1973 novel of the same name, it starred Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones and Richard Pryor. Directed by John Badham, the movie was produced by Berry Gordy for Motown Productions and Rob Cohen for Universal Pictures, and released by Universal on July 16, 1976.
The film was a box office success, grossing $33 million on a $9 million budget.
On July 16, 1976, Universal Pictures released a movie depicting just that when The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings premiered in theaters. Running almost two hours, the film, directed by John Badham – who, a year later, would gain fame directing Saturday Night Fever – and co-produced by Motown’s Berry Gordy, portrays a group of former Negro Leaguers who split from their teams in favor of barnstorming throughout the Midwestern United States.
The Baseball Hall of Fame recently acquired five lobby cards from the movie, each one depicting a different scene. Lobby cards such as these, which measure 11 inches by 14 inches, are often used by production companies to promote their films, similar in nature to the more common film posters. The cards feature the movie’s major stars: Billy Dee Williams, who played the title role of Bingo Long; Richard Pryor, who played Charlie Snow, a ballplayer who desired to break into Major League Baseball however he could; and James Earl Jones, who was the team’s slugging catcher, Leon Carter.
  • Motown Industries, the nation's largest black enterprise, increasingly presents an image of black and white management whose favorite color is green.

Berry Gordy Jr., the 44‐year‐old prime mover who built the record company out of an $800 loan, luck, determination and an ability to extract talent from the desolation of the Detroit ghetto, doesn't come around much anymore. Instead he leaves to associates the day‐to‐day functioning of the business, which he owns almost outright and which he heads as chairman and chief executive ot tice.
Chief among his associates are two white menMichael Roshkind, vice chairman of the hoard, and Berle Adams, executive vice president and chief operating officer. These two are directing the plans laid out by Mr. Gordy toward diversification and expansion of Motown, which had sales last year of more than $46‐million.
Profits of this privately owned company have not been disclosed. But on the basis of its published revenues, Black Enterprise magazine recently ranked it as the largest black‐owned and black‐managed business in the country.
Mr. Roshkind, a 50‐year‐old former television news executive and public relations practitioner, has been with Motown for nine of its 15 years. He functions as the chairman's alter ego, steering what he calls the nonroutine projects.
Mr. Adams, 55, has had a long career in show business as a manager and agent. For years he was executive vice president of MCA, Inc. He joined Motown in April from the William Morris Agency.
Dig deeper into the moment.Special offer: Subscribe for $1 a week.The arrival of Mr. Adams revived speculation that the company might he preparing to sell stock to the public.
“It's something we've talked about here for three or four years,” says Mr. Roshkind, “and it's amazing how some of the most respected investment bankers have been courting us.” But Mr. Adams says going public “is more a possibility than an objective.” And he adds, “It won't affect anything we plan to do.”
“Berry” is the answer one gets to almost any question of how Motowo got to be the largest independent record company in the world. And Mr. Gordy's inaccessibility lends a certain aura to this man, even in a town accus tomed to the elusiveness of Howard Hughes.
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How the First Black Female Jockey Rode Into OblivionContinue reading the main storyIf it appears ironic to some that two white men function at the top of the most successful black enterprise, it does not to those involved.
“Sure, if he had a choice between two people of equal qualifications, he would have to favor the black,” says Mr. Admas, “hut Berry really sees no color.” Something over 50 per cent of the company's 375 emNoyes are black.
As for Mr. Gordy's reluctance to see the press, Mr. Aoshkind explained: “Berry's a very secure, self‐sufficient guy. He's made a lot of money. He's not seeking any publicity, and right now he just
• eels his privacy is very important to him.’
The generally accepted facts about Mr. Gordy would not please a mind accustomed to orderly chronology. An approximation of the past finds Mr. Gordy graduating from high school in Detroit and then, between stints on the Ford Motor Company assembly line, working as professional featherweight iboxer and (on the side) as an aspiring songwriter.
After Army service during the Korean War, Mr. Gordy returned to Detroit and concentrated on the music business. A devotee of jazz, he went broke in 1956 in his first music venture, the 3‐D Record Mart. It featured large inventory of jazz records when everybody was buying rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll.
Mr. Gordy got the message and continued songwriting. His break came when he and his sister Gwen wrote “Lonely Tear Drops” and singing star Jackie Wilson's record of it sold more than one million copies — a gold record, as it's known in the trade.
But Mr. Gordy soon found out, as he is quoted by associates, “you can go broke with hits” if somebody else is producing the records.
That thought and some money borrowed from his family was the start of Motown, taking its name from Motor City. The first big hit for Motown was “Shop Around,” recorded by one of Detroit's numerous teen‐age singing groups, The Miracles.
From that point, Mr. Gordy and his company were blazing a trail in the music world. He began scouring the black neighborhoods for talent. Most of the people he found —including Diana Ross, The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas and Stevie Wonder —are still under exclusive contract to Motown and recording on that label or on Tamla, Gordy, V.I.P. and Soul.
Other popular groups, including the Four Tops and Gladys Knight and the Pips, are among Motown's big names who have since moved to other companies offering greater personal attention and more lucrative contracts.
Motown's executives decline to discuss such things, but trade reports have it that Miss Ross has just renewed her exclusive contract with Motown for five more years. If part of Mr. Gordy's genius was in finding and developing stars, another part w‐s his ability in keeping then loyal and in popular demand over long periods. (Mr. Wonder began his Motown act billed as Little Stevie Wonder.)
Jobete Music, the company's music publishing arm.
The distinctive Motown sound that caught on has been attributed by Mr. Gordy to poor acoustics in the fledg‐ling company's first studios in the Detroit ghetto, and has been described by him as “rats, roaches, struggle, talent, guts and los'e.”
That is how Mr. Gordy built the company. How he lives, now that he is rich, is more difficult to ascertain. Over the grounds of his massive Bel Air estate (which used to belong to Red Skelton) roam three llamas, numerous peacocks and an ostrich‐like bird called a rhea. Like most Hollywood palaces, the house has its own room for screening movies.
Mr. Gordy is not part of the fancy restaurant circuit. He prefers private parties, at which 150 guests might show up. His associates say he does not live in the girlin‐every‐room fashion of Bernie Cornfeld, a neighbor, or in the publicity‐seeking style of Hugh Hefner, another neighbor.
Mr. Roshkind says Mr. Gordy might stay up, all night playing backgammon (his friend Mr. Hefner shares a penchant for the game) or participating in recording sessions in a studio. However, most of the business meetings Mr. Roshkind has with his boss take place at the mansion at S o'clock in the morning.
And if Mr. Roshkind speaks for his boss, Mr. Gordy is very bullish man.
“There's no question that this will be a $100‐million company,” said Mr. Roshkind. “Not just because Berry says so, but because that's the way we're headed. Ultimately we may have a whole leisuretime operation.”
Right now Motown Industries is the umbrella company for four operating divisions:
Motown Records, the base on which the Gordy empire was built. It remains the biggest part of the business and is expanding rapidly overseas.
It also is big and growing.
¶Multi‐Media, which handles personal management of entertainers.
¶Motown Productions, which has produced six television specials since 1968 and the weekly TV cartoon feature starring the Jackson Five. It also did the movie “Lady Sings the Blues,” starring Diana Ross, It was the main backer of the Broadway musical “Pippin” and has others in the works.
It is in the movie business, Mr. Roshkind indicates, that much of Motown's expansion will come.
“You know, Berry's a very creative businessman. But we also come on tough.” Mr. Roshkind, once Walter Winchell's broadcast news director, added in his Winchelllike tone: “Berry came to town three years ago, and in a very short time this company has made its mark in this industry.”
Motown's second film, “Mahogany,” also starring Miss Ross, begins filming in September. Two other films — “Bingo Long” and “Havana” — are scheduled to start production soon after that.
The company's experience with “Lady Sings the Blues” tends to bear out Mr. Roshkind's boast of great potential in movies.
Paramount was committed to $2‐million in partnership with Motown in financing that movie but was unwilling to pump in more funds when Mr. Gordy decided it was necessary to do so to give the film the artistic standards he sought. So Mr. Gordy put up $2‐million to buy out Paramount's interest and financed the extra budget himself. The movie had five Academy Award nominations and has grossed more than $8.5‐million to date.
“We like to have full creative control,” said Mr. Roshkind. This theme is echoed by Suzanne de Passe, the 27‐year‐old black woman who is vice president of creative operations.
“We stick with our artists as they develop,” she declared. “We're only interested in artists who can stay hot for 10 years and more.” Unlike many other big‐name record labels, Motown owns its production and manufacturing facilities — again, full control.
The Motown sound, performed by black artists, has always made its mark in the rhythm and blues market. But such stars as Stevie Wonder, whose records appeared first in the R & B popularity charts, eventually crossed over to lead the pop charts. Miss de Passe sees Motown developing more of what the industry calls MOR (middle‐of‐the road) and country and western performers, who also will pass over to the other charts.
"The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings" works so hard to be entertaining - is so determined to be funny and colorful and poignant and nostalgic all at once - that it almost succeeds in outrunning itself. It begins with a wonderful premise - a team of stars from the Negro National Baseball League walks out on their tight-fisted owners and set up shop for themselves. But then it's more willing to entertain us through the high jinx of the stars than through the intrinsic interest of the story. We feel there must have been more, and it must have run deeper, than this movie will allow.
That's not to say the movie's not fun, because it is. But it's fun as a sort of superior "Let's Do It Again," when it might have been a great deal more. It shows us the outside of what it must have been like to be a young, gifted athlete, barred from the major leagues because of color. It shows us the invention, courage and humor the stars brought to their dilemma. But not more than once or twice - and then largely by implication - does it risk suggesting the absolute awfulness of sports apartheid.
Maybe that's because this movie, like Bingo Long's All-Stars themselves, is determined to be a breakthrough. The industry calls it a "crossover" picture - about blacks, but made for all audiences. It's that, all right, and on its own cheerful, skillful level, it will no doubt delight large audiences. But as I sat through it, I almost began to feel like a member of one of the All-Stars' first white audiences, laughing at the cut-up antics of the players but never seeing the hurt underneath.
The movie takes place in 1939, and grows out of William Brashler's sensitive, well-researched and enormously entertaining novel. It's based on the real Negro leagues, now criminally forgotten by the baseball historians - the leagues with stars like Sachel Paige and Josh Gibson (who inspire the characters played here by Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones). They were good enough to play big-league ball; indeed, history has shown that they were much more than that. But there was an unwritten color ban, and so they barnstormed the little parks on the wrong sides of the tracks.
After Bingo Long (Williams), a star pitcher, is fined for trying to "foment rebellion!" in the ranks of his club, he talks Leon Carter (Jones) and other black stars into leaving the black league and forming their own barnstorming team. That works fine until the owners of the other black teams boycott the All-Stars. Then they have to play pickup games with semipro and minor-league white teams. And white audiences don't come to see their home boys defeated; they want to see the blacks put on a show.
Bingo's team responds as if it's being managed by Abe Saperstein and Bill Veeck in their heydays. They bat backwards, use oversized gloves, send in a midget to play, throw firecrackers instead of baseballs and cakewalk down Main St. to advertise their games. We understand, as we're meant to, that they're Uncle Tomming to survive. What we don't quite understand is why their behavior is supposed to be as funny today as it was meant to be then.The movie's redeemed by several performances, especially by James Earl Jones as the player who's too old when the Brooklyn Dodgers finally decide to sign a black. He doesn't have much dialog on the subject, but his expressive face unmistakably displays the rage and pain he feels. Richard Pryor, as a player who studies his Spanish dictionary and wants to break into the majors as a "Cuban," is hilarious - he's often the best thing in his movies - and spends no end of time trying to figure out his (or any) batting average.
But John Badham's direction is unsteady, his continuity is sometimes confused and he blows a lot of lines by having them spoken offscreen for no apparent reason. "Bingo Long" is fun, it's pleasant to watch, but it cakewalks too much on its way to the box office.
Baseball and motion pictures go together just like peanuts and Cracker Jack – and even further back than when the snack pairing was first advertised in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
But while dozens of films have adopted baseball as a central theme or motif, few have sought to recapture the heady days of the Negro Leagues and African-American baseball.
On July 16, 1976, Universal Pictures released a movie depicting just that when The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings premiered in theaters. Running almost two hours, the film, directed by John Badham – who, a year later, would gain fame directing Saturday Night Fever – and co-produced by Motown’s Berry Gordy, portrays a group of former Negro Leaguers who split from their teams in favor of barnstorming throughout the Midwestern United States.
The Baseball Hall of Fame recently acquired five lobby cards from the movie, each one depicting a different scene. Lobby cards such as these, which measure 11 inches by 14 inches, are often used by production companies to promote their films, similar in nature to the more common film posters. The cards feature the movie’s major stars: Billy Dee Williams, who played the title role of Bingo Long; Richard Pryor, who played Charlie Snow, a ballplayer who desired to break into Major League Baseball however he could; and James Earl Jones, who was the team’s slugging catcher, Leon Carter.
The film begins with black and white newsreel footage dated 15 Mar 1939, featuring Adolph Hitler, Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha, an American man who performs unusual tricks, and Negro league baseball teams. The end credits conclude with the following written statement: "The producers wish to thank the people of the State of Georgia for their generous assistance in the making of this film." A 17 Sep 1973 Publishers Weekly news item announced that Motown purchased the rights to William Brashler’s novel and hired Billy Dee Williams for the lead. A news item in the 19 Jul 1974 DV reported that the film was budgeted for just under $3 million. Baseball stars Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Maury Wills, among others would be considered for cameo appearances. Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins had written the screenplay, and directorial candidates included George Roy Hill and Martin Ritt. Principal photography was expected to coincide with the 1975 spring training season. At the time, Motown was also discussing plans for a soundtrack album. Steven Spielberg had agreed to direct, according to 10 Jan 1975 LAT, with plans to join screenwriters Barwood and Robbins in a meeting with producer Rob Cohen, who was in Rome, Italy, working on Mahogany (1975, see entry), Motown’s second feature. The 27 Jan 1975 HR announced that Motown and Universal Pictures would co-produce the film, and that James Earl Jones had been cast in a starring role. Joel Fluellen was cast as an aging vaudevillian, according to 30 Jan 1975 DV. An announcement from Universal appearing in the 1 Apr 1975 HR reported that filming was scheduled to begin production in the state of Georgia on 23 Jun 1975 with John Badham as director. Postproduction obligations on the film Jaws (1975, see entry) were the cause for Spielberg’s departure, according to the 16 Apr 1975 DV. Bingo Long would mark the feature film debut for television director Badham. A 21 Apr 1975 Box news item reported that "tentative plans to film a major motion picture" in GA were in the works, though nothing was confirmed at the time. The name of the film was not disclosed, but it would be set in the 1930s and its subject would be a black baseball team, starring Jones and Williams. A spokesman for Columbus’s mayor Jack Mickle stated that the film would be based on the career of Satchel Paige, the famous African American pitcher. Filming would take place in Columbus, Savannah and Macon, and Governor George Busbee would make an official announcement once plans were confirmed. The film was projected as the most expensive ever to be made in the state. The 27 May 1975 Var denied that there was any connection between Satchel Paige and title character “Bingo Long,” contrary to two previous stories that appeared in the publication. The item also mentioned that filming in GA was in progress. In a 14 Sep 1975 LAT article, Paige was said to be the inspiration for Long. It also mentioned Negro League great Josh Gibson as the model for “Leon Carter,” and Charlie Grant, an African American who tried to pass as American Indian, as the inspiration for “Charlie Snow.” The 28 May 1975 Var confirmed that filming would take place primarily in Macon, GA. At a news conference the previous day, Wallace Worsley, Jr., unit production manager for Universal, made the announcement, with Macon mayor Ronnie Thompson and several members of the local Chamber of Commerce in attendance. The region was selected for its early 20th-century architecture, especially a ballpark dating to the 1930s. Filming was scheduled to begin in Macon on 30 Jun 1975, and auditions were being held for both black and white baseball players. The casting of Ted Ross, making his feature film debut, was announced in the 6 Jun 1975 DV. The Tony Award-winner had been appearing on Broadway in The Wiz. A news item in 17 Jun 1975 HR confirmed the casting of Richard Pryor. According to the item, Pryor was producer Cohen’s first choice, and the part had been written with Pryor in mind. Also joining the cast, according to 8 Jul 1975 DV, was Sam Brison, formerly of the Indianapolis Clowns baseball team; a 12 Jul 1975 LAT news item added St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox second baseman Rico Dawson; and on 25 July 1975, DV added Alvin Childress, who starred as “Amos” in the television series Amos ’n’ Andy. In a 21 Aug 1975 DV news item, former Clowns second baseman, thirty-nine-inch-tall Dero Austin, had also joined the cast. The 2 Sep 1975 HR reported that producer Cohen would make an appearance in one scene. According to an article in 13 Aug 1975 Var, Rob Cohen cast Mayor Thompson for a small role, but had to rescind the offer to avoid controversy. A 1 Sep 1975 Box article identified a group called the Concerned Citizens League, which had sent a letter of protest to Universal, stating that Thompson “has used the issue of race, in a negative way, to advance his political career.” The League had the support of 300 members of Macon’s black community, and insisted that casting Thompson as a character based on Branch Rickey, who pioneered the integration of Major League Baseball, was inappropriate. Cohen explained that he and Thompson had a good working relationship, but feared that the controversy around the mayor might hurt the production, which, according to Cohen’s estimate, had employed 5,000 to 7,000 Georgia residents. Thompson had ambitions to become a film actor and was considering legal action against Universal. A front-page story in the 10 Jul 1975 New Era announced that filming would begin in Talbotton, GA, by 23 Jul 1975, depending on the cooperation of the local government and businesses; the crew would need about ten days to prepare the town for two days of filming. Preparation would include 1930s signage, streetlights and storefronts, at no expense to the community. Along with the benefit to local businesses, several Talbotton residents would be hired as paid extras; it was projected that the film company would spend approximately $1.5 million in the region. A feature story on wardrobe designer Bernard Johnson in 9 Jul 1975 The Macon News reported that Johnson and his staff of twelve tailors and twelve seamstress produced in excess of 2,000 garments for the film. Johnson researched the fashions of 1939 as well as the lifestyles of the players and baseball uniforms of the period. Twenty-four changes of clothing were required for each of the principal actors, along with uniforms for sixteen teams. Multiple clothing changes were also needed for the club owners, the players, and the extras. Johnson also revealed that the costumes for Mabel King were created by altering contemporary plus-size formal gowns. As reported in 28 Jul 1975 Box, the company met with resistance from L. O. Benton III, a business owner in Monticello, GA. Cohen offered Benton $2,000 for the use of one of his buildings; Benton demanded $6,000, which Cohen refused to pay. On the day filming began, Benton placed a large sign in the front of the building honoring Independence Day, 1975. The crew parked a hay truck in front of the sign and proceeded with shooting. Benton admitted that he had never witnessed so much unity among the people of Monticello. A feature story from the 14 Sep 1975 LAT elaborated on the incident: Benton attempted to get an injunction against Universal, but the judge ruled against him, much to the relief of the town residents. Cohen also spoke of delays caused by frequent rainstorms, squandering roughly $100,000 of the film’s $3.8 million budget. According to the article, location filming in Georgia lasted fifty days, though it does not specify the date of completion. Production files from the AMPAS library show that an answer print had been completed on 22 Aug 1975. According to AMPAS documents and the review in the 17 Jul 1976 NYT, Bingo Long opened in New York City and Los Angeles, CA, on 16 Jul 1976. Reviews were mixed. While critics almost universally praised the cast, they often took issue with the film itself. The review in 19 Jul 1976 Newsweek made reference to the film’s “most unconscionable brand of clowning and Uncle Tomming,” but the 9 May 1976 Var review described Bingo Long as “a very happy picture,” and the 16 Jul 1976 LAT called it “an all-audience crossover attraction.” The 12 Aug 1976 Ann Arbor Sun declared, “turning black struggles into comedy is a defamation.” Billy Dee Williams anticipated the negative reviews when he explained in the 14 Sep 1975 LAT, “what people might see as Uncle Tom antics…this movie is trying to show how expedient that was, and how it was motivated.” According to the Aug 1976 Cinemaphile, a cross-promotional baseball game was played by Universal’s team, the “Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars” and Paramount Pictures’ team, the “Bad News Bears” (1976, see entry) on 15 Jun 1976 at University of Southern California’s (USC) Dedeaux Field. The event drew three thousand fans, as well as stars from both studios, but Williams and the two stars of The Bad News Bears were not in attendance. The final score was 5-5. A 1 July 1976 HR reported that newsreel footage of the game would be featured on The Mike Douglas Show that afternoon on the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) television network. According to the 2 Aug 1976 Coast, director George Roy Hill was a consultant on the film but received no credit. As reported in 16 Feb 1985 Billboard, a musical play based on Bingo Long, with music by George Fischoff, lyrics by Hy Gilbert, and book co-written by Ossie Davis, was in preparation for a Broadway opening. The show was produced by Chicago’s DreamStreet Theatre and Cabaret in Oct 1997, according to the 17 Oct 1997 Chicago Tribune.
A 15 March 1939 newsreel features a story about an exhibition baseball game at Yankee Stadium between the Kansas City Monarchs and the Philadelphia Stars, Negro League teams that combine clowning on the field with remarkable athletic skill. At a St. Louis, Missouri, ballpark, the African American crowd claps their hands as they chant, “Invite Pitch! Invite Pitch!” Bingo Long, of the Ebony Aces, steps up to the pitcher’s mound, proclaiming, “Who gonna hit my Invite Pitch?” with the crowd and his teammates repeating after him. The crowd roars when Leon Carter, star batter for the Elite Giants, comes forward. After two strikes, Leon hits the ball out of the park. An extravagant gray hearse arrives outside, broadcasting an advertisement for the Sallison Potter Funeral Home through a loudspeaker. Sallison “Sallie” Potter, owner of the Ebony Aces, and his two "goons," Mack and Honey, emerge from the hearse. Inside the park, the Aces are at bat. Rainbow is at the plate, taunting the rookie pitcher on the mound. The second pitch hits Rainbow in the head, knocking him out and taking away his ability to speak. In the locker room, Sallie explains that he’s sending Rainbow home to North Carolina, and five dollars will be deducted from each player’s salary to cover the bus fare. When Bingo protests, Sallie deducts an extra five dollars from his pay for “fomenting dissension.” That night, Leon and Bingo meet at a saloon and complain about their respective team owners, comparing their situation to slavery. When Leon facetiously suggests forming their own team, Bingo retrieves Rainbow from the bus depot and breaks into Leon's room while he is in bed with his girl friend. Although she is furious, believing that Leon expects a ménage à trois, the men ignore her and convince Leon to join their new team, the Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings. In the following days, Bingo recruits the best Negro National League players, along with a lesser talent named Charlie Snow, who owns a large car. The new team assembles for a photo, posing with their two touring cars and Leon’s motorcycle, which appears on posters around St. Louis and provokes the fury of Sallie Potter. As the team drives to a game, Charlie practices speaking Spanish, trying to pass as a Cuban named Carlos Nevada in the hope of joining a major-league team. The All-Stars embark on a barnstorming tour, playing exhibition games around the Midwest. They arrive at a small-town general store, run by Mr. Holland, who insists the team parades down Main Street to attract a crowd for the game. The white residents are bemused by the parade, but the black residents greet it with enthusiasm. After the successful game, Holland offers to become the All-Stars’ agent and guarantees the team $200 per game. When Leon counters that they want fifty per cent of the "gate," Holland agrees. Money will also be put aside for emergencies, with Rainbow as treasurer. Back in St. Louis, the Negro League team owners have a meeting at the Potter Funeral Home to discuss the threat from the All-Stars. Bertha, who owns the Charcoal Kings, suggests booking exhibition games between the League teams and the All-Stars. Sallie, however, wants to ruin the All-Stars, and gets most of the owners on his side. Meanwhile, at a small-town baseball field, Bingo is approached by a country boy named Joseph Vanderbilt Calloway, Esq., who wants to be an All-Star. Bingo tells him that he should be playing for his home team, the Huskers. However, Calloway already is a member of the opposing team and he gives the All-Stars more competition than they expect. Bingo invites Calloway to join the team, nicknaming him “Esquire Joe.” Soon after, the All-Stars find that their next game has been cancelled on account of rain, even though the sky is clear. When they learn that Sallie’s goons are using money and intimidation to ostracize their team in the black community, Leon suggests that the All-Stars play minor-league white teams because the U.S. will never run out of white people. The first of these games is accompanied by taunts and epithets from both the crowd and the white players, but the All-Stars resort to clowning on the field and win both the game and the crowd’s admiration. The team continues its string of successes, building a repertoire of elaborate, crowd-pleasing routines. The Negro League owners, meantime, have a meeting in a men’s sauna; Bertha forces her way in and insists that they book some "extradition" games with the All-Stars. However, Sallie has other plans. Following a game, Sallie’s goons gang up on Rainbow and steal the team’s emergency fund. That evening, the All-Stars carouse in a tavern while Charlie is upstairs in bed with a blonde prostitute. The goons burst through the door, threatening him with a razor. Charlie runs onto the balcony and leaps into a passing car, terrifying the woman at the wheel. The following night, as the All-Stars play a team of Hassidic Jews, Charlie is attacked by the goons with a straight razor and he staggers back onto the field, covered in blood. Charlie’s surgery exhausts the team’s funds, and the All-Stars have no money for their hotel bill. As they sneak out in the early morning, the shotgun-toting hotel manager is waiting for them. He has also arranged to have Bingo’s car sold at a sheriff’s sale. The team goes to work on a potato farm to raise money to buy back the car, but Corliss, the local auto dealer, has rigged the sale in his own favor. Angry and discouraged, two of the All-Stars hitch a ride back to St. Louis, and Bingo sends Rainbow home to North Carolina. While Corliss plays cards with the sheriff and the hotel manager, Bingo sabotages the sheriff’s car and steals a 12-cylinder Packard. Leon disapproves of the theft, and he and Bingo part acrimoniously. The All-Stars continue barnstorming, now with a dwarf catcher and a one-armed first baseman added to the team. The League is desperate, so Sallie offers the Bingo Long All-Stars an exhibition game against the League All-Stars. If Bingo’s team wins, they can join the League; if they lose, all of the players have to return to their old teams at half salary. This opportunity prompts Leon’s return to the All-Stars. On the day of the game, Bingo finds Rainbow at the ballpark; another bump on the head has brought his voice back. While the game is in progress, Leon is tied up in the coffin room at Sallie’s funeral home. He hides inside a coffin and breaks out of it in front of a group of mourners. After fighting off the goons, he drives to the ballpark in Sallie’s hearse. The League is winning when Leon is at bat, so the pitcher tries to walk him, but Leon hits the ball out of the park. The All-Stars win and are admitted to the League, displacing Sallie’s Ebony Aces. Charlie, who is fully recovered, visits the locker room wearing buckskins and a Mohawk, calling himself Chief Takahoma. Esquire Joe, who had been speaking to a pair of white gentlemen outside, enters the locker room to announce that he’s been invited to join the Brooklyn Dodgers. Bingo and Leon realize that the Negro leagues are on their way out, but they still have the best team in baseball.
Baseball historian Larry Lester was in Detroit on this day (November 3) in 2010 to speak on the “History of the Negro Leagues.” Authentic Americana, the subject had inspired director John Badham’s 1976 feature The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor-Kings.Tuesday, April 26, 1976
THE BINGO LONG TRAVELING ALL-STARS & MOTOR KINGS. Written by Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins. Based on the 1973 novel by William Brashler. Music by William Goldstein. Directed by John Badham. Running time: 110 minutes. Rated Mature entertainment.BY GEORGE, I THINK he's got it! Berry Gordy, the entrepreneurial genius behind Motown Records (and, by extension, behind Diana Ross) has been trying to make a name for himself in the movie business for more than five years now [1976]. In 1971, he put up the money for Ross's big screen debut. Although Ross won an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues, the film itself was an uninspired backstage drama. Strike one. Last year [1975], Gordy made his own debut as a movie director. Again, Ross was the star, and again the film, this time called Mahogany, was a black-cast version of a tired old plot. It was the shopgirl's dream, rags to riches with the familiar moral: money can't buy happiness. Strike two. Gordy might have been making money, but his movies were strictly from hunger. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings changes all that. The story of a barnstorming baseball team, it is all new, all black and all hit. Home run! Screenwriters Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins (whose last "road" picture was 1974’s The Sugarland Express) have set their tale in the summer of 1939. The U.S. major leagues still maintain a colour line. For black baseball fans, there is the Negro National League, with franchises in places like Chicago, Atlanta, Cincinnati and St. Louis. It has its own stadiums, its own stars and its own troubles. The film introduces Ebony Aces pitching star and soon-to-be trouble-maker Barnett "Bingo" Long (Billy Dee Williams). He is playing to the crowds in St. Louis’s run-down Luther McAdoo Memorial Stadium. A 15-year veteran of the league, Bingo makes a show of pitching to his long-time rival, Elite Giants slugger Leon Carter (James Earl Jones). Off the field, the two conspire against the penny-pinching rule of the team owners, deciding to form their own all-star squad. Gordy's film, directed by TV veteran John Badham, traces their high-spirited progress against the background of a pre-war (and pre-civil rights era) America. Photographed in period style, it comes complete with visual effects straight out of the 1940s. The movie's tone of haunting nostalgia perfectly complements the dated attitudes and characterizations that are used here for comedy. Thus it is funny, rather than offensive, that the Ebony Aces owner Sallison "Sallie" Potter (Ted Ross) should be a black entrepreneur right out of Amos 'n' Andy. A funeral parlour magnate, Sallie may have a couple of goons working for him, and he may try everything short of murder to put a stop to the All-Stars, but he remains a comic character throughout. The main focus, naturally enough, is on the barnstormers, and they are a personable lot. Foremost among them is third baseman Charlie Snow (Richard Pryor), who is studying Spanish so that he can "pass" as a Cuban, and thereby join the white leagues. Charlie's dream — historically Jackie Robinson was the man who first crossed the colour line, joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941 — is not taken seriously by his teammates. They pretty much accept the status quo, and work at learning the lessons necessary for winning in their own world. One thing they learn is that, as barnstormers, they are part of show business. Another lesson is that everybody loves a clown, and that when they lace their powerhouse playing with humour (a la the Harlem Globetrotters) even losing home teams will love them. Bingo's story is full of highlights. When the owners's machinations make it difficult for them to book games with black teams, the All-Stars learn how to exploit another American resource: "white folks." It is during their first game against Southern white crackers that they learn the soothing powers of comedy. Later, following the hospitalization of Charlie Snow, Bingo sets out to steal back a car sold at sale to cover some team debts. Here, director Badham makes delightful use of vintage radio shows to provide both background and counterpoint to the action. Eventually, the dial comes to rest on an episode of The Lone Ranger, and the familiar hoofbeats of the great horse Silver keep pace with a marvelously funny chase scene. The story ends, appropriately enough, with a grudge match. The league owners field a team of their remaining, best players. The prize, should the All-Stars win, is a permanent berth in the league. Mysteriously missing from the line-up, however, is super-slugger Carter . . . With warmth, wit, and a touch of wonder, producer Gordy's film explores a corner of black experience that any audience can share. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor-Kings is a comedy with lots of heart and authentic soul.
The above is a restored version of a Province review by Michael Walsh originally published in 1976. For additional information on this archived material, please visit my FAQ.
Afterword: Some years ago, when the Internet was new and online magazines were testing the waters, I ran across an opinion piece that argued that baseball, with its emphasis on cooperation, appealed to socialists. Football, more aggressively focused on leaders, was the fascist’s game. The idea made sense to me, a political progressive — Canadians tend to be further left than their American cousins — who has always preferred nine innings on the field to the gridiron’s two halves. No surprise, then, that I’m also inclined to believe that baseball inspires better movies than football. That said, I was surprised to discover that Wikipedia lists significantly more pictures about (American) football — more than 175 — than baseball: about 150. The stats suggest that filmmakers prefer football. Me? I still prefer quality to quantity. My own unscientific survey is based on the reviews of six sports-themed films already posted to this Reeling Back archive. Two of them are football movies: director Roger Spottiswoode’s The Best of Times (1986) and Tony Scott’s The Last Boy Scout (1991). The first one prompted a negative review, the second got a positive notice. A 50-50 split. The baseball titles include Michael Richie’s The Bad News Bears (1976); John Sayles’s Eight Men Out (1983); Ron Shelton’s Bull Durham (1988) and Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own (1991). All four notices are positive, with the last a positive rave. So, baseball movies are best. QED. As the above review of The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars And Motor-Kings is also favourable, there’s nothing more to say. Except, of course, that when I wrote the piece some 44 years ago, I did so from the point of view of a privileged white male who was nowhere near as critical as he might have been of the casual racism prevalent in the popular culture of the day. That kid still had a lot to learn. He was right about baseball movies, though.
A Bushel of Badham: Today’s five additions the Reeling Back archive celebrate the cinema of John Badham. Included are his 1976 debut feature, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings; the 1981 drama Whose Life Is It Anyway?; the 1986 sci-fi comedy Short Circuit; the 1993 thriller Point of No Return; and the action adventure Drop Zone (1994). And, of course, there is my review of his new book, John Badham on Directing - 2nd Edition (2020).Wait, There’s More: The six John Badham features previously posted to Reeling Back are his 1979 adaptation of Dracula, as well as Blue Thunder and War Games (both 1983); Also included are the made-in-Vancouver Stakeout (1987), Bird on a Wire (1990) and Another Stakeout (1993).
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings is a 1976 American sports comedy film about a team of enterprising ex-Negro league baseball players in the era of racial segregation. Loosely based upon William Brashler's 1973 novel of the same name, it starred Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones and Richard Pryor. Directed by John Badham,[1] the movie was produced by Berry Gordy for Motown Productions and Rob Cohen for Universal Pictures, and released by Universal on July 16, 1976.
The film was a box office success, grossing $33 million on a $9 million budget.Contents1 Plot2 Cast3 Negro leagues tie-ins4 Production5 Reception6 Accolades7 References8 External linksPlotTired of being treated like a slave by team owner Sallison Potter (Ross), charismatic star pitcher Bingo Long (Williams) steals a bunch of Negro league players away from their teams, including catcher/slugger Leon Carter (Jones) and Charlie Snow (Pryor), a player forever scheming to break into the segregated Major League Baseball of the 1930s by masquerading as first a Cuban ("Carlos Nevada"), then a Native American ("Chief Takahoma"). They take to the road, barnstorming through small Midwestern towns, playing the local teams to make ends meet. One of the opposing players, "Esquire" Joe Calloway (Shaw), is so good that they recruit him.
Bingo's team becomes so outlandishly entertaining and successful, it begins to cut into the attendance of the established Negro league teams. Finally, Bingo's nemesis Potter is forced to propose a winner-take-all game: if Bingo's team can beat a bunch of all-stars, it can join the league, but if it loses, the players will return to their old teams. Potter has two of his goons kidnap Leon prior to the game as insurance, but he escapes and is key to his side's victory.
As it turns out, there is a Major League scout in the audience. After the game, he offers Esquire Joe the chance to break the color barrier; with Bingo's blessing, he accepts. Leon glumly foresees the decline of the Negro leagues as more players follow Esquire Joe's lead, but Bingo, ever the optimist, cheers him up by describing the wild promotional stunts he intends to stage to bring in the paying customers.
CastBilly Dee Williams as Bingo LongJames Earl Jones as Leon CarterRichard Pryor as Charlie Snow, "Carlos Nevada" and "Chief Takahoma"Stan Shaw as "Esquire Joe" Joseph Vanderbilt CallowayTony Burton as Issac, an All-StarRico Dawson as Willie Lee Shively, an All-StarSam "Birmingham" Brison as Louis Keystone, an All-StarJophery Brown as Emory "Champ" Chambers, an All-StarLeon Wagner as Fat Sam Popper, an All-StarJohn McCurry as Walter Murchman, an All-StarDeWayne Jessie as Rainbow, the All-Stars' batboyTed Ross as Sallison Potter, Bingo's nemesis and owner of the Ebony AcesMabel King as Bertha Dewitt, another Negro leagues team ownerKen Foree as Honey, one of Potter's henchmenCarl Gordon as Mack, another one of Potter's goonsNegro leagues tie-insSome characters and situations are loosely based upon real-life people and incidents. Badham grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and was familiar with the Birmingham Black Barons, who shared Rickwood Field with the white Birmingham Barons.[2]
Bingo Long is based on former Black Baron Leroy "Satchel" Paige. Early in his career, Paige would call in his outfield while leading in the ninth inning against an amateur or semi-pro team and strike out the side. Bingo did a similar stunt in this movie. Leon Carter is a Josh Gibson-like power hitter, even playing the same position (catcher). "Esquire" Joe Calloway is an amalgam of another Black Baron, Willie Mays (in personality, talent, and fielding position) and Jackie Robinson (as being signed by a white team at the film's end).
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings were loosely based on the Indianapolis Clowns and other barnstorming Negro baseball teams, who likewise engaged in Harlem Globetrotters-like clowning routines.
Production
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)Luther Williams Field in Macon, Georgia, was used for filming as the Negro leagues ballpark. Luther Williams Field was home to the Macon Music, a minor league team in the independent South Coast League. Additional ballpark scenes were shot at Morgan Field in Macon, a Pony and Colt League Youth Baseball field, Grayson Stadium in Savannah, Georgia, home of the Savannah Sand Gnats of the Class A South Atlantic League, and Wallace Field in Crawford County, Georgia. Exterior scenes set in St. Louis residential neighborhoods were also filmed in Savannah. Scenes set in rural communities were filmed in Talbotton, Georgia, and various small towns around Macon, including Monticello, Georgia. Some ballplayers were played by actual former athletes, including former members of the Indianapolis Clowns, who performed various stunts shown in the film.
Steven Spielberg originally wanted to have a hand in producing the movie until the success of his film Jaws got his full attention.[3]
ReceptionThe film received positive reviews, but several critics thought it could have been better. Roger Ebert wrote that "'Bingo Long' is fun, it's pleasant to watch, but it cakewalks too much on its way to the box office."[4] Jay Cocks agreed in his Time magazine review, stating "Although it never fulfills the richest possibilities in the raffish misadventures of a barnstorming black baseball team of the 1930s, it does come close from time to time."[5] The movie holds an 87% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 15 critics.
AccoladesThe film was nominated for the American Film Institute's 2008 AFI's 10 Top 10 in the sports film category.[6]
The scathing, brilliantly insightful African-American comic who proved himself on many occasions to be a highly competent screen actor, died of a heart attack on November 10 at his Encino, California home. He was 65. He had been reclusive for years after he publicly announced he was suffering from multiple sclerosis in 1992.
He was born Richard Thomas Pryor III on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois. By all accounts, his childhood was a difficult one. His mother was a prostitute and his grandmother ran a brothel. His father was rarely around and when he was, he would physically abuse him. From a young age, Pryor knew that humor was his weapon of choice to cut through all the swath he came across and would confront in his life.
After high school, he enlisted in the Army for a two-year stint (1958-60). When he was discharged (honorably!) he concentrated on stand-up comedy and worked in a series of nightclubs before relocating to New York City in 1963. In 1964, he made his television debut when he was given a slot on the variety program On Broadway Tonight. His routine, though hardly the groundbreaking material we would witness in later years, was very well received, and in the late '60s Pryor found more television work: Toast of the Town, The Wild Wild West, The Mod Squad ; and was cast in a two movies: The Busy Body (1967) with Sid Caesar; and Wild in the Streets (1968) a cartoonish political fantasy about the internment of all American citizens over 30.
Pryor's career really didn't ignite until the '70s. His stand up act became raunchier and more politically motivated as he touched on issued of race, failed relationships, drug addiction, and street crimes. His movie roles became far more captivating in the process: the piano man in Lady Sings the Blues (1972); as a wise-talking hustler in a pair of slick urban thrillers: The Mack (1973) and Uptown Saturday Night (1974); the gregarious Daddy Rich in Car Wash; his first pairing with Gene Wilder as Grover, the car thief who helps stops a runaway train in his first real box office smash Silver Streak (both 1976); and for many critics, his finest dramatic performance as a factory worker on the edge of depression in Paul Schrader's excellent working class drama Blue Collar (1978).
On a personal level, his drug dependency problem worsened, and on June 9, 1980, near tragedy struck when he caught fire while free-basing cocaine. Pryor later admitted that the incident, was, in fact, a suicide attempt, and that his management company created the lie for the press in hopes of protecting him. Fortunately, Pryor had three films in the can that all achieved some level of financial success soon after his setback: another pairing with Gene Wilder in the prison comedy Stir Crazy (1980); a blisteringly funny cameo as God who flips off Andy Kaufman in the warped religious satire In God We Tru$t (1980); an a ex-con helping a social worker (Cicely Tyson) with her foster charges in Bustin' Loose (1981). He capped his recovery with Live on the Sunset Strip (1982), a first-rate documentation of the comic's genius performed in front of a raucous live audience.
In 1983, Pryor signed a $40 million, five-year contract with Columbia Pictures. For many fans and critics, this was the beginning of his downslide. His next few films: The Toy, Superman III (both 1983), and Brewster's Millions (1985) were just tiresome, mediocre comedies. Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling (1986), was his only attempt at producing, directing, and acting, and the film, which was an ambitious autobiographical account of a his life and career, was a box-office disappointment. He spent the remainder of the '80s in middling fare: Condition Critical (1987), Moving; a third pairing with Gene Wilder in See No Evil, Hear No Evil; and his only teaming with Eddie Murphy in Harlem Nights (1989).
In 1986, Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system that curtailed both his personal appearances and his gift for physical comedy in his latter films. By the '90s, little was seen of Pryor, but in 1995, he made a courageous comeback on television when he guest starred on Chicago Hope as an embittered multiple sclerosis patient. His performance earned him an Emmy nomination and he was cast in a few more films: Mad Dog Time (1996), Lost Highway (1997), but his physical ailments prohibited him from performing on a regular basis. In 1998, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington gave Pryor the first Mark Twain Prize for humor. It was fitting tribute for a man who had given so much honesty and innovation in the field of comedy. Pryor is survived by his wife, Jennifer Lee; his sons Richard and Steven; and daughters Elizabeth, Rain and Renee.
Motown Records is an American record label owned by the Universal Music Group. It was founded by Berry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records on January 12, 1959,[2][3] and incorporated as Motown Record Corporation on April 14, 1960.[4] Its name, a portmanteau of motor and town, has become a nickname for Detroit, where the label was originally headquartered.
Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music as an African American-owned label that achieved crossover success. In the 1960s, Motown and its subsidiary labels (including Tamla Motown, the brand used outside the US) were the most successful proponents of the Motown sound, a style of soul music with a mainstream pop appeal. Motown was the most successful soul music label, with a net worth of $61 million. During the 1960s, Motown achieved 79 records in the top-ten of the Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 1969.
Following the events of the Detroit Riots of 1967, and the loss of key songwriting/production team Holland–Dozier–Holland that year over pay disputes, Gordy moved Motown to Los Angeles. Motown expanded into film and television production.
It was an independent company until MCA Records bought it in 1988. PolyGram purchased the label from MCA in 1993, followed by MCA successor Universal Music Group, which acquired PolyGram in 1999.[2]
Motown spent much of the 2000s headquartered in New York City as a part of the UMG subsidiaries Universal Motown and Universal Motown Republic Group. From 2011 to 2014, it was a part of The Island Def Jam Music Group division of Universal Music.[5][6][7] In 2014, however, UMG announced the dissolution of Island Def Jam, and Motown relocated back to Los Angeles to operate under the Capitol Music Group, now operating out of the Capitol Tower.[1] In 2018, Motown was inducted into Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at the Charles H. Wright Museum.[8]Contents1 History1.1 Beginnings of Motown1.2 West Grand Boulevard1.3 Detroit: 1959–19721.4 Los Angeles: 1972–19981.5 Final years of the Motown label: 1999–20051.6 Universal Motown: 2005–20111.7 Relaunch: 2011–present2 Motown Sound2.1 The Funk Brothers3 Artist development4 Motown subsidiary labels4.1 Major divisions4.2 Secondary R&B labels4.3 Additional genre labels4.3.1 Country4.3.2 Hip hop/rap4.3.3 Jazz4.3.4 Rock4.3.5 Other4.4 Independent labels distributed by Motown4.5 Miscellaneous labels associated with Motown5 British (pre-Tamla Motown) labels6 See also7 References7.1 Citations7.2 Print sources8 Further reading9 External linksHistoryBeginnings of MotownBerry Gordy's interest in the record business began when he opened a record store called the 3D Record Mart, a shop where he hoped to "educate customers about the beauty of jazz", in Detroit, Michigan. (The Gordys were an entrepreneurial family.) Although the shop did not last very long, Gordy's interest in the music business did not fade. He frequented Detroit's downtown nightclubs, and in the Flame Show Bar he met bar manager Al Green (not the famed singer), who owned a music publishing company called Pearl Music and represented Detroit-based musician Jackie Wilson. Gordy soon became part of a group of songwriters—with his sister Gwen Gordy and Billy Davis—who wrote songs for Wilson. "Reet Petite" was their first major hit which appeared in November 1957.[9] During the next eighteen months, Gordy helped to write six more Wilson A-sides, including "Lonely Teardrops", a peak-popular hit of 1958. Between 1957 and 1958, Gordy wrote or produced over a hundred sides for various artists, with his siblings Anna, Gwen and Robert, and other collaborators in varying combinations.[10]The Hitsville U.S.A. Motown building, at 2648 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Motown's headquarters from 1959 to 1968, which became the Motown Historical Museum in 1985[11]In 1957, Gordy met Smokey Robinson, who at the time was a local seventeen-year-old singer fronting a vocal harmony group called the Matadors. Gordy was interested in the doo-wop style that Robinson sang. In 1958, Gordy recorded the group's song "Got a Job" (an answer song to "Get a Job" by the Silhouettes), and released it as a single by leasing the record to a larger company outside Detroit called End Records, based in New York. The practice was common at the time for a small-time producer. "Got a Job" was the first single by Robinson's group, now called the Miracles. Gordy recorded a number of other records by forging a similar arrangement, most significantly with United Artists.[12]
In 1958, Gordy wrote and produced "Come to Me" for Marv Johnson. Seeing that the song had great crossover potential, Gordy leased it to United Artists for national distribution but also released it locally on his own startup imprint.[12] Needing $800 to cover his end of the deal, Gordy asked his family to borrow money from a cooperative family savings account.[13] After some debate, his family agreed, and in January 1959 “Come to Me” was released regionally on Gordy's new Tamla label.[14] Gordy originally wanted to name the label Tammy Records, after the hit song popularized by Debbie Reynolds from the 1957 film Tammy and the Bachelor, in which Reynolds also starred. When he found the name was already in use, Berry decided on Tamla instead.[citation needed] In April 1959, Gordy and his sister Gwen founded Anna Records which released about two dozen singles between 1959 and 1960. The most popular was Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)", written by Gordy and a secretary named Janie Bradford, and produced by Gordy.[14] Many of the songs distributed locally by Anna and Tamla Records were nationally distributed by Chess Records (sometimes with Anna and Tamla imprints). Gordy's relationship with Chess fostered closer dealings with Harvey Fuqua, nephew of Charlie Fuqua of the Ink Spots. Harvey Fuqua later married Gwen Gordy in 1961.[15]
Gordy looked toward creative self-sufficiency and established the publishing firm Jobete in June 1959 (incorporated in Michigan). He applied for copyrights on more than seventy songs before the end of 1959, including material used for the Miracles and Frances Burnett records, which were leased to Chess and Coral Records. The Michigan Chronicle of Detroit called Gordy an "independent producer of records," as his contributions to the city were beginning to attract notice. By that time, he was the president of Jobete, Tamla, and the music writing company Rayber.[16]
Gordy worked in various Detroit-based studios during this period to produce recordings and demos, but most prominently with United Sound Systems which was considered the best studio in town. However, producing at United Sound Systems was financially taxing and not appropriate for every job, so Gordy decided it would be more cost effective to maintain his own facility.[16] In mid-1959, he purchased a photography studio at 2648 West Grand Boulevard and converted the main floor into a recording studio and office space. Now, rather than shopping his songs to other artists or leasing his recordings to outside companies, Gordy began using the Tamla and Motown imprints to release songs that he wrote and produced. He incorporated Motown Records in April 1960.[17]
Smokey Robinson became the vice president of the company (and later named his daughter "Tamla" and his son "Berry"). Several of Gordy's family members, including his father Berry Sr., brothers Robert and George, and sister Esther, were given key roles in the company. By the middle of the decade, Gwen and Anna Gordy had joined the label in administrative positions as well. Gordy's partner at the time (and wife from 1960–64), Raynoma Liles, also played a key role in the early days of Motown, leading the company's first session group, The Rayber Voices, and overseeing Jobete.[citation needed]
West Grand BoulevardAlso in 1959, Gordy purchased the property that would become Motown's Hitsville U.S.A. studio. The photography studio located in the back of the property was modified into a small recording studio, and the Gordys moved into the second-floor living quarters. Within seven years, Motown would occupy seven additional neighboring houses:
Hitsville U.S.A., 1959 – (ground floor) administrative office, tape library, control room, Studio A; (upper floor) Gordy living quarters (1959–62), artists and repertoire (1962–72)Jobete Publishing office, 1961 – sales, billing, collections, shipping, and public relationsBerry Gordy Jr. Enterprise, 1962 – offices for Berry Gordy Jr. and Esther Gordy EdwardsFinance department, 1965 – royalties and payrollArtist personal development, 1966 – Harvey Fuqua (head of artist development and producer of stage performances), Maxine Powell (instructor in grooming, poise, and social graces for Motown artists), Maurice King (vocal coach, musical director and arranger), Cholly Atkins (house choreography), and rehearsal studiosTwo houses for administrative offices, 1966 – sales and marketing, traveling and traffic, and mixing and masteringITMI (International Talent Management Inc.) office, 1966 – managementMotown had hired over 450 employees and had a gross income of $20 million by the end of 1966.
Detroit: 1959–1972Early Tamla/Motown artists included Mable John, Eddie Holland and Mary Wells. "Shop Around", the Miracles' first number 1 R&B hit, peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. It was Tamla's first million-selling record. On April 14, 1960, Motown and Tamla Records merged into a new company called Motown Record Corporation. A year later, the Marvelettes scored Tamla's first US number-one pop hit, "Please Mr. Postman".[13] By the mid-1960s, the company, with the help of songwriters and producers such as Robinson, A&R chief William "Mickey" Stevenson, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Norman Whitfield, had become a major force in the music industry.
From 1961 to 1971, Motown had 110 top 10 hits. Top artists on the Motown label during that period included the Supremes (initially including Diana Ross), the Four Tops, and the Jackson 5, while Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes, and the Miracles had hits on the Tamla label. The company operated several labels in addition to the Tamla and Motown imprints. A third label, which Gordy named after himself (though it was originally called "Miracle") featured the Temptations, the Contours, Edwin Starr, and Martha and the Vandellas. A fourth, V.I.P., released recordings by the Velvelettes, the Spinners, the Monitors, and Chris Clark.
A fifth label, Soul, featured Jr. Walker & the All Stars, Jimmy Ruffin, Shorty Long, the Originals, and Gladys Knight & the Pips (who had found success before joining Motown, as "The Pips" on Vee-Jay). Many more Motown-owned labels released recordings in other genres, including Workshop Jazz (jazz) Earl Washington Reflections and Earl Washington's All Stars, Mel-o-dy (country, although it was originally an R&B label), and Rare Earth, which featured the band Rare Earth themselves. Under the slogan "The Sound of Young America", Motown's acts were enjoying widespread popularity among black and white audiences alike.
Smokey Robinson said of Motown's cultural impact:
Into the 1960s, I was still not of a frame of mind that we were not only making music, we were making history. But I did recognize the impact because acts were going all over the world at that time. I recognized the bridges that we crossed, the racial problems and the barriers that we broke down with music. I recognized that because I lived it. I would come to the South in the early days of Motown and the audiences would be segregated. Then they started to get the Motown music and we would go back and the audiences were integrated and the kids were dancing together and holding hands.[18]Berry Gordy House, known as Motown Mansion in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic District[19]In 1967, Berry Gordy purchased what is now known as Motown Mansion in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic District as his home, leaving his previous home to his sister Anna and then-husband Marvin Gaye (where photos for the cover of his album What's Going On were taken).[19] In 1968, Gordy purchased the Donovan building on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Interstate 75, and moved Motown's Detroit offices there (the Donovan building was demolished in January 2006 to provide parking spaces for Super Bowl XL). In the same year, Gordy purchased Golden World Records, and its recording studio became "Studio B" to Hitsville's "Studio A".
In the United Kingdom, Motown's records were released on various labels: at first London (only the Miracles' "Shop Around"/"Who's Lovin' You" and "Ain't It Baby"), then Fontana ("Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes was one of four) and then Oriole American ("Fingertips" by Little Stevie Wonder was one of many). In 1963, Motown signed with EMI's Stateside label ("Where Did Our Love Go" by the Supremes and "My Guy" by Mary Wells were Motown's first British top-20 hits). Eventually, EMI created the Tamla Motown label ("Stop! In the Name of Love" by the Supremes was the first Tamla Motown release in March 1965).
Los Angeles: 1972–1998After the songwriting trio Holland–Dozier–Holland left the label in 1967 over royalty-payment disputes, Norman Whitfield became the company's top producer, turning out hits for The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Rare Earth. In the meantime Berry Gordy established Motown Productions, a television subsidiary which produced TV specials for the Motown artists, including TCB, with Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations, Diana! with Diana Ross, and Goin' Back to Indiana with the Jackson 5. The company loosened its production rules, allowing some of its longtime artists the opportunity to write and produce more of their own material. This resulted in the recordings of successful and critically acclaimed albums such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On (1971) and Let's Get it On (1973), and Stevie Wonder's Music of My Mind (1972), Talking Book (1972), and Innervisions (1973).
Motown had established branch offices in both New York City and Los Angeles during the mid-1960s, and by 1969 had begun gradually moving more of its operations to Los Angeles. The company moved all of its operations to Los Angeles in June 1972, with a number of artists, among them Martha Reeves, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and many of the Funk Brothers studio band, either staying behind in Detroit or leaving the company for other reasons. By re-locating, Motown aimed chiefly to branch out into the motion-picture industry, and Motown Productions got its start in film by turning out two hit-vehicles for Diana Ross: the Billie Holiday biographical film Lady Sings the Blues (1972), and Mahogany (1975). Other Motown films would include Scott Joplin (1977), Thank God It's Friday (1978), The Wiz (1978) and The Last Dragon (1985). Ewart Abner, who had been associated with Motown since the 1960s, became its president in 1973.
By the 1970s, the Motown "hit factory" had become a target of a backlash from some fans of rock music. Record producer Pete Waterman recalls of this period: "I was a DJ for years and I worked for Motown – the press at the time, papers like NME, used to call it Toytown. When I DJ'd on the Poly circuit, the students wanted me to play Spooky Tooth and Velvet Underground. Things don't change. Nowadays, of course, Motown is hip."[20]
Despite losing Holland–Dozier–Holland, Norman Whitfield, and some of its other hitmakers by 1975, Motown still had a number of successful artists during the 1970s and 1980s, including Lionel Richie and the Commodores, Rick James, Teena Marie, the Dazz Band, Jose Feliciano and DeBarge. By the mid-1980s Motown had started losing money, and Berry Gordy sold his ownership in Motown to MCA Records (which began a US distribution deal with the label in 1983) and Boston Ventures in June 1988 for $61 million. In 1989, Gordy sold the Motown Productions TV/film operations to Motown executive Suzanne de Passe, who renamed the company de Passe Entertainment and continues to run it as of 2018.[21] Gordy continued to retain the Jobete music publishing catalog, selling it separately to EMI Music Publishing in parts between 1997 and 2004.[22]
During the 1990s, Motown was home to successful recording artists such as Boyz II Men and Johnny Gill, although the company itself remained in a state of turmoil. MCA appointed a series of executives to run the company, beginning with Berry Gordy's immediate successor, Jheryl Busby. Busby quarreled with MCA, alleging that the company did not give Motown's product adequate attention or promotion. In 1991, Motown sued MCA to have its distribution deal with the company terminated, and began releasing its product through PolyGram. PolyGram purchased Motown from Boston Ventures three years later.
In 1994, Busby was replaced by Andre Harrell, the entrepreneur behind Uptown Records. Harrell served as Motown's CEO for just under two years, leaving the company after receiving bad publicity for being inefficient. Danny Goldberg, who ran PolyGram's Mercury Records group, assumed control of Motown, and George Jackson served as president.
Final years of the Motown label: 1999–2005By 1998, Motown had added stars such as 702, Brian McKnight, and Erykah Badu to its roster. In December 1998, PolyGram was acquired by Seagram, and Motown was absorbed into the Universal Music Group. Seagram had purchased Motown's former parent MCA in 1995, and Motown was in effect reunited with many of its MCA corporate siblings (Seagram had hoped to build a media empire around Universal, and started by purchasing PolyGram). Universal briefly considered shuttering the label, but instead decided to restructure it. Kedar Massenburg, a producer for Erykah Badu, became the head of the label, and oversaw successful recordings from Badu, McKnight, Michael McDonald, and new Motown artist India.Arie.
Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and the Temptations had remained with the label since its early days, although all except Wonder recorded for other labels for several years. Ross left Motown for RCA Records from 1981 to 1988, but returned in 1989 and stayed until 2002, while Robinson left Motown in 1991 (although he did return to release one more album for the label in 1999). The Temptations left for Atlantic Records in 1977, but returned in 1980 and eventually left again in 2004. As of 2018, Wonder is the only artist from Motown's early period still on the label.
Universal Motown: 2005–2011Further information: Universal Motown RecordsIn 2005, Massenburg was replaced by Sylvia Rhone, former CEO of Elektra Records. Motown was merged with Universal Records to create the Universal Motown Records and placed under the newly created umbrella division of Universal Motown Republic Group. Notable artists on Universal Motown included Drake Bell, Ryan Leslie, Melanie Fiona, Kelly Rowland, Forever the Sickest Kids, The Veer Union and Four Year Strong. Motown celebrated its 50th anniversary on January 12, 2009.
Relaunch: 2011–presentIn the Summer of 2011, Universal Motown reverted to the Motown brand after having been separated from Universal Motown Republic Group, hired Ethiopia Habtemariam as its Senior Vice President, and operated under The Island Def Jam Music Group.[5][7] Artists from Universal Motown were transferred to the newly revitalized Motown label.[6] On January 25, 2012, it was announced that Ne-Yo would join the Motown label both as an artist as well as the new Senior Vice President of A&R.[23][24] On April 1, 2014, it was announced that Island Def Jam will no longer be running following the resignation of CEO Barry Weiss. In a press release sent out by Universal Music Group, the label will now be reorganizing Def Jam Recordings, Island Records and Motown Records all as separate entities.[25] Motown would then begin serving as a subsidiary of Capitol Records.[26] In late 2018, Motown began celebrating its 60th anniversary by reissuing numerous albums from their catalog.
Motown UK launched in September 2020 under Universal UK's EMI Records (formerly Virgin EMI Records) division.[27]
Motown SoundSee also: Motown (music style)Motown specialized in a type of soul music it referred to with the trademark "The Motown Sound". Crafted with an ear towards pop appeal, the Motown Sound typically used tambourines to accent the back beat, prominent and often melodic electric bass-guitar lines, distinctive melodic and chord structures, and a call-and-response singing style that originated in gospel music. In 1971, Jon Landau wrote in Rolling Stone that the sound consisted of songs with simple structures but sophisticated melodies, along with a four-beat drum pattern, regular use of horns and strings, and "a trebly style of mixing that relied heavily on electronic limiting and equalizing (boosting the high range frequencies) to give the overall product a distinctive sound, particularly effective for broadcast over AM radio".[28] Pop production techniques such as the use of orchestral string sections, charted horn sections, and carefully arranged background vocals were also used. Complex arrangements and elaborate, melismatic vocal riffs were avoided.[29] Motown producers believed steadfastly in the "KISS principle" (keep it simple, stupid).[30]
The Motown production process has been described as factory-like. The Hitsville studios remained open and active 22 hours a day, and artists would often go on tour for weeks, come back to Detroit to record as many songs as possible, and then promptly go on tour again. Berry Gordy held quality control meetings every Friday morning, and used veto power to ensure that only the very best material and performances would be released. The test was that every new release needed to fit into a sequence of the top five selling pop singles of the week. Several tracks that later became critical and commercial favorites were initially rejected by Gordy, the two most notable being the Marvin Gaye songs "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "What's Going On". In several cases, producers would rework tracks in hopes of eventually getting them approved at a later Friday morning meeting, as producer Norman Whitfield did with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and The Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg".
Many of Motown's best-known songs, including all the early hits for the Supremes, were written by the songwriting trio of Holland–Dozier–Holland (Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland). Other important Motown producers and songwriters included Norman Whitfield, William "Mickey" Stevenson, Smokey Robinson, Barrett Strong, Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, Frank Wilson, Pamela Sawyer & Gloria Jones, James Dean & William Weatherspoon, Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua, Gil Askey,[31] Stevie Wonder, and Gordy himself.
The style created by the Motown musicians was a major influence on several non-Motown artists of the mid-1960s, such as Dusty Springfield and the Foundations. In the United Kingdom, the Motown Sound became the basis of the northern soul movement. Smokey Robinson said the Motown Sound had little to do with Detroit:
People would listen to it, and they'd say, 'Aha, they use more bass. Or they use more drums.' Bullshit. When we were first successful with it, people were coming from Germany, France, Italy, Mobile, Alabama. From New York, Chicago, California. From everywhere. Just to record in Detroit. They figured it was in the air, that if they came to Detroit and recorded on the freeway, they'd get the Motown sound. Listen, the Motown sound to me is not an audible sound. It's spiritual, and it comes from the people that make it happen. What other people didn't realize is that we just had one studio there, but we recorded in Chicago, Nashville, New York, L.A.—almost every big city. And we still got the sound.[32]
The Funk BrothersMain article: The Funk BrothersIn addition to the songwriting process of the writers and producers, one of the major factors in the widespread appeal of Motown's music was Gordy's practice of using a highly-select and tight-knit group of studio musicians, collectively known as the Funk Brothers, to record the instrumental or "band" tracks of a majority of Motown recordings. Among the studio musicians responsible for the "Motown Sound" were keyboardists Earl Van Dyke, Johnny Griffith, and Joe Hunter; guitarists Ray Monette, Joe Messina, Robert White, and Eddie Willis; percussionists Eddie "Bongo" Brown and Jack Ashford; drummers Benny Benjamin, Uriel Jones, and Richard "Pistol" Allen; and bassists James Jamerson and Bob Babbitt. The band's career and work is chronicled in the 2002 documentary film Standing in the Shadows of Motown, which publicised the fact that these musicians "played on more number-one records than The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined".[33] Ashford later played on Raphael Saadiq's 2008 album The Way I See It, whose recording and production were modelled after the Motown Sound.[34]
Much of the Motown Sound came from the use of overdubbed and duplicated instrumentation. Motown songs regularly featured two drummers instead of one (either overdubbed or in unison), as well as three or four guitar lines.[33] Bassist James Jamerson often played his instrument with only the index finger of his right hand, and created many of the basslines apparent on Motown songs such as "Up the Ladder to the Roof" by The Supremes.[33]
Artist developmentArtist development was a major part of Motown's operations instituted by Berry Gordy. The acts on the Motown label were fastidiously groomed, dressed and choreographed for live performances. Motown artists were advised that their breakthrough into the white popular music market made them ambassadors for other African-American artists seeking broad market acceptance, and that they should think, act, walk and talk like royalty, so as to alter the less-than-dignified image commonly held of black musicians by white Americans in that era.[35] Given that many of the talented young artists had been raised in housing projects and lacked the necessary social and dress experience, this Motown department was not only necessary, it created an elegant style of presentation long associated with the label.[36] The artist development department specialized primarily in working with younger, less-experienced acts; experienced performers such as Jr. Walker and Marvin Gaye were exempt from artist-development classes.
Many of the young artists participated in an annual package tour called the "Motortown Revue", which was popular, first, on the "Chitlin' Circuit", and, later, around the world. The tours gave the younger artists a chance to hone their performance and social skills and learn from the more experienced artists.
Motown subsidiary labelsIn order to avoid accusations of payola should DJs play too many records from the original Tamla label, Gordy formed Motown Records as a second label in 1960. The two labels featured the same writers, producers and artists.
Many more subsidiary labels were established later under the umbrella of the Motown parent company, including Gordy Records, Soul Records and VIP Records; in reality the Motown Record Corporation controlled all of these labels. Most of the distinctions between Motown labels were largely arbitrary, with the same writers, producers and musicians working on all the major subsidiaries, and artists were often shuffled between labels for internal marketing reasons. All of these records are usually considered to be "Motown" records, regardless of whether they actually appeared on the Motown Records label itself.
Major divisionsTamla Records: Established 1959, Tamla was a primary subsidiary for mainstream R&B/soul music. Tamla is the company's original label: Gordy founded Tamla Records several months before establishing the Motown Record Corporation. The label's numbering system was combined with those of Motown and Gordy in 1982, and the label was merged with Motown in 1988. Notable Tamla artists included Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and the Marvelettes. Tamla was briefly re-activated in 1996 as a reggae label, but only released a 12" single by Cocoa Tea called "New Immigration Law". Tamla also had a sub-label called Penny Records in 1959; artists on that label included Bryan Brent And The Cut Outs, who recorded a single for the label entitled "Vacation Time" b/w "For Eternity" (2201). Tamla Records slogan: "The Sound that Makes the World Go 'Round".Motown Records: Established 1960, Motown was and remains the company's main label for mainstream R&B/soul music (and, today, hip-hop music as well). The label's numbering system was combined with those of Tamla and Gordy in 1982, and the label (and company) was purchased by MCA in 1988. Notable Motown artists have included Mary Wells, the Supremes, Four Tops, the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Boyz II Men, Commodores, Lionel Richie, Dazz Band, Brian McKnight, 98 Degrees, and Erykah Badu. Motown Records slogan: "The Sound of Young America".Gordy Records: Established 1962, Gordy was also a primary subsidiary for mainstream R&B/soul music. Originally known as Miracle Records (slogan: "If It's a Hit, It's a Miracle"), the name was changed in 1962 to avoid confusion with the Miracles singing group. The label's numbering system was combined with those of Motown and Tamla in 1982, and the label was merged with Motown in 1988. Notable Gordy artists included the Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, the Contours, Edwin Starr, Rick James, The Mary Jane Girls, Teena Marie, Switch, and DeBarge. Gordy Records slogan: "It's What's in the Grooves that Counts".[37]Tamla Motown Records: Motown's non-US label, established in March 1965 and folded into the regular Motown label in 1976. Distributed by EMI, Tamla Motown issued the releases on the American Motown labels, using its own numbering system. In some cases, Tamla Motown would issue singles and albums not released in the United States (for example, the singles "I Second That Emotion" and "Why (Must We Fall in Love)" by Diana Ross & the Supremes with the Temptations, as well as the successful Motown Chartbusters series of albums).Secondary R&B labelsCheck-Mate Records: Short-lived (1961–1962) R&B/soul subsidiary, purchased from Chess Records. Notable artists included David Ruffin and The Del-Phis (later Martha and the Vandellas).Miracle Records: Short-lived (1961) R&B/soul subsidiary that lasted less than a year. Some pressings featured the infamous tagline, "If it's a hit, it's a Miracle." Renamed Gordy Records in 1962. Notable releases included early recordings by Jimmy Ruffin and the Temptations.[38]MoWest Records: MoWest was a short-lived (1971–1973; 1976 in UK) subsidiary for R&B/soul artists based on the West Coast. Shut down when the main Motown office moved to Los Angeles. Notable artists included G. C. Cameron, the Sisters Love, Syreeta Wright, the Four Seasons, Commodores (their first two singles in 1972 and 1973), and Los Angeles DJ Tom Clay. Unlike other Motown releases in the UK that were released by Tamla Motown, MoWest retained its US label design and logo for its UK releases as well. In fact, MoWest lasted longer in the UK up until 1976.Motown Yesteryear: a label created in late 1970s and used through the 1980s for the reissues of 7-inch singles from all eras of the company's history, after printing in the initial label has ceased.[39] One Motown Yesteryear single made Billboard′s Top 40 – the Contours' "Do You Love Me", in 1988, when its inclusion in the film Dirty Dancing revived interest.Soul Records: Established in 1964, Soul was a R&B/soul subsidiary for releases with less of a jazz feel and/or more of a blues feel. Notable Soul artists included Jr. Walker & the All-Stars, Shorty Long, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Originals, the Fantastic Four, and Jimmy Ruffin. The label was dissolved in 1978. This label has no affiliation with the short-lived S.O.U.L. Records- an early 1990s imprint that was founded by the production team the Bomb Squad.V.I.P. Records: Established in 1964, V.I.P. was an R&B/soul subsidiary. Notable artists included the Velvelettes, the Spinners, the Monitors, the Elgins and Chris Clark. V.I.P. also was the outlet for pop records that were leased to Motown by EMI (the distributor of Tamla-Motown in Europe). The label was dissolved in 1974.Weed Records: A very short-lived subsidiary. Only one release, Chris Clark's 1969 CC Rides Again album, was issued. This release featured the tongue-in-cheek tagline: "Your Favorite Artists Are On Weed". The logo was a parody of the "Snapping Fingers" logo for Stax Records, but the hand in this case is holding up a peace sign.[40] The name "Weed Records" is now owned by the Tokyo/New York-based Weed Records.Additional genre labelsCountryMel-o-dy Records.: Established in 1962 as a secondary R&B/soul music subsidiary, Mel-o-dy later focused on white country music artists. Notable Mel-o-dy artists include Dorsey Burnette. The label was dissolved in 1965.Hitsville Records.: Founded as Melodyland Records in 1974. After the Melodyland Christian Center threatened legal action, the name was changed to Hitsville in 1976. Like Mel-o-dy before it, Hitsville focused on country music. Run by Mike Curb and Ray Ruff, Hitsville's notable artists included Ronnie Dove, Pat Boone, T. G. Sheppard and Jud Strunk. The label was dissolved in 1977.[41] In the UK, Melodyland/Hitsville material was released on MoWest.M.C. Records: Operated 1977 to 1978 as a continuation of the Hitsville label. A joint venture between Gordy and Mike Curb.[42] The Mel-o-dy, Hitsville, and M.C. catalogs are now managed by Mercury Nashville Records.Hip hop/rapWondirection Records.: A record label owned by Stevie Wonder, it had one 12-inch dance release, the 10' 35" rap track "The Crown" by Gary Byrd and the G.B. Experience.Mad Sounds Recordings.: Short-lived hip-hop/rap subsidiary label, released five albums in the mid-1990s- including Zig Zag by Tha Mexakinz,[43] Trendz by Trendz of Culture and Rottin ta da Core by Rottin Razkals.JazzWorkshop Jazz Records.: Motown's jazz subsidiary, active from 1962 to 1964. Notable Workshop Jazz artists included the George Bohannon Trio, Earl Washington All Stars, and Four Tops (whose recordings for the label went unissued for 30 years). The Workshop Jazz catalog is currently managed by Verve Records.Blaze Records.: A short-lived label featuring a Jack Ashford instrumental released in September 1969, "Do The Choo-Choo" with b-side "Do The Choo-Choo Pt II" written by L. Chandler, E. Willis, J. Ashford, with label number 1107.Mo Jazz Records.: Another jazz label created in the 1990s, this was Motown's most successful jazz imprint. Notable artists included Norman Brown, Foley, Norman Connors, and J. Spencer. It also reissued instrumental albums like Stevie Wonder's 1968 album Eivets Rednow and Grover Washington Jr.'s CTI/Kudu albums under the Classic Mo Jazz subsidiary. This label (including its roster and catalog) was folded into Verve Records after the PolyGram/Universal merger.RockRare Earth Records.: Established in 1969 after the signing of Rare Earth (after whom the label was named), Rare Earth Records was a subsidiary focusing on rock music by white artists. Notable acts included Rare Earth, R. Dean Taylor, the Pretty Things, Love Sculpture, Kiki Dee, Toe Fat, The Cats and Shaun Murphy (both solo and her collaborations with Meat Loaf). The label also was the subsidiary to house the first white band signed to Motown, the Rustix.Prodigal Records.: Purchased by Motown in 1976, Motown used Prodigal Records as a second rock music subsidiary; a successor label to Rare Earth Records.[44] The Rare Earth band moved over to the label following the Rare Earth label's demise. Pop singer Charlene's #3 pop single for Motown I've Never Been To Me was originally released and charted on this label in 1977 (#97). Prodigal was dissolved in 1978.Morocco Records.: Acronym for "MOtown ROCk COmpany". As the name suggests, Morocco was a rock music subsidiary. Active from 1983 to 1984, it was a short-lived attempt to revive the Rare Earth Records concept. Only seven albums were released on the label. Its two most promising acts, Duke Jupiter and the black new wave trio Tiggi Clay (via their lead singer, Fizzy Qwick) eventually moved to the parent label.OtherDivinity Records.: Short-lived (1962–1963) gospel subsidiary. With five releases by artists- Wright Specials, Gospel Stars, Bernadettes, and Liz Lands. Label sequence starts at 99004 to 99008, the final recording being "We Shall Overcome" (for label number 99008) that was recorded in the Graystone Ballroom, was withdrawn and transferred to GORDY 7023B as the "I Have A Dream" speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Black Forum Records.: Short-lived (1970–1973) spoken-word subsidiary that focused mainly on albums featuring progressive political and pro-civil rights speeches/poetry. Black Forum issued recordings by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Elaine Brown, Langston Hughes, Margaret Danner, and others.[45]Natural Resources: This label was active from 1972 to 1973 and in 1976 as a minor subsidiary for white artists and instrumental bands. It later served as a label for Motown, Tamla and Gordy reissues and Motown compilation albums in 1978 and 1979.Motown Latino Records.: Short-lived (1982) subsidiary for Spanish-language Latin American music. Its only artist was Jose Feliciano.Gaiee Records.: Only one single was released on this label, in 1975; Valentino's "Gay/Lesbian" anthem "I Was Born This Way", which was later covered by fellow Motown artist Carl Bean in 1977.Independent labels distributed by MotownBiv 10 Records: A hip-hop/R&B label that was founded by Bell Biv Devoe/New Edition member Michael Bivins. The label operated throughout most of the 1990s. Its roster included Another Bad Creation, Boyz II Men, and 702.Chisa Records: Motown released output for Chisa, a label owned by Hugh Masekela, from 1969 to 1972 (prior to that, the label was distributed by Vault Records).CTI Records: Motown distributed output for CTI Records, a jazz label owned by Creed Taylor, from 1974 to 1975. CTI subsidiaries distributed by Motown included Kudu Records, Three Brothers Records and Salvation Records. With a few exceptions, the bulk of CTI's recordings are now owned by Sony Music Entertainment.Ecology Records: A very short-lived label owned by Sammy Davis Jr. and distributed by Motown. Only release: single "In My Own Lifetime"/"I'll Begin Again", by Davis in 1971.Gull Records: A UK-based label still in operation, Motown released Gull's output in the US in 1975. Gull had Judas Priest on its roster in 1975, but their LP Sad Wings of Destiny, intended for release by Motown in the US, was issued after the Motown/Gull Deal had fallen through.Manticore Records: A record label created by the members of the rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Manticore released albums by ELP and various other Progressive rock artists. Manticore was originally distributed in the U.S. by Atlantic Records from 1973 to 1975 but switched to Motown distribution until the label folded in 1977.Miscellaneous labels associated with MotownGroovesville RecordsInferno RecordsIPG RecordsRayber RecordsRic-Tic Records
Berry Gordy III[3] (born November 28, 1929), known professionally as Berry Gordy Jr.,[4] is an American record executive, record producer, songwriter, film producer and television producer. He is best known as the founder of the Motown record label and its subsidiaries, which was the highest-earning African-American business for decades.[5]
As a songwriter, he composed or co-composed a number of hits including "Lonely Teardrops" and "That's Why" (Jackie Wilson), "Shop Around" (The Miracles), and "Do You Love Me" (The Contours), all of which topped the US R&B charts, as well as the international hit "Reet Petite" (Jackie Wilson). As part of The Corporation he wrote many hit songs for The Jackson 5, including "I Want You Back" and "ABC". As a record producer, he launched the Miracles and signed acts like The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Stevie Wonder. He was known for carefully directing the public image, dress, manners, and choreography of his acts.
In 1988, Gordy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[6] In 2016, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.Contents1 Early years2 Motown Record Corporation3 Relocation to Los Angeles4 Awards and accolades5 Statements about Motown artists6 Motown: The Musical7 Personal life8 Vistas Stables9 Film9.1 Broadway10 In popular culture11 See also12 References13 External linksEarly yearsBerry Gordy III (also known as Berry Gordy Jr.) was the seventh of eight children (Fuller, Esther, Anna, Loucye, George, Gwen, Berry and Robert), born on November 28, 1929[7] in Detroit, to the middle-class family of Berry Gordy II (also known as Berry Gordy Sr.), who had relocated to Detroit from Oconee in Washington County, Georgia, in 1922.[4] His grandfather, named Berry Gordy I, was the son of James Gordy, a white plantation owner in Georgia, and a woman he enslaved. His half-brother, James (son of the elder James and his legal wife), was the grandfather of President Jimmy Carter. Berry Gordy II was led to Detroit both by the job opportunities offered by the booming automotive businesses,[4] and also by worries over the atmosphere in the American South where black men were lynched 'with chilling regularity by the Ku Klux Klan'; in the first twenty years of the twentieth century, 1,502 lynchings were reported, most in Southern states.[8] Gordy's father opened a grocery store, owned a plastering and carpentry business, and a printing shop. While his brothers Fuller and George were happy to work at jobs their father assigned to them in construction and printing, Berry and Robert, the younger boys, were less inclined to follow that path. Both Robert and Berry liked dancing and music, but Berry's greatest interest was in boxing.[9]
Gordy dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade to become a professional boxer[10] in hopes of becoming rich quickly; he boxed professionally until 1950, when he was drafted by the United States Army in 1951 for service in the Korean War. Arriving in Korea in May 1952, Gordy was first assigned to the 58th Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, near Panmunjom. He later became a chaplain's assistant, driving a jeep and playing the organ at religious services at the front. His tour in the Korean War was completed in April 1953. He obtained a General Educational Development degree (equivalent to a high school degree).[11]
After his return from Korea in 1953, he married nineteen year old Thelma Louise Coleman in Toledo, Ohio.[11] Gordy Jr. developed his interest in music by writing songs and opening the 3-D Record Mart, a record store featuring jazz music and 3-D glasses.[12] The store was unsuccessful, and Gordy sought work at the Lincoln-Mercury plant, but his family connections put him in touch with Al Green (no relation to the singer Reverend Al Green), owner of the Flame Show Bar Talent Club, where he met the singer Jackie Wilson.[13]
In 1957, Wilson recorded "Reet Petite", a song Gordy had co-written with his sister Gwen and writer-producer Billy Davis. It became a modest hit, but had more success internationally, especially in the UK, where it reached the Top 10 and even later topped the chart on re-issue in 1986. Wilson recorded six more songs co-written by Gordy over the next two years, including "Lonely Teardrops", which topped the R&B charts and got to number 7 in the pop chart. The Gordy siblings and Davis also wrote "All I Could Do Was Cry" for Etta James at Chess Records.[14][15]
Motown Record CorporationMain article: MotownGordy reinvested the profits from his songwriting success into producing. In 1957, he discovered the Miracles (originally known as the Matadors) and began building a portfolio of successful artists. In 1959, with the encouragement of Miracles leader Smokey Robinson, Gordy borrowed $800 from his family to create an R&B record company. Originally, Gordy wanted to name the new label Tammy Records, after the song recorded by Debbie Reynolds. However, that name was taken, and he chose the name Tamla Records. The company began operating on January 12, 1959.[7] "Come to Me" by Marv Johnson was issued as Tamla 101. United Artists Records picked up "Come to Me" for national distribution, as well as Johnson's more successful follow-up records such as "You Got What It Takes", co-produced by Gordy, who also received a co-writer credit, though the song was originally written and recorded by guitarist Bobby Parker for Vee-Jay Records a year and a half earlier. Gordy's next release was the only 45 ever issued on his Rayber label, featuring Wade Jones with an unnamed female backup group. The record did not sell well and is now one of the rarest issues from the Motown stable. Berry's third release was "Bad Girl" by the Miracles, the first release on the Motown record label. "Bad Girl" was a solid hit in 1959 after Chess Records picked it up. Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)" initially appeared on Tamla and then charted on Gordy's sister's label, Anna Records, in February 1960. It was The Miracles who gave the label its first million-selling hit single, with the 1960 Grammy Hall of Fame smash, "Shop Around" and this song, and its follow up hits,"You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (another Grammy Hall of Fame-inducted hit), "Mickey's Monkey","What's So Good About Goodbye", and "I'll Try Something New", made The Miracles the label's first stars.
The Tamla and Motown labels were then merged into a new company, Motown Record Corporation, incorporated on April 14, 1960. In 1960, Gordy signed an unknown singer, Mary Wells, who became the fledgling label's second star, with Smokey Robinson penning her hits "You Beat Me to the Punch", "Two Lovers", and "My Guy". The Miracles' hit "Shop Around" peaked at No. 1 on the national R&B charts in late 1960 and at No. 2 on the Billboard magazine pop charts on January 16, 1961 (No. 1 pop, Cash Box), which established Motown as an independent company worthy of notice. Later in 1961, the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman" made it to the top of both charts.Berry Gordy House, known as the Motown mansion, in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic District[16]Gordy's gift for identifying and bringing together musical talent, along with the careful management of his artists' public image, made Motown a major national and then international success. Over the next decade, he signed such artists as the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Jimmy Ruffin, the Contours, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Commodores, the Velvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. Though he also signed various white acts on the label (Rare Earth, Rustix, via the Rare Earth label), he largely promoted African American artists but carefully controlled their public image, dress, manners and choreography for across-the-board appeal.[17]
Relocation to Los AngelesIn 1972, Gordy relocated to Los Angeles, where he produced the commercially successful biographical drama film on Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues, starring Diana Ross (who was nominated for an Academy Award), Richard Pryor, and Billy Dee Williams (cast in a role originally for Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops). Initially the studio, over Gordy's objections, rejected Williams after several screen tests. However, Gordy, known for his tenacity, eventually prevailed, and the film established Williams as a major movie star. Berry Gordy soon after produced and directed Mahogany, (Tony Richardson was the original director, but Gordy fired Richardson and took over direction himself after a dispute over minor casting) also starring Ross and Williams. In 1985, he produced the cult martial arts film The Last Dragon, which starred martial artist Taimak and one of Prince's proteges, Vanity.
Although Motown continued to produce major hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s by artists including the Jacksons, Rick James, Commodores, Lionel Richie and long-term signings Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, the record company was no longer the major force it had been. Gordy sold his interests in Motown Records to MCA and Boston Ventures on June 28, 1988, for $61 million. He later sold most of his interests in Jobete publishing to EMI Publishing. Gordy wrote or co-wrote 240 of the approximately 15,000 songs in Motown's Jobete music catalogue. However, the true test of the label's worth would come a few years later, when Polygram paid over $330 million (Diana Ross was given shares in this version of the label) for the Motown catalog.
Gordy published an autobiography, To Be Loved, in 1994.
Awards and accoladesGordy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.[6] He was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2009.[18]
When Gordy received the Songwriters Hall of Fame's Pioneer Award on June 13, 2013, he was the first living individual to receive the honor.[19]
In 2016, Gordy received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama for "helping to create a trailblazing new sound in American music. As a record producer and songwriter, he helped build Motown, launching the music careers of countless legendary artists. His unique sound helped shape our Nation's story."[20]
Berry Gordy Square in Los Angeles was designated by the City Council at intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Argyle where the office of Motown was located.[21]
Statements about Motown artistsFollowing the funeral of Marvin Gaye on April 5, 1984, Gordy declared Gaye "the greatest of his time." Berry said the singer "had no musical equals," while also discussing how he carried on the legacy of other soul singers who tackled a range of themes, from love to civil rights, such as Billie Holiday.[22]
On March 20, 2009, Gordy was in Hollywood to pay tribute to his first group and first million-selling act, the Miracles, when the members received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Speaking in tribute to the group, Gordy said: "Without the Miracles, Motown would not be the Motown it is today."[23][24][25][26]
At the age of 79, Gordy spoke at the memorial service for Michael Jackson in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009. He suggested that "The King of Pop" was perhaps not the best description for Jackson in light of his achievements, referring to him instead as "the greatest entertainer that ever lived."
Motown: The MusicalOn May 15, 2011, it was announced that Gordy was developing a Broadway musical about Motown. The show is said to be an account of events of the 1960s and how they shaped the creation of the label. Gordy hoped that the musical would improve the reputation of Motown Records and clear up any misconceptions regarding the label's demise.[27]
Motown: The Musical began previews at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on March 11, 2013, and began regular performances there on April 14.[28] The musical closed in January 2015.[29]
The UK version of Motown: The Musical opened in London's West End in January 2016. Berry Gordy was present at the opening night.
Personal lifeGordy, who was married and divorced three times, has eight children: His publishing company, Jobete, was named after his three eldest children: Joy, Berry and Terry.
He had three children with his first wife, Thelma Coleman, whom he married in 1953 (they were divorced in 1959):
Hazel Joy Gordy (born August 24, 1954), was once married to Jermaine Jackson.Berry Gordy IV (born October 1955), father to Skyler Austen Gordy.Terry James Gordy (born August 1956).In the spring of 1960 he married Raynoma Mayberry Liles (they were divorced in 1964).[30][31] They had one son:
Kerry Gordy (born June 25, 1959).With Jeana Jackson, Gordy had one daughter:
Sherry Gordy (born May 23, 1960).[32]With his then-mistress Margaret Norton, Gordy had a son who would later become more popularly known as Motown musician Rockwell:
Kennedy William Gordy (born March 15, 1964).Gordy had a daughter with Motown artist Diana Ross, with whom he had an intimate relationship from 1965 through 1970:
Rhonda Suzanne (born August 14, 1971; her legal father is Robert Ellis Silberstein under California family law)Gordy's eighth and youngest child is a son born to Nancy Leiviska. He is known by his stage name, Redfoo, as one member of the duo LMFAO (the other member is Skyler Gordy, born August 23, 1986, and known professionally as SkyBlu; he is the grandson of Gordy and Thelma Coleman through their son Berry IV and his wife, Valerie Robeson):
Stefan Kendal Gordy (born September 3, 1975).Berry married Grace Eaton on July 17, 1990; they divorced in 1993.
Vistas StablesBerry Gordy owned the colt Powis Castle whom he raced under the nom de course Vistas Stables.[33] Racing in California, Powis Castle won the 1994 Oceanside Stakes and Malibu Stakes then finished 8th in the Kentucky Derby and 9th in the Preakness Stakes, the first two legs of the U.S. Triple Crown series.[33]
FilmYear Title Notes1972 Lady Sings the Blues Producer1975 Mahogany Producer and director1976 The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings Producer1985 The Last Dragon Producer and music supervisorBroadwayYear Title Notes1982 Rock 'N Roll! The First 5,000 Years Writer: "I'll Be There"2005 Lennon Writer: "Money (That's What I Want)"2013 Motown: The Musical Producer and writer, composer and lyricistIn popular cultureGordy was portrayed by Billy Dee Williams (whose career Gordy had helped to jump-start in the 1970s) in the 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream.Gordy was portrayed by Obba Babatunde in the 1998 miniseries The Temptations.The character Gordy Berry (also played by Babatunde) in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a reference to Berry Gordy.The character of Curtis Taylor Jr., a music executive in the 2006 musical film Dreamgirls, has been called "a thinly veiled portrayal" of Gordy.[34] The film was based on the 1981 musical Dreamgirls, but the film made the connection to Gordy and Motown much more explicit than the musical did, by, among other things, moving the setting of the story from Chicago to Detroit. Taylor appears in the film as unethical and insensitive to his artists, which caused Gordy and others to criticize the film after its release. Gordy called the portrayal "100% wrong," while Smokey Robinson said it "blatantly painted a negative picture of Motown and Berry Gordy and of the Supremes."[35] In 2007, the producers of the film, DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures, issued a public apology to Gordy, saying they were sorry "for any confusion that has resulted from our fictional work." Gordy accepted the apology.[34]Motown Records is an American record label owned by the Universal Music Group. It was founded by Berry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records on June 7, 1958,[2][3] and incorporated as Motown Record Corporation on April 14, 1960.[4] Its name, a portmanteau of motor and town, has become a nickname for Detroit, where the label was originally headquartered.
Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music as an African American-owned label that achieved crossover success. In the 1960s, Motown and its subsidiary labels (including Tamla Motown, the brand used outside the US) were the most of the Motown sound, a style of soul music with a mainstream pop appeal. Motown was the most successful soul music label, with a net worth of $61 million. During the 1960s, Motown achieved 79 records in the top-ten of the Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 1969.
Following the events of the Detroit Riots of 1967, and the loss of key songwriting/production team Holland–Dozier–Holland that year over pay disputes, Gordy moved Motown to Los Angeles, California. Motown expanded into film and television production.
It was an independent company until MCA Records bought it in 1988. PolyGram purchased the label from MCA in 1993, followed by MCA successor Universal Music Group, which acquired PolyGram in 1999.[2]
Motown spent much of the 2000s headquartered in New York City as a part of the UMG subsidiaries Universal Motown and Universal Motown Republic Group. From 2011 to 2014, it was a part of The Island Def Jam Music Group division of Universal Music.[5][6][7] In 2014, however, UMG announced the dissolution of Island Def Jam, and Motown relocated back to Los Angeles to operate under the Capitol Music Group, now operating out of the Capitol Tower.[1] In 2018, Motown was inducted into Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at the Charles H. Wright Museum.[8]Contents1 History1.1 Beginnings of Motown1.2 West Grand Boulevard1.3 Detroit: 1959–19721.4 Los Angeles: 1972–19981.5 Final years of the Motown label: 1999–20051.6 Universal Motown: 2005–20111.7 Relaunch: 2011–present2 Motown Sound2.1 The Funk Brothers3 Artist development4 Motown subsidiary labels4.1 Major divisions4.2 Secondary R&B labels4.3 Additional genre labels4.3.1 Country4.3.2 Hip hop/rap4.3.3 Jazz4.3.4 Rock4.3.5 Other4.4 Independent labels distributed by Motown4.5 Miscellaneous labels associated with Motown5 British (pre-Tamla Motown) labels6 See also7 References7.1 Citations7.2 Print sources8 Further reading9 External linksHistoryBeginnings of MotownBerry Gordy's interest in the record business began when he opened a record store called the 3D Record Mart, a shop where he hoped to "educate customers about the beauty of jazz", in Detroit, Michigan. (The Gordys were an entrepreneurial family.) Although the shop did not last very long, Gordy's interest in the music business did not fade. He frequented Detroit's downtown nightclubs, and in the Flame Show Bar he met bar manager Al Green (not the famed singer), who owned a music publishing company called Pearl Music and represented Detroit-based musician Jackie Wilson. Gordy soon became part of a group of songwriters—with his sister Gwen Gordy and Billy Davis—who wrote songs for Wilson. "Reet Petite" was their first major hit which appeared in November 1957.[9] During the next eighteen months, Gordy helped to write six more Wilson A-sides, including "Lonely Teardrops", a peak-popular hit of 1958. Between 1957 and 1958, Gordy wrote or produced over a hundred sides for various artists, with his siblings Anna, Gwen and Robert, and other collaborators in varying combinations.[10]The Hitsville U.S.A. Motown building, at 2648 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Motown's headquarters from 1959 to 1968, which became the Motown Historical Museum in 1985[11]In 1957, Gordy met Smokey Robinson, who at the time was a local seventeen-year-old singer fronting a vocal harmony group called the Matadors. Gordy was interested in the doo-wop style that Robinson sang. In 1958, Gordy recorded the group's song "Got a Job" (an answer song to "Get a Job" by the Silhouettes), and released it as a single by leasing the record to a larger company outside Detroit called End Records, based in New York. The practice was common at the time for a small-time producer. "Got a Job" was the first single by Robinson's group, now called the Miracles. Gordy recorded a number of other records by forging a similar arrangement, most significantly with United Artists.[12]
In 1958, Gordy wrote and produced "Come to Me" for Marv Johnson. Seeing that the song had great crossover potential, Gordy leased it to United Artists for national distribution but also released it locally on his own startup imprint.[12] Needing $800 to cover his end of the deal, Gordy asked his family to borrow money from a cooperative family savings account.[13] After some debate, his family agreed, and in January 1959 “Come to Me” was released regionally on Gordy's new Tamla label.[14] Gordy originally wanted to name the label Tammy Records, after the hit song popularized by Debbie Reynolds from the 1957 film Tammy and the Bachelor, in which Reynolds also starred. When he found the name was already in use, Berry decided on Tamla instead.[citation needed] In April 1959, Gordy and his sister Gwen founded Anna Records which released about two dozen singles between 1959 and 1960. The most popular was Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)", written by Gordy and a secretary named Janie Bradford, and produced by Gordy.[14] Many of the songs distributed locally by Anna and Tamla Records were nationally distributed by Chess Records (sometimes with Anna and Tamla imprints). Gordy's relationship with Chess fostered closer dealings with Harvey Fuqua, nephew of Charlie Fuqua of the Ink Spots. Harvey Fuqua later married Gwen Gordy in 1961.[15]
Gordy looked toward creative self-sufficiency and established the publishing firm Jobete in June 1959 (incorporated in Michigan). He applied for copyrights on more than seventy songs before the end of 1959, including material used for the Miracles and Frances Burnett records, which were leased to Chess and Coral Records. The Michigan Chronicle of Detroit called Gordy an "independent producer of records", as his contributions to the city were beginning to attract notice. By that time, he was the president of Jobete, Tamla, and the music writing company Rayber.[16]
Gordy worked in various Detroit-based studios during this period to produce recordings and demos, but most prominently with United Sound Systems which was considered the best studio in town. However, producing at United Sound Systems was financially taxing and not appropriate for every job, so Gordy decided it would be more cost effective to maintain his own facility.[16] In mid-1959, he purchased a photography studio at 2648 West Grand Boulevard and converted the main floor into a recording studio and office space. Now, rather than shopping his songs to other artists or leasing his recordings to outside companies, Gordy began using the Tamla and Motown imprints to release songs that he wrote and produced. He incorporated Motown Records in April 1960.[17]
Smokey Robinson became the vice president of the company (and later named his daughter "Tamla" and his son "Berry"). Several of Gordy's family members, including his father Berry Sr., brothers Robert and George, and sister Esther, were given key roles in the company. By the middle of the decade, Gwen and Anna Gordy had joined the label in administrative positions as well. Gordy's partner at the time (and wife from 1960 to 1964), Raynoma Liles, also played a key role in the early days of Motown, leading the company's first session group, The Rayber Voices, and overseeing Jobete.[citation needed]
West Grand BoulevardAs mentioned above, in 1959, Gordy purchased the property that would become Motown's Hitsville U.S.A. studio. The photography studio located in the back of the property was modified into a small recording studio, and the Gordys moved into the second-floor living quarters. Within seven years, Motown would occupy seven additional neighboring houses:
Hitsville U.S.A., 1959 – (ground floor) administrative office, tape library, control room, Studio A; (upper floor) Gordy living quarters (1959–62), artists and repertoire (1962–72)Jobete Publishing office, 1961 – sales, billing, collections, shipping, and public relationsBerry Gordy Jr. Enterprise, 1962 – offices for Berry Gordy Jr. and Esther Gordy EdwardsFinance department, 1965 – royalties and payrollArtist personal development, 1966 – Harvey Fuqua (head of artist development and producer of stage performances), Maxine Powell (instructor in grooming, poise, and social graces for Motown artists), Maurice King (vocal coach, musical director and arranger), Cholly Atkins (house choreography), and rehearsal studiosTwo houses for administrative offices, 1966 – sales and marketing, traveling and traffic, and mixing and masteringITMI (International Talent Management Inc.) office, 1966 – managementMotown had hired over 450 employees and had a gross income of $20 million by the end of 1966.
Detroit: 1959–1972Early Tamla/Motown artists included Mable John, Eddie Holland and Mary Wells. "Shop Around", the Miracles' first number 1 R&B hit, peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. It was Tamla's first million-selling record. On April 14, 1960, Motown and Tamla Records merged into a new company called Motown Record Corporation. A year later, the Marvelettes scored Tamla's first US number-one pop hit, "Please Mr. Postman".[13] By the mid-1960s, the company, with the help of songwriters and producers such as Robinson, A&R chief William "Mickey" Stevenson, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Norman Whitfield, had become a major force in the music industry.
From 1961 to 1971, Motown had 110 top 10 hits. Top artists on the Motown label during that period included the Supremes (initially including Diana Ross), the Four Tops, and the Jackson 5, while Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes, and the Miracles had hits on the Tamla label. The company operated several labels in addition to the Tamla and Motown imprints. A third label, which Gordy named after himself (though it was originally called "Miracle") featured the Temptations, the Contours, Edwin Starr, and Martha and the Vandellas. A fourth, V.I.P., released recordings by the Velvelettes, the Spinners, the Monitors, and Chris Clark.
A fifth label, Soul, featured Jr. Walker & the All Stars, Jimmy Ruffin, Shorty Long, the Originals, and Gladys Knight & the Pips (who had found success before joining Motown, as "The Pips" on Vee-Jay). Many more Motown-owned labels released recordings in other genres, including Workshop Jazz (jazz) Earl Washington Reflections and Earl Washington's All Stars, Mel-o-dy (country, although it was originally an R&B label), and Rare Earth, which featured the band Rare Earth themselves. Under the slogan "The Sound of Young America", Motown's acts were enjoying widespread popularity among black and white audiences alike.
Smokey Robinson said of Motown's cultural impact:
Into the 1960s, I was still not of a frame of mind that we were not only making music, we were making history. But I did recognize the impact because acts were going all over the world at that time. I recognized the bridges that we crossed, the racial problems and the barriers that we broke down with music. I recognized that because I lived it. I would come to the South in the early days of Motown and the audiences would be segregated. Then they started to get the Motown music and we would go back and the audiences were integrated and the kids were dancing together and holding hands.[18]Berry Gordy House, known as Motown Mansion in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic District[19]In 1967, Berry Gordy purchased what is now known as Motown Mansion in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic District as his home, leaving his previous home to his sister Anna and then-husband Marvin Gaye (where photos for the cover of his album What's Going On were taken).[19] In 1968, Gordy purchased the Donovan building on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Interstate 75, and moved Motown's Detroit offices there (the Donovan building was demolished in January 2006 to provide parking spaces for Super Bowl XL). In the same year, Gordy purchased Golden World Records, and its recording studio became "Studio B" to Hitsville's "Studio A".
In the United Kingdom, Motown's records were released on various labels: at first London (only the Miracles' "Shop Around"/"Who's Lovin' You" and "Ain't It Baby"), then Fontana ("Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes was one of four) and then Oriole American ("Fingertips" by Little Stevie Wonder was one of many). In 1963, Motown signed with EMI's Stateside label ("Where Did Our Love Go" by the Supremes and "My Guy" by Mary Wells were Motown's first British top-20 hits). Eventually, EMI created the Tamla Motown label ("Stop! In the Name of Love" by the Supremes was the first Tamla Motown release in March 1965).
Los Angeles: 1972–1998After the songwriting trio Holland–Dozier–Holland left the label in 1967 over royalty-payment disputes, Norman Whitfield became the company's top producer, turning out hits for The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Rare Earth. In the meantime Berry Gordy established Motown Productions, a television subsidiary which produced TV specials for the Motown artists, including TCB, with Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations, Diana! with Diana Ross, and Goin' Back to Indiana with the Jackson 5. The company loosened its production rules, allowing some of its longtime artists the opportunity to write and produce more of their own material. This resulted in the recordings of successful and critically acclaimed albums such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On (1971) and Let's Get it On (1973), and Stevie Wonder's Music of My Mind (1972), Talking Book (1972), and Innervisions (1973).
Motown had established branch offices in both New York City and Los Angeles during the mid-1960s, and by 1969 had begun gradually moving more of its operations to Los Angeles. The company moved all of its operations to Los Angeles in June 1972, with a number of artists, among them Martha Reeves, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and many of the Funk Brothers studio band, either staying behind in Detroit or leaving the company for other reasons. By re-locating, Motown aimed chiefly to branch out into the motion-picture industry, and Motown Productions got its start in film by turning out two hit-vehicles for Diana Ross: the Billie Holiday biographical film Lady Sings the Blues (1972), and Mahogany (1975). Other Motown films would include Scott Joplin (1977), Thank God It's Friday (1978), The Wiz (1978) and The Last Dragon (1985). Ewart Abner, who had been associated with Motown since the 1960s, became its president in 1973.
By the 1970s, the Motown "hit factory" had become a target of a backlash from some fans of rock music. Record producer Pete Waterman recalls of this period: "I was a DJ for years and I worked for Motown – the press at the time, papers like NME, used to call it Toytown. When I DJ'd on the Poly circuit, the students wanted me to play Spooky Tooth and Velvet Underground. Things don't change. Nowadays, of course, Motown is hip."[20]
Despite losing Holland–Dozier–Holland, Norman Whitfield, and some of its other hitmakers by 1975, Motown still had a number of successful artists during the 1970s and 1980s, including Lionel Richie and the Commodores, Rick James, Teena Marie, the Dazz Band, Jose Feliciano and DeBarge. By the mid-1980s, Motown had started losing money, and Berry Gordy sold his ownership in Motown to MCA Records (which began a US distribution deal with the label in 1983) and Boston Ventures in June 1988 for $61 million. In 1989, Gordy sold the Motown Productions TV/film operations to Motown executive Suzanne de Passe, who renamed the company de Passe Entertainment and continues to run it as of 2018.[21] Gordy continued to retain the Jobete music publishing catalog, selling it separately to EMI Music Publishing in parts between 1997 and 2004.[22] It is currently owned by Sony Music Publishing (Sony/ATV until 2021) through the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in 2012 (as a leader of the consortium and eventually assigned full ownership in 2018).
During the 1990s, Motown was home to successful recording artists such as Boyz II Men and Johnny Gill, although the company itself remained in a state of turmoil. MCA appointed a series of executives to run the company, beginning with Berry Gordy's immediate successor, Jheryl Busby. Busby quarreled with MCA, alleging that the company did not give Motown's product adequate attention or promotion. In 1991, Motown sued MCA to have its distribution deal with the company terminated, and began releasing its product through PolyGram. PolyGram purchased Motown from Boston Ventures three years later.
In 1994, Busby was replaced by Andre Harrell, the entrepreneur behind Uptown Records. Harrell served as Motown's CEO for just under two years, leaving the company after receiving bad publicity for being inefficient. Danny Goldberg, who ran PolyGram's Mercury Records group, assumed control of Motown, and George Jackson served as president.
Final years of the Motown label: 1999–2005By 1998, Motown had added stars such as 702, Brian McKnight, and Erykah Badu to its roster. In December 1998, PolyGram was acquired by Seagram, and Motown was absorbed into the Universal Music Group. Seagram had purchased Motown's former parent MCA in 1995, and Motown was in effect reunited with many of its MCA corporate siblings (Seagram had hoped to build a media empire around Universal, and started by purchasing PolyGram). Universal briefly considered shuttering the label, but instead decided to restructure it. Kedar Massenburg, a producer for Erykah Badu, became the head of the label, and oversaw successful recordings from Badu, McKnight, Michael McDonald, and new Motown artist India.Arie.
Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and the Temptations had remained with the label since its early days, although all except Wonder recorded for other labels for several years. Ross left Motown for RCA Records from 1981 to 1988, but returned in 1989 and stayed until 2002, while Robinson left Motown in 1991 (although he did return to release one more album for the label in 1999). The Temptations left for Atlantic Records in 1977, but returned in 1980 and eventually left again in 2004. Wonder is the only artist from Motown's early period that stayed during the late 2010s.
Universal Motown: 2005–2011Further information: Universal Motown RecordsIn 2005, Massenburg was replaced by Sylvia Rhone, former CEO of Elektra Records. Motown was merged with Universal Records to create the Universal Motown Records and placed under the newly created umbrella division of Universal Motown Republic Group. Notable artists on Universal Motown included Drake Bell, Ryan Leslie, Melanie Fiona, Kelly Rowland, Forever the Sickest Kids, The Veer Union and Four Year Strong. Motown celebrated its 50th anniversary on January 12, 2009, and celebrated it in Detroit on November 20, 2009, in a black-tie Gala titled "Live It Again!" The event was hosted by Sinbad and included Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, Aretha Franklin and Kid Rock.[23][24]
Relaunch: 2011–presentIn the mid-2011, Universal Motown reverted to the Motown brand after having been separated from Universal Motown Republic Group, hired Ethiopia Habtemariam as its Senior Vice President, and operated under The Island Def Jam Music Group.[5][7] Artists from Universal Motown were transferred to the newly revitalized Motown label.[6] On January 25, 2012, it was announced that Ne-Yo would join the Motown label both as an artist as well as the new Senior Vice President of A&R.[25][26] On April 1, 2014, it was announced that Island Def Jam will no longer be running following the resignation of CEO Barry Weiss. In a press release sent out by Universal Music Group, the label will now be reorganizing Def Jam Recordings, Island Records and Motown Records all as separate entities.[27] Motown would then begin serving as a subsidiary of Capitol Records.[28] In late 2018, Motown began celebrating its 60th anniversary by reissuing numerous albums from their catalog.
Motown UK launched in September 2020 under Universal UK's EMI Records (formerly Virgin EMI Records) division.[29]
Motown SoundSee also: Motown (music style)Motown specialized in a type of soul music it referred to with the trademark "The Motown Sound". Crafted with an ear towards pop appeal, the Motown Sound typically used tambourines to accent the back beat, prominent and often melodic electric bass-guitar lines, distinctive melodic and chord structures, and a call-and-response singing style that originated in gospel music. In 1971, Jon Landau wrote in Rolling Stone that the sound consisted of songs with simple structures but sophisticated melodies, along with a four-beat drum pattern, regular use of horns and strings, and "a trebly style of mixing that relied heavily on electronic limiting and equalizing (boosting the high range frequencies) to give the overall product a distinctive sound, particularly effective for broadcast over AM radio".[30] Pop production techniques such as the use of orchestral string sections, charted horn sections, and carefully arranged background vocals were also used. Complex arrangements and elaborate, melismatic vocal riffs were avoided.[31] Motown producers believed steadfastly in the "KISS principle" (keep it simple, stupid).[32]
The Motown production process has been described as factory-like. The Hitsville studios remained open and active 22 hours a day, and artists would often go on tour for weeks, come back to Detroit to record as many songs as possible, and then promptly go on tour again. Berry Gordy held quality control meetings every Friday morning, and used veto power to ensure that only the very best material and performances would be released. The test was that every new release needed to fit into a sequence of the top five selling pop singles of the week. Several tracks that later became critical and commercial favorites were initially rejected by Gordy, the two most notable being the Marvin Gaye songs "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "What's Going On". In several cases, producers would rework tracks in hopes of eventually getting them approved at a later Friday morning meeting, as producer Norman Whitfield did with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and The Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg".
Many of Motown's best-known songs, including all the early hits for the Supremes, were written by the songwriting trio of Holland–Dozier–Holland (Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland). Other important Motown producers and songwriters included Norman Whitfield, William "Mickey" Stevenson, Smokey Robinson, Barrett Strong, Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, Frank Wilson, Pamela Sawyer & Gloria Jones, James Dean & William Weatherspoon, Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua, Gil Askey,[33] Stevie Wonder, and Gordy himself.
The style created by the Motown musicians was a major influence on several non-Motown artists of the mid-1960s, such as Dusty Springfield and the Foundations. In the United Kingdom, the Motown Sound became the basis of the northern soul movement. Smokey Robinson said the Motown Sound had little to do with Detroit:
People would listen to it, and they'd say, 'Aha, they use more bass. Or they use more drums.' Bullshit. When we were first successful with it, people were coming from Germany, France, Italy, Mobile, Alabama. From New York, Chicago, California. From everywhere. Just to record in Detroit. They figured it was in the air, that if they came to Detroit and recorded on the freeway, they'd get the Motown sound. Listen, the Motown sound to me is not an audible sound. It's spiritual, and it comes from the people that make it happen. What other people didn't realize is that we just had one studio there, but we recorded in Chicago, Nashville, New York, L.A.—almost every big city. And we still got the sound.[34]
The Funk BrothersMain article: The Funk BrothersIn addition to the songwriting process of the writers and producers, one of the major factors in the widespread appeal of Motown's music was Gordy's practice of using a highly-select and tight-knit group of studio musicians, collectively known as the Funk Brothers, to record the instrumental or "band" tracks of a majority of Motown recordings. Among the studio musicians responsible for the "Motown Sound" were keyboardists Earl Van Dyke, Johnny Griffith, and Joe Hunter; guitarists Ray Monette, Joe Messina, Robert White, and Eddie Willis; percussionists Eddie "Bongo" Brown and Jack Ashford; drummers Benny Benjamin, Uriel Jones, and Richard "Pistol" Allen; and bassists James Jamerson and Bob Babbitt. The band's career and work is chronicled in the 2002 documentary film Standing in the Shadows of Motown, which publicised the fact that these musicians "played on more number-one records than The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined".[35] Ashford later played on Raphael Saadiq's 2008 album The Way I See It, whose recording and production were modelled after the Motown Sound.[36]
Much of the Motown Sound came from the use of overdubbed and duplicated instrumentation. Motown songs regularly featured two drummers instead of one (either overdubbed or in unison), as well as three or four guitar lines.[35] Bassist James Jamerson often played his instrument with only the index finger of his right hand, and created many of the basslines apparent on Motown songs such as "Up the Ladder to the Roof" by The Supremes.[35]
Artist developmentArtist development was a major part of Motown's operations instituted by Berry Gordy. The acts on the Motown label were fastidiously groomed, dressed and choreographed for live performances. Motown artists were advised that their breakthrough into the white popular music market made them ambassadors for other African-American artists seeking broad market acceptance, and that they should think, act, walk and talk like royalty, so as to alter the less-than-dignified image commonly held of black musicians by white Americans in that era.[37] Given that many of the talented young artists had been raised in housing projects and lacked the necessary social and dress experience, this Motown department was not only necessary, it created an elegant style of presentation long associated with the label.[38] The artist development department specialized primarily in working with younger, less-experienced acts; experienced performers such as Jr. Walker and Marvin Gaye were exempt from artist-development classes.
Many of the young artists participated in an annual package tour called the "Motortown Revue", which was popular, first, on the "Chitlin' Circuit", and, later, around the world. The tours gave the younger artists a chance to hone their performance and social skills and learn from the more experienced artists.
Motown subsidiary labelsIn order to avoid accusations of payola should DJs play too many records from the original Tamla label, Gordy formed Motown Records as a second label in 1960. The two labels featured the same writers, producers and artists.
Many more subsidiary labels were established later under the umbrella of the Motown parent company, including Gordy Records, Soul Records and VIP Records; in reality the Motown Record Corporation controlled all of these labels. Most of the distinctions between Motown labels were largely arbitrary, with the same writers, producers and musicians working on all the major subsidiaries, and artists were often shuffled between labels for internal marketing reasons. All of these records are usually considered to be "Motown" records, regardless of whether they actually appeared on the Motown Records label itself.
Major divisionsTamla Records: Established 1959, Tamla was a primary subsidiary for mainstream R&B/soul music. Tamla is the company's original label: Gordy founded Tamla Records several months before establishing the Motown Record Corporation. The label's numbering system was combined with those of Motown and Gordy in 1982, and the label was merged with Motown in 1988. Notable Tamla artists included Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and the Marvelettes. Tamla was briefly re-activated in 1996 as a reggae label, but only released a 12" single by Cocoa Tea called "New Immigration Law". Tamla also had a sub-label called Penny Records in 1959; artists on that label included Bryan Brent And The Cut Outs, who recorded a single for the label entitled "Vacation Time" b/w "For Eternity" (2201). Tamla Records slogan: "The Sound that Makes the World Go 'Round".Motown Records: Established 1960, Motown was and remains the company's main label for mainstream R&B/soul music (and, today, hip-hop music as well). The label's numbering system was combined with those of Tamla and Gordy in 1982, and the label (and company) was purchased by MCA in 1988. Notable Motown artists have included Mary Wells, the Supremes, Four Tops, the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Boyz II Men, Commodores, Lionel Richie, Dazz Band, Brian McKnight, 98 Degrees, and Erykah Badu. Motown Records slogan: "The Sound of Young America".Gordy Records: Established 1962, Gordy was also a primary subsidiary for mainstream R&B/soul music. Originally known as Miracle Records (slogan: "If It's a Hit, It's a Miracle"), the name was changed in 1962 to avoid confusion with the Miracles singing group. The label's numbering system was combined with those of Motown and Tamla in 1982, and the label was merged with Motown in 1988. Notable Gordy artists included the Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, the Contours, Edwin Starr, Rick James, The Mary Jane Girls, Teena Marie, Switch, and DeBarge. Gordy Records slogan: "It's What's in the Grooves that Counts".[39]
One of Tamla Motown logosTamla Motown Records: Motown's non-US label, established in March 1965 and folded into the regular Motown label in 1976. Distributed by EMI, Tamla Motown issued the releases on the American Motown labels, using its own numbering system. In some cases, Tamla Motown would issue singles and albums not released in the United States (for example, the singles "I Second That Emotion" and "Why (Must We Fall in Love)" by Diana Ross & the Supremes with the Temptations, as well as the successful Motown Chartbusters series of albums).Secondary R&B labelsCheck-Mate Records: Short-lived (1961–1962) R&B/soul subsidiary, purchased from Chess Records. Notable artists included David Ruffin and The Del-Phis (later Martha and the Vandellas).Miracle Records: Short-lived (1961) R&B/soul subsidiary that lasted less than a year. Some pressings featured the infamous tagline, "If it's a hit, it's a Miracle." Renamed Gordy Records in 1962. Notable releases included early recordings by Jimmy Ruffin and the Temptations.[40]MoWest Records: MoWest was a short-lived (1971–1973; 1976 in UK) subsidiary for R&B/soul artists based on the West Coast. Shut down when the main Motown office moved to Los Angeles. Notable artists included Lesley Gore, G. C. Cameron, the Sisters Love, Syreeta Wright, the Four Seasons, Commodores (their first two singles in 1972 and 1973), and Los Angeles DJ Tom Clay. Unlike other Motown releases in the UK that were released by Tamla Motown, MoWest retained its US label design and logo for its UK releases as well. In fact, MoWest lasted longer in the UK up until 1976.Motown Yesteryear: a label created in late 1970s and used through the 1980s for the reissues of 7-inch singles from all eras of the company's history, after printing in the initial label has ceased.[41] One Motown Yesteryear single made Billboard′s Top 40 – the Contours' "Do You Love Me", in 1988, when its inclusion in the film Dirty Dancing revived interest.Soul Records: Established in 1964, Soul was a R&B/soul subsidiary for releases with less of a jazz feel and/or more of a blues feel. Notable Soul artists included Jr. Walker & the All-Stars, Shorty Long, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Originals, the Fantastic Four, and Jimmy Ruffin. The label was dissolved in 1978. This label has no affiliation with the short-lived S.O.U.L. Records- an early 1990s imprint that was founded by the production team the Bomb Squad.V.I.P. Records: Established in 1964, V.I.P. was an R&B/soul subsidiary. Notable artists included the Velvelettes, the Spinners, the Monitors, the Elgins and Chris Clark. V.I.P. also was the outlet for pop records that were leased to Motown by EMI (the distributor of Tamla-Motown in Europe). The label was dissolved in 1974.Weed Records: A very short-lived subsidiary. Only one release, Chris Clark's 1969 CC Rides Again album, was issued. This release featured the tongue-in-cheek tagline: "Your Favorite Artists Are On Weed". The logo was a parody of the "Snapping Fingers" logo for Stax Records, but the hand in this case is holding up a peace sign.[42] The name "Weed Records" is now owned by the Tokyo/New York-based Weed Records.Additional genre labelsCountryMel-o-dy Records.: Established in 1962 as a secondary R&B/soul music subsidiary, Mel-o-dy later focused on white country music artists. Notable Mel-o-dy artists include Dorsey Burnette. The label was dissolved in 1965.Hitsville Records.: Founded as Melodyland Records in 1974. After the Melodyland Christian Center threatened legal action, the name was changed to Hitsville in 1976. Like Mel-o-dy before it, Hitsville focused on country music. Run by Mike Curb and Ray Ruff, Hitsville's notable artists included Ronnie Dove, Pat Boone, T. G. Sheppard and Jud Strunk. The label was dissolved in 1977.[43] In the UK, Melodyland/Hitsville material was released on MoWest.M.C. Records: Operated 1977 to 1978 as a continuation of the Hitsville label. A joint venture between Gordy and Mike Curb.[44] The Mel-o-dy, Hitsville, and M.C. catalogs are now managed by Mercury Nashville Records.Hip hop/rapWondirection Records.: A record label owned by Stevie Wonder, it had one 12-inch dance release, the 10' 35" rap track "The Crown" by Gary Byrd and the G.B. Experience.Mad Sounds Recordings.: Short-lived hip-hop/rap subsidiary label, released five albums in the mid-1990s- including Zig Zag by Tha Mexakinz,[45] Trendz by Trendz of Culture and Rottin ta da Core by Rottin Razkals.JazzWorkshop Jazz Records.: Motown's jazz subsidiary, active from 1962 to 1964. Notable Workshop Jazz artists included the George Bohannon Trio, Earl Washington All Stars, and Four Tops (whose recordings for the label went unissued for 30 years). The Workshop Jazz catalog is currently managed by Verve Records.Blaze Records.: A short-lived label featuring a Jack Ashford instrumental released in September 1969, "Do The Choo-Choo" with b-side "Do The Choo-Choo Pt II" written by L. Chandler, E. Willis, J. Ashford, with label number 1107.Mo Jazz Records.: Another jazz label created in the 1990s, this was Motown's most successful jazz imprint. Notable artists included Norman Brown, Foley, Norman Connors, and J. Spencer. It also reissued instrumental albums like Stevie Wonder's 1968 album Eivets Rednow and Grover Washington Jr.'s CTI/Kudu albums under the Classic Mo Jazz subsidiary. This label (including its roster and catalog) was folded into Verve Records after the PolyGram/Universal merger.RockRare Earth Records.: Established in 1969 after the signing of Rare Earth (after whom the label was named), Rare Earth Records was a subsidiary focusing on rock music by white artists. Notable acts included Rare Earth, R. Dean Taylor, the Pretty Things, Love Sculpture, Kiki Dee, Toe Fat, The Cats and Shaun Murphy (both solo and her collaborations with Meat Loaf). The label also was the subsidiary to house the first white band signed to Motown, the Rustix.Prodigal Records.: Purchased by Motown in 1976, Motown used Prodigal Records as a second rock music subsidiary; a successor label to Rare Earth Records.[46] The Rare Earth band moved over to the label following the Rare Earth label's demise. Pop singer Charlene's #3 pop single for Motown I've Never Been To Me was originally released and charted on this label in 1977 (#97). Prodigal was dissolved in 1978.Morocco Records.: Acronym for "MOtown ROCk COmpany". As the name suggests, Morocco was a rock music subsidiary. Active from 1983 to 1984, it was a short-lived attempt to revive the Rare Earth Records concept. Only seven albums were released on the label. Its two most promising acts, Duke Jupiter and the black new wave trio Tiggi Clay (via their lead singer, Fizzy Qwick) eventually moved to the parent label.OtherDivinity Records.: Short-lived (1962–1963) gospel subsidiary. With five releases by artists- Wright Specials, Gospel Stars, Bernadettes, and Liz Lands. Label sequence starts at 99004 to 99008, the final recording being "We Shall Overcome" (for label number 99008) that was recorded in the Graystone Ballroom, was withdrawn and transferred to GORDY 7023B as the "I Have A Dream" speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Black Forum Records.: Short-lived (1970–1973) spoken-word subsidiary that focused mainly on albums featuring progressive political and pro-civil rights speeches/poetry. Black Forum issued recordings by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Elaine Brown, Langston Hughes, Margaret Danner, and others.[47]Natural Resources: This label was active from 1972 to 1973 and in 1976 as a minor subsidiary for white artists and instrumental bands. It later served as a label for Motown, Tamla and Gordy reissues and Motown compilation albums in 1978 and 1979.Motown Latino Records.: Short-lived (1982) subsidiary for Spanish-language Latin American music. Its only artist was Jose Feliciano.Gaiee Records.: Only one single was released on this label, in 1975; Valentino's "Gay/Lesbian" anthem "I Was Born This Way", which was later covered by fellow Motown artist Carl Bean in 1977.Independent labels distributed by MotownBiv 10 Records: A hip-hop/R&B label that was founded by Bell Biv Devoe/New Edition member Michael Bivins. The label operated throughout most of the 1990s. Its roster included Another Bad Creation, Boyz II Men, and 702.Chisa Records: Motown released output for Chisa, a label owned by Hugh Masekela, from 1969 to 1972 (prior to that, the label was distributed by Vault Records).CTI Records: Motown distributed output for CTI Records, a jazz label owned by Creed Taylor, from 1974 to 1975. CTI subsidiaries distributed by Motown included Kudu Records, Three Brothers Records, and Salvation Records. With a few exceptions, the bulk of CTI's recordings is now owned by Sony Music Entertainment.Ecology Records: A very short-lived label owned by Sammy Davis Jr. and distributed by Motown. Only release: single "In My Own Lifetime"/"I'll Begin Again", by Davis in 1971.Gull Records: A UK-based label still in operation, Motown released Gull's output in the US in 1975. Gull had Judas Priest on its roster in 1975, but their LP Sad Wings of Destiny, intended for release by Motown in the US, was issued after the Motown/Gull Deal had fallen through.Manticore Records: A record label created by the members of the rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Manticore released albums by ELP and various other Progressive rock artists. Manticore was originally distributed in the U.S. by Atlantic Records from 1973 to 1975 but switched to Motown distribution until the label folded in 1977.Never Broke Again: A record label founded by YoungBoy Never Broke Again. The label releases compilation albums and has its own artists signed to the Motown/NBA imprint.Miscellaneous labels associated with MotownGroovesville RecordsInferno RecordsIPG RecordsRayber RecordsRic-Tic RecordsRich RecordsSummer Camp RecordsTabu RecordsBritish (pre-Tamla Motown) labelsLondon American Records issued the releases for Motown from 1960 to 1961.Fontana Records issued the releases for Motown from 1961 to 1962.Oriole American Records issued the releases for Motown from 1962 to 1963.Stateside Records issued the releases for Motown from 1963 to 1965, when the Tamla Motown label was created.
Detroit (/dɪˈtrɔɪt/ dih-TROYT, locally also /ˈdiːtrɔɪt/ DEE-troyt; French: Détroit, lit. 'strait') is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is also the largest U.S. city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of government of Wayne County. The City of Detroit had a population of 639,111 at the 2020 census,[6] making it the 27th-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area, and the 14th-largest in the United States. Regarded as a major cultural center,[7][8] Detroit is known for its contributions to music, art, architecture and design, in addition to its historical automotive background.[9] Time named Detroit as one of the fifty World's Greatest Places of 2022 to explore.[10]
Detroit is a major port on the Detroit River, one of the four major straits that connect the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The City of Detroit anchors the second-largest regional economy in the Midwest, behind Chicago and ahead of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, and the 14th-largest in the United States.[11] Detroit is best known as the center of the U.S. automobile industry, and the "Big Three" auto manufacturers General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis North America (Chrysler) are all headquartered in Metro Detroit.[12] As of 2007, the Detroit metropolitan area is the number one exporting region among 310 defined metropolitan areas in the United States.[13] The Detroit Metropolitan Airport is among the most important hub airports in the United States. Detroit and its neighboring Canadian city Windsor are connected through a highway tunnel, railway tunnel, and the Ambassador Bridge, which is the second-busiest international crossing in North America, after San Diego–Tijuana.[14]
In 1701, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and Alphonse de Tonty founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, the future city of Detroit. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it became an important industrial hub at the center of the Great Lakes region. The city's population became the fourth-largest in the nation in 1920, after only New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia, with the expansion of the auto industry in the early 20th century.[15] As Detroit's industrialization took off, the Detroit River became the busiest commercial hub in the world. The strait carried over 65 million tons of shipping commerce through Detroit to locations all over the world each year; the freight throughput was more than three times that of New York and about four times that of London. By the 1940s, the city's population remained the fourth-largest in the country. However, due to industrial restructuring, the loss of jobs in the auto industry, and rapid suburbanization, among other reasons, Detroit entered a state of urban decay and lost considerable population from the late 20th century to the present. Since reaching a peak of 1.85 million at the 1950 census, Detroit's population has declined by more than 65 percent.[6] In 2013, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, which it successfully exited in December 2014, when the city government regained control of Detroit's finances.[16]
Detroit's diverse culture has had both local and international influence, particularly in music, with the city giving rise to the genres of Motown and techno, and playing an important role in the development of jazz, hip-hop, rock, and punk. The rapid growth of Detroit in its boom years resulted in a globally unique stock of architectural monuments and historic places. Since the 2000s, conservation efforts have managed to save many architectural pieces and achieved several large-scale revitalizations, including the restoration of several historic theatres and entertainment venues, high-rise renovations, new sports stadiums, and a riverfront revitalization project. More recently, the population of Downtown Detroit, Midtown Detroit, and various other neighborhoods have increased.[citation needed] An increasingly popular tourist destination, Detroit receives 16 million visitors per year.[17] In 2015, Detroit was named a "City of Design" by UNESCO, the first U.S. city to receive that designation.[18]Contents1 Toponymy2 History2.1 Early settlement2.2 Later settlement2.3 19th century2.4 20th century2.4.1 Postwar era2.4.2 1970s and decline2.4.3 1980s2.4.4 1990s & 2000s2.4.5 2010s3 Geography3.1 Metropolitan area3.2 Topography3.3 Climate3.4 Cityscape3.4.1 Architecture3.4.2 Neighborhoods4 Demographics4.1 2020 census4.2 Religion4.3 Income and employment4.4 Race and ethnicity4.4.1 Asians and Asian Americans4.5 Crime5 Economy6 Arts and culture6.1 Nicknames6.2 Music6.3 Entertainment and performing arts6.4 Tourism7 Sports8 Government8.1 Politics8.2 Public finances9 Education9.1 Colleges and universities9.2 Primary and secondary schools9.2.1 Public schools and charter schools9.2.2 Private schools10 Media11 Infrastructure11.1 Health systems11.2 Transportation11.2.1 Transit systems11.2.2 Car ownership11.2.3 Freight railroads11.2.4 Airports11.2.5 Freeways11.3 Floating post office12 Notable people13 Sister cities14 Notes15 References16 Further reading16.1 Primary sources17 External links17.1 Municipal government and local Chamber of Commerce17.2 Historical research and current eventsToponymyDetroit is named after the Detroit River, connecting Lake Huron with Lake Erie. The city's name comes from the French word 'détroit' meaning "strait" as the city was situated on a narrow passage of water linking two lakes. The river was known as “le détroit du Lac Érié," among the French, which meant "the strait of Lake Erie".[19][20]
HistoryMain article: History of DetroitFor a chronological guide, see Timeline of Detroit.Early settlementPaleo-Indian people inhabited areas near Detroit as early as 11,000 years ago including the culture referred to as the Mound-builders.[21] In the 17th century, the region was inhabited by Huron, Odawa, Potawatomi and Iroquois peoples.[22] The area is known by the Anishinaabe people as Waawiiyaataanong, translating to 'where the water curves around'.[23]
The first Europeans did not penetrate into the region and reach the straits of Detroit until French missionaries and traders worked their way around the League of the Iroquois, with whom they were at war and other Iroquoian tribes in the 1630s.[24] The Huron and Neutral peoples held the north side of Lake Erie until the 1650s, when the Iroquois pushed both and the Erie people away from the lake and its beaver-rich feeder streams in the Beaver Wars of 1649–1655.[24] By the 1670s, the war-weakened Iroquois laid claim to as far south as the Ohio River valley in northern Kentucky as hunting grounds,[24] and had absorbed many other Iroquoian peoples after defeating them in war.[24] For the next hundred years, virtually no British or French action was contemplated without consultation with, or consideration of the Iroquois' likely response.[24] When the French and Indian War evicted the Kingdom of France from Canada, it removed one barrier to American colonists migrating west.[25]
British negotiations with the Iroquois would both prove critical and lead to a Crown policy limiting settlements below the Great Lakes and west of the Alleghenies. Many colonial American would-be migrants resented this restraint and became supporters of the American Revolution. The 1778 raids and resultant 1779 decisive Sullivan Expedition reopened the Ohio Country to westward emigration, which began almost immediately. By 1800 white settlers were pouring westwards.[26]
Later settlement
Topographical plan of the Town of Detroit and Fort Lernoult showing major streets, gardens, fortifications, military comple­xes, and public buildings (John Jacob Ulrich Rivardi, ca. 1800)The city was named by French colonists, referring to the Detroit River (French: le détroit du lac Érié, meaning the strait of Lake Erie), linking Lake Huron and Lake Erie; in the historical context, the strait included the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.[27][28]
On July 24, 1701, the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, with his lieutenant Alphonse de Tonty and along with more than a hundred other settlers, began constructing a small fort on the north bank of the Detroit River. Cadillac would later name the settlement Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit,[29] after Louis Phélypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine under Louis XIV.[30] A church was soon founded here, and the parish was known as Sainte Anne de Détroit. France offered free land to colonists to attract families to Detroit; when it reached a population of 800 in 1765, this was the largest European settlement between Montreal and New Orleans, both also French settlements, in the former colonies of New France and La Louisiane, respectively.[31]
By 1773, after the addition of Anglo-American settlers, the population of Detroit was 1,400. By 1778, its population reached 2,144 and it was the third-largest city in what was known as the Province of Quebec since the British takeover of French colonies following their victory in the Seven Years' War.[32]
The region's economy was based on the lucrative fur trade, in which numerous Native American people had important roles as trappers and traders. Today the Flag of Detroit reflects its French colonial heritage. Descendants of the earliest French and French-Canadian settlers formed a cohesive community, who gradually were superseded as the dominant population after more Anglo-American settlers arrived in the early 19th century with American westward migration. Living along the shores of Lake St. Clair and south to Monroe and downriver suburbs, the ethnic French Canadians of Detroit, also known as Muskrat French in reference to the fur trade, remain a subculture in the region in the 21st century.[33][34]
During the French and Indian War (1754–63), the North American front of the Seven Years' War between Britain and France, British troops gained control of the settlement in 1760 and shortened its name to Detroit. Several regional Native American tribes, such as the Potowatomi, Ojibwe and Huron, launched Pontiac's War in 1763, and laid siege to Fort Detroit, but failed to capture it. In defeat, France ceded its territory in North America east of the Mississippi to Britain following the war.[35]
Following the American Revolutionary War and the establishment of the United States as an independent country, Britain ceded Detroit along with other territories in the area under the Jay Treaty (1796), which established the northern border with its colony of Canada.[36] In 1805, a fire destroyed most of the Detroit settlement, which had primarily buildings made of wood. One stone fort, a river warehouse, and brick chimneys of former wooden homes were the sole structures to survive.[37] Of the 600 Detroit residents in this area, none died in the fire.[38]
19th century
From top: Woodward Avenue shopping district in 1865; The City of Detroit (from Canada Shore), 1872, by A. C. Warren; the Belle Isle Park in 1891From 1805 to 1847, Detroit was the capital of Michigan as a territory and as a state. William Hull, the United States commander at Detroit surrendered without a fight to British troops and their Native American allies during the War of 1812 in the Siege of Detroit, believing his forces were vastly outnumbered. The Battle of Frenchtown (January 18–23, 1813) was part of a U.S. effort to retake the city, and U.S. troops suffered their highest fatalities of any battle in the war. This battle is commemorated at River Raisin National Battlefield Park south of Detroit in Monroe County. Detroit was recaptured by the United States later that year.[39]
The settlement was incorporated as a city in 1815.[40] As the city expanded, a geometric street plan developed by Augustus B. Woodward was followed, featuring grand boulevards as in Paris.[41]
Prior to the American Civil War, the city's access to the Canada–US border made it a key stop for refugee slaves gaining freedom in the North along the Underground Railroad. Many went across the Detroit River to Canada to escape pursuit by slave catchers.[42][40] An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 African-American refugees settled in Canada.[43] George DeBaptiste was considered to be the "president" of the Detroit Underground Railroad, William Lambert the "vice president" or "secretary", and Laura Haviland the "superintendent".[44]
Numerous men from Detroit volunteered to fight for the Union during the American Civil War, including the 24th Michigan Infantry Regiment. It was part of the legendary Iron Brigade, which fought with distinction and suffered 82% casualties at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. When the First Volunteer Infantry Regiment arrived to fortify Washington, D.C., President Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, "Thank God for Michigan!" George Armstrong Custer led the Michigan Brigade during the Civil War and called them the "Wolverines".[45]
During the late 19th century, wealthy industry and shipping magnates commissioned the design and construction of several Gilded Age mansions east and west of the current downtown, along the major avenues of the Woodward plan. Most notable among them was the David Whitney House at 4421 Woodward Avenue, and the grand avenue became a favored address for mansions. During this period, some referred to Detroit as the "Paris of the West" for its architecture, grand avenues in the Paris style, and for Washington Boulevard, recently electrified by Thomas Edison.[40] The city had grown steadily from the 1830s with the rise of shipping, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries. Strategically located along the Great Lakes waterway, Detroit emerged as a major port and transportation hub.[citation needed]
In 1896, a thriving carriage trade prompted Henry Ford to build his first automobile in a rented workshop on Mack Avenue. During this growth period, Detroit expanded its borders by annexing all or part of several surrounding villages and townships.[46]
20th century
From top: Cadillac Square and Wayne County Building (1902); Cadillac Square (1910s); corner of Michigan Avenue and Griswold Street (circa 1920)In 1903, Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company. Ford's manufacturing—and those of automotive pioneers William C. Durant, the Dodge Brothers, Packard, and Walter Chrysler—established Detroit's status in the early 20th century as the world's automotive capital.[40] The growth of the auto industry was reflected by changes in businesses throughout the Midwest and nation, with the development of garages to service vehicles and gas stations, as well as factories for parts and tires.[citation needed]
In 1907, the Detroit River carried 67,292,504 tons of shipping commerce through Detroit to locations all over the world. For comparison, London shipped 18,727,230 tons, and New York shipped 20,390,953 tons. The river was dubbed "the Greatest Commercial Artery on Earth" by The Detroit News in 1908.
With the rapid growth of industrial workers in the auto factories, labor unions such as the American Federation of Labor and the United Auto Workers fought to organize workers to gain them better working conditions and wages. They initiated strikes and other tactics in support of improvements such as the 8-hour day/40-hour work week, increased wages, greater benefits, and improved working conditions. The labor activism during those years increased the influence of union leaders in the city such as Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters and Walter Reuther of the Autoworkers.[47]
Due to the booming auto industry, Detroit became the fourth-largest city in the nation in 1920, following New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia.[48]
The prohibition of alcohol from 1920 to 1933 resulted in the Detroit River becoming a major conduit for smuggling of illegal Canadian spirits.[15]
Detroit, like many places in the United States, developed racial conflict and discrimination in the 20th century following the rapid demographic changes as hundreds of thousands of new workers were attracted to the industrial city; in a short period, it became the fourth-largest city in the nation. The Great Migration brought rural blacks from the South; they were outnumbered by southern whites who also migrated to the city. Immigration brought southern and Eastern Europeans of Catholic and Jewish faith; these new groups competed with native-born whites for jobs and housing in the booming city.[citation needed]
Detroit was one of the major Midwest cities that was a site for the dramatic urban revival of the Ku Klux Klan beginning in 1915. "By the 1920s the city had become a stronghold of the KKK", whose members primarily opposed Catholic and Jewish immigrants, but also practiced discrimination against Black Americans.[49] Even after the decline of the KKK in the late 1920s, the Black Legion, a secret vigilante group, was active in the Detroit area in the 1930s. One-third of its estimated 20,000 to 30,000 members in Michigan were based in the city. It was defeated after numerous prosecutions following the kidnapping and murder in 1936 of Charles Poole, a Catholic organizer with the federal Works Progress Administration. Some 49 men of the Black Legion were convicted of numerous crimes, with many sentenced to life in prison for murder.[50]
In the 1940s the world's "first urban depressed freeway" ever built, the Davison,[51] was constructed in Detroit. During World War II, the government encouraged retooling of the American automobile industry in support of the Allied powers, leading to Detroit's key role in the American Arsenal of Democracy.[52]
Jobs expanded so rapidly due to the defense buildup in World War II that 400,000 people migrated to the city from 1941 to 1943, including 50,000 blacks in the second wave of the Great Migration, and 350,000 whites, many of them from the South. Whites, including ethnic Europeans, feared black competition for jobs and scarce housing. The federal government prohibited discrimination in defense work, but when in June 1943 Packard promoted three black people to work next to whites on its assembly lines, 25,000 white workers walked off the job.[53]
The Detroit race riot of 1943 took place in June, three weeks after the Packard plant protest, beginning with an altercation at Belle Isle. Blacks suffered 25 deaths (of a total of 34), three-quarters of 600 wounded, and most of the losses due to property damage. Rioters moved through the city, and young whites traveled across town to attack more settled blacks in their neighborhood of Paradise Valley.[54][55]The skyline of Detroit on June 6, 1929Postwar eraIndustrial mergers in the 1950s, especially in the automobile sector, increased oligopoly in the American auto industry. Detroit manufacturers such as Packard and Hudson merged into other companies and eventually disappeared. At its peak population of 1,849,568, in the 1950 Census, the city was the fifth-largest in the United States, after New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.[56]
From top: Aerial photo of Detroit (1932); Detroit at its population peak in the mid-20th century. Looking south down Woodward Avenue from the Maccabees Building with the city's skyline in the distance.In this postwar era, the auto industry continued to create opportunities for many African Americans from the South, who continued with their Great Migration to Detroit and other northern and western cities to escape the strict Jim Crow laws and racial discrimination policies of the South. Postwar Detroit was a prosperous industrial center of mass production. The auto industry comprised about 60% of all industry in the city, allowing space for a plethora of separate booming businesses including stove making, brewing, furniture building, oil refineries, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and more. The expansion of jobs created unique opportunities for black Americans, who saw novel high employment rates: there was a 103% increase in the number of blacks employed in postwar Detroit. Black Americans who immigrated to northern industrial cities from the south still faced intense racial discrimination in the employment sector. Racial discrimination kept the workforce and better jobs predominantly white, while many black Detroiters held lower-paying factory jobs. Despite changes in demographics as the city's black population expanded, Detroit's police force, fire department, and other city jobs continued to be held by predominantly white residents. This created an unbalanced racial power dynamic.[57]
Unequal opportunities in employment resulted in unequal housing opportunities for the majority of the black community: with overall lower incomes and facing the backlash of discriminatory housing policies, the black community was limited to lower cost, lower quality housing in the city. The surge in Detroit's black population with the Great Migration augmented the strain on housing scarcity. The liveable areas available to the black community were limited, and as a result, families often crowded together in unsanitary, unsafe, and illegal quarters. Such discrimination became increasingly evident in the policies of redlining implemented by banks and federal housing groups, which almost completely restricted the ability of blacks to improve their housing and encouraged white people to guard the racial divide that defined their neighborhoods. As a result, black people were often denied bank loans to obtain better housing, and interest rates and rents were unfairly inflated to prevent their moving into white neighborhoods. White residents and political leaders largely opposed the influx of black Detroiters to white neighborhoods, believing that their presence would lead to neighborhood deterioration (most predominantly black neighborhoods deteriorated due to local and federal governmental neglect). This perpetuated a cyclical exclusionary process that marginalized the agency of black Detroiters by trapping them in the unhealthiest, least safe areas of the city.[57]
As in other major American cities in the postwar era, construction of a federally subsidized, extensive highway and freeway system around Detroit, and pent-up demand for new housing stimulated suburbanization; highways made commuting by car for higher-income residents easier. However, this construction had negative implications for many lower-income urban residents. Highways were constructed through and completely demolished neighborhoods of poor residents and black communities who had less political power to oppose them. The neighborhoods were mostly low income, considered blighted, or made up of older housing where investment had been lacking due to racial redlining, so the highways were presented as a kind of urban renewal. These neighborhoods (such as Black Bottom and Paradise Valley) were extremely important to the black communities of Detroit, providing spaces for independent black businesses and social/cultural organizations. Their destruction displaced residents with little consideration of the effects of breaking up functioning neighborhoods and businesses.[57]
In 1956, Detroit's last heavily used electric streetcar line, which traveled along the length of Woodward Avenue, was removed and replaced with gas-powered buses. It was the last line of what had once been a 534-mile network of electric streetcars. In 1941, at peak times, a streetcar ran on Woodward Avenue every 60 seconds.[58][59]
All of these changes in the area's transportation system favored low-density, auto-oriented development rather than high-density urban development. Industry also moved to the suburbs, seeking large plots of land for single-story factories. By the 21st century, the metro Detroit area had developed as one of the most sprawling job markets in the United States; combined with poor public transport, this resulted in many new jobs being beyond the reach of urban low-income workers.[60]An electric PCC streetcar in Detroit, 1953In 1950, the city held about one-third of the state's population, anchored by its industries and workers. Over the next sixty years, the city's population declined to less than 10 percent of the state's population. During the same time period, the sprawling Detroit metropolitan area, which surrounds and includes the city, grew to contain more than half of Michigan's population.[40] The shift of population and jobs eroded Detroit's tax base.[citation needed]
I have a dream this afternoon that my four little children, that my four little children will not come up in the same young days that I came up within, but they will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not the color of their skin ... I have a dream this evening that one day we will recognize the words of Jefferson that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." I have a dream ...
—Martin Luther King Jr. (June 1963 Speech at the Great March on Detroit)[61]In June 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a major speech as part of a civil rights march in Detroit that foreshadowed his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., two months later. While the civil rights movement gained significant federal civil rights laws in 1964 and 1965, longstanding inequities resulted in confrontations between the police and inner-city black youth who wanted change.[62]
Longstanding tensions in Detroit culminated in the Twelfth Street riot in July 1967. Governor George W. Romney ordered the Michigan National Guard into Detroit, and President Johnson sent in U.S. Army troops. The result was 43 dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed, mostly in black residential and business areas. Thousands of small businesses closed permanently or relocated to safer neighborhoods. The affected district lay in ruins for decades.[63] It was the most costly riot in the United States.[citation needed]
On August 18, 1970, the NAACP filed suit against Michigan state officials, including Governor William Milliken, charging de facto public school segregation. The NAACP argued that although schools were not legally segregated, the city of Detroit and its surrounding counties had enacted policies to maintain racial segregation in public schools. The NAACP also suggested a direct relationship between unfair housing practices and educational segregation, as the composition of students in the schools followed segregated neighborhoods.[64] The District Court held all levels of government accountable for the segregation in its ruling. The Sixth Circuit Court affirmed some of the decision, holding that it was the state's responsibility to integrate across the segregated metropolitan area.[65] The U.S. Supreme Court took up the case February 27, 1974.[64] The subsequent Milliken v. Bradley decision had nationwide influence. In a narrow decision, the US Supreme Court found schools were a subject of local control, and suburbs could not be forced to aid with the desegregation of the city's school district.[66]
"Milliken was perhaps the greatest missed opportunity of that period", said Myron Orfield, professor of law at the University of Minnesota. "Had that gone the other way, it would have opened the door to fixing nearly all of Detroit's current problems."[67] John Mogk, a professor of law and an expert in urban planning at Wayne State University in Detroit, says,
Everybody thinks that it was the riots [in 1967] that caused the white families to leave. Some people were leaving at that time but, really, it was after Milliken that you saw mass flight to the suburbs. If the case had gone the other way, it is likely that Detroit would not have experienced the steep decline in its tax base that has occurred since then.[67]
1970s and declineMain articles: Decline of Detroit and Detroit bankruptcyFirst Williams Block in 1915 (left) and 1989 (right).
The former Packard Automotive Plant, closed since 1958In November 1973, the city elected Coleman Young as its first black mayor. After taking office, Young emphasized increasing racial diversity in the police department, which was predominately white.[68] Young also worked to improve Detroit's transportation system, but the tension between Young and his suburban counterparts over regional matters was problematic throughout his mayoral term. In 1976, the federal government offered $600 million for building a regional rapid transit system, under a single regional authority.[69] But the inability of Detroit and its suburban neighbors to solve conflicts over transit planning resulted in the region losing the majority of funding for rapid transit.[citation needed]
Following the failure to reach a regional agreement over the larger system, the city moved forward with construction of the elevated downtown circulator portion of the system, which became known as the Detroit People Mover.[70]
The gasoline crises of 1973 and 1979 also affected Detroit and the U.S. auto industry. Buyers chose smaller, more fuel-efficient cars made by foreign makers as the price of gas rose. Efforts to revive the city were stymied by the struggles of the auto industry, as their sales and market share declined. Automakers laid off thousands of employees and closed plants in the city, further eroding the tax base. To counteract this, the city used eminent domain to build two large new auto assembly plants in the city.[71]
As mayor, Young sought to revive the city by seeking to increase investment in the city's declining downtown. The Renaissance Center, a mixed-use office and retail complex, opened in 1977. This group of skyscrapers was an attempt to keep businesses in downtown.[40][72][73] Young also gave city support to other large developments to attract middle and upper-class residents back to the city. Despite the Renaissance Center and other projects, the downtown area continued to lose businesses to the automobile-dependent suburbs. Major stores and hotels closed, and many large office buildings went vacant. Young was criticized for being too focused on downtown development and not doing enough to lower the city's high crime rate and improve city services to residents.[citation needed]
High unemployment was compounded by middle-class flight to the suburbs, and some residents leaving the state to find work. The result for the city was a higher proportion of poor in its population, reduced tax base, depressed property values, abandoned buildings, abandoned neighborhoods, high crime rates, and a pronounced demographic imbalance.[citation needed]
1980sOn August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed near Detroit, killing all but one of the 155 people on board, as well as two people on the ground.[74]
1990s & 2000sIn 1993, Young retired as Detroit's longest-serving mayor, deciding not to seek a sixth term. That year the city elected Dennis Archer, a former Michigan Supreme Court justice. Archer prioritized downtown development and easing tensions with Detroit's suburban neighbors. A referendum to allow casino gambling in the city passed in 1996; several temporary casino facilities opened in 1999, and permanent downtown casinos with hotels opened in 2007–08.[75]
Campus Martius, a reconfiguration of downtown's main intersection as a new park, was opened in 2004. The park has been cited as one of the best public spaces in the United States.[76][77][78] The city's riverfront on the Detroit River has been the focus of redevelopment, following successful examples of other older industrial cities. In 2001, the first portion of the International Riverfront was completed as a part of the city's 300th-anniversary celebration.
2010sSee also: Planning and development in DetroitIn September 2008, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (who had served for six years) resigned following felony convictions. In 2013, Kilpatrick was convicted on 24 federal felony counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering,[79] and was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison.[80] The former mayor's activities cost the city an estimated $20 million.[81]
The city's financial crisis resulted in Michigan taking over administrative control of its government.[82] The state governor declared a financial emergency in March 2013, appointing Kevyn Orr as emergency manager. On July 18, 2013, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy.[83] It was declared bankrupt by U.S. District Court on December 3, 2013, in light of the city's $18.5 billion debt and its inability to fully repay its thousands of creditors.[84] On November 7, 2014, the city's plan for exiting bankruptcy was approved. The following month, on December 11, the city officially exited bankruptcy. The plan allowed the city to eliminate $7 billion in debt and invest $1.7 billion into improved city services.[85]
One way the city obtained this money was through the Detroit Institute of Arts. Holding over 60,000 pieces of art worth billions of dollars, some saw it as the key to funding this investment. The city came up with a plan to monetize the art and sell it leading to the DIA becoming a private organization. After months of legal battles, the city finally got hundreds of millions of dollars towards funding a new Detroit.[86]
One of the largest post-bankruptcy efforts to improve city services has been to work to fix the city's broken street lighting system. At one time it was estimated that 40% of lights were not working, which resulted in public safety issues and abandonment of housing. The plan called for replacing outdated high-pressure sodium lights with 65,000 LED lights. Construction began in late 2014 and finished in December 2016; Detroit is the largest U.S. city with all LED street lighting.[87]Construction progress at Hudson's Site in 2021.In the 2010s, several initiatives were taken by Detroit's citizens and new residents to improve the cityscape by renovating and revitalizing neighborhoods. Such projects include volunteer renovation groups[88] and various urban gardening movements.[89] Miles of associated parks and landscaping have been completed in recent years. In 2011, the Port Authority Passenger Terminal opened, with the riverwalk connecting Hart Plaza to the Renaissance Center.[73]
One symbol of the city's decades-long demise, the Michigan Central Station, was long vacant. The city renovated it with new windows, elevators and facilities since 2015.[90] In 2018, Ford Motor Company purchased the building and plans to use it for mobility testing with a potential return of train service.[91] Several other landmark buildings have been privately renovated and adapted as condominiums, hotels, offices, or for cultural uses. Detroit is mentioned as a city of renaissance and has reversed many of the trends of the prior decades.[citation needed][92][93]
The city has also seen a rise in gentrification.[citation needed] In downtown, for example, the construction of Little Caesars Arena brought with it new, high class shops and restaurants up and down Woodward Ave. Office tower and condominium construction has led to an influx of wealthy families, but also a displacement of long-time residents and culture.[94][95]
Areas outside of downtown and other recently revived areas have an average household income of about 25% less than the gentrified areas, a gap that is continuing to grow.[96] Rents and cost of living in these gentrified areas rise every year,[citation needed] pushing minorities and the poor out, causing more and more racial disparity and separation in the city. The cost of even just a one-bedroom loft in Rivertown can be up to $300,000, with a 5-year sale price change of over 500% and an average income rising by 18%.[97]
Geography
A Satellite image from Sentinel-2 taken in September 2021 of Detroit and its surrounding metropolitan area with Windsor across the river.Metropolitan areaDetroit is the center of a three-county urban area (with a population of 3,734,090 within an area of 1,337 square miles (3,460 km2) according to the 2010 United States Census), six-county metropolitan statistical area (population of 4,296,250 in an area of 3,913 square miles [10,130 km2] as of the 2010 census), and a nine-county Combined Statistical Area (population of 5.3 million within 5,814 square miles [15,060 km2] as of to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 142.87 square miles (370.03 km2), of which 138.75 square miles (359.36 km2) is land and 4.12 square miles (10.67 km2) is water.[101] Detroit is the principal city in Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan. It is situated in the Midwestern United States and the Great Lakes region.[102]
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is the only international wildlife preserve in North America, and is uniquely located in the heart of a major metropolitan area. The Refuge includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals, and waterfront lands along 48 miles (77 km) of the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie shoreline.[103]
The city slopes gently from the northwest to southeast on a till plain composed largely of glacial and lake clay. The most notable topographical feature in the city is the Detroit Moraine, a broad clay ridge on which the older portions of Detroit and Windsor are located, rising approximately 62 feet (19 m) above the river at its highest point.[104] The highest elevation in the city is directly north of Gorham Playground on the northwest side approximately three blocks south of 8 Mile Road, at a height of 675 to 680 feet (206 to 207 m).[105] Detroit's lowest elevation is along the Detroit River, at a surface height of 572 feet (174 m).[106]
Belle Isle Park is a 982-acre (1.534 sq mi; 397 ha) island park in the Detroit River, between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. It is connected to the mainland by the MacArthur Bridge in Detroit. Belle Isle Park contains such attractions as the James Scott Memorial Fountain, the Belle Isle Conservatory, the Detroit Yacht Club on an adjacent island, a half-mile (800 m) beach, a golf course, a nature center, monuments, and gardens. The city skyline may be viewed from the island.[citation needed]
Three road systems cross the city: the original French template, with avenues radiating from the waterfront, and true north–south roads based on the Northwest Ordinance township system. The city is north of Windsor, Ontario. Detroit is the only major city along the Canada–U.S. border in which one travels south in order to cross into Canada.[citation needed]
Detroit has four border crossings: the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit–Windsor Tunnel provide motor vehicle thoroughfares, with the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel providing railroad access to and from Canada. The fourth border crossing is the Detroit–Windsor Truck Ferry, near the Windsor Salt Mine and Zug Island. Near Zug Island, the southwest part of the city was developed over a 1,500-acre (610 ha) salt mine that is 1,100 feet (340 m) below the surface. The Detroit salt mine run by the Detroit Salt Company has over 100 miles (160 km) of roads within.[107][108]
ClimateDetroit, MichiganClimate chart (explanation)JFMAMJJASOND 2 3219 2 3521 2.3 4629 2.9 5939 3.4 7049 3.5 7960 3.4 8364 3 8163 3.3 7455 2.5 6243 2.8 4934 2.5 3624Average max. and min. temperatures in °FPrecipitation totals in inchesMetric conversionDetroit and the rest of southEastern Michigan have a hot-summer humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfa) which is influenced by the Great Lakes like other places in the state;[109][110][111] the city and close-in suburbs are part of USDA Hardiness zone 6b, while the more distant northern and western suburbs generally are included in zone 6a.[112] Winters are cold, with moderate snowfall and temperatures not rising above freezing on an average 44 days annually, while dropping to or below 0 °F (−18 °C) on an average 4.4 days a year; summers are warm to hot with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) on 12 days.[113] The warm season runs from May to September. The monthly daily mean temperature ranges from 25.6 °F (−3.6 °C) in January to 73.6 °F (23.1 °C) in July. Official temperature extremes range from 105 °F (41 °C) on July 24, 1934, down to −21 °F (−29 °C) on January 21, 1984; the record low maximum is −4 °F (−20 °C) on January 19, 1994, while, conversely the record high minimum is 80 °F (27 °C) on August 1, 2006, the most recent of five occurrences.[113] A decade or two may pass between readings of 100 °F (38 °C) or higher, which last occurred July 17, 2012. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 20 thru April 22, allowing a growing season of 180 days.[113]
Precipitation is moderate and somewhat evenly distributed throughout the year, although the warmer months such as May and June average more, averaging 33.5 inches (850 mm) annually, but historically ranging from 20.49 in (520 mm) in 1963 to 47.70 in (1,212 mm) in 2011.[113] Snowfall, which typically falls in measurable amounts between November 15 through April 4 (occasionally in October and very rarely in May),[113] averages 42.5 inches (108 cm) per season, although historically ranging from 11.5 in (29 cm) in 1881–82 to 94.9 in (241 cm) in 2013–14.[113] A thick snowpack is not often seen, with an average of only 27.5 days with 3 in (7.6 cm) or more of snow cover.[113] Thunderstorms are frequent in the Detroit area. These usually occur during spring and summer.[114]
Climate data for Detroit (DTW), 1991–2020 normals,[a] extremes 1874–present[b]See or edit raw graph data.
Climate data for DetroitCityscapeSee also: List of tallest buildings in DetroitArchitectureMain article: Architecture of metropolitan Detroit
Ally Detroit Center and the Michigan Labor Legacy Monument
The Detroit Financial District viewed from across the Detroit RiverSeen in panorama, Detroit's waterfront shows a variety of architectural styles. The post modern Neo-Gothic spires of the One Detroit Center (1993) were designed to refer to the city's Art Deco skyscrapers. Together with the Renaissance Center, these buildings form a distinctive and recognizable skyline. Examples of the Art Deco style include the Guardian Building and Penobscot Building downtown, as well as the Fisher Building and Cadillac Place in the New Center area near Wayne State University. Among the city's prominent structures are United States' largest Fox Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, all built in the early 20th century.[118][119]
While the Downtown and New Center areas contain high-rise buildings, the majority of the surrounding city consists of low-rise structures and single-family homes. Outside of the city's core, residential high-rises are found in upper-class neighborhoods such as the East Riverfront, extending toward Grosse Pointe, and the Palmer Park neighborhood just west of Woodward. The University Commons-Palmer Park district in northwest Detroit, near the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College, anchors historic neighborhoods including Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, and the University District.[citation needed]
Forty-two significant structures or sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Neighborhoods constructed prior to World War II feature the architecture of the times, with wood-frame and brick houses in the working-class neighborhoods, larger brick homes in middle-class neighborhoods, and ornate mansions in upper-class neighborhoods such as Brush Park, Woodbridge, Indian Village, Palmer Woods, Boston-Edison, and others.[citation needed]
Some of the oldest neighborhoods are along the major Woodward and East Jefferson corridors, which formed spines of the city. Some newer residential construction may also be found along the Woodward corridor and in the far west and northeast. The oldest extant neighborhoods include West Canfield and Brush Park. There have been multi-million dollar restorations of existing homes and construction of new homes and condominiums here.[72][120]
The city has one of the United States' largest surviving collections of late 19th- and early 20th-century buildings.[119] Architecturally significant churches and cathedrals in the city include St. Joseph's, Old St. Mary's, the Sweetest Heart of Mary, and the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.[118]
The city has substantial activity in urban design, historic preservation, and architecture.[121] A number of downtown redevelopment projects—of which Campus Martius Park is one of the most notable—have revitalized parts of the city. Grand Circus Park and historic district is near the city's theater district; Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, and Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.[118] Little Caesars Arena, a new home for the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons, with attached residential, hotel, and retail use, opened on September 5, 2017.[122] The plans for the project call for mixed-use residential on the blocks surrounding the arena and the renovation of the vacant 14-story Eddystone Hotel. It will be a part of The District Detroit, a group of places owned by Olympia Entertainment Inc., including Comerica Park and the Detroit Opera House, among others.[citation needed]
The Detroit International Riverfront includes a partially completed three-and-one-half-mile riverfront promenade with a combination of parks, residential buildings, and commercial areas. It extends from Hart Plaza to the MacArthur Bridge, which connects to Belle Isle Park, the largest island park in a U.S. city. The riverfront includes Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor, Michigan's first urban state park. The second phase is a two-mile (3.2-kilometer) extension from Hart Plaza to the Ambassador Bridge for a total of five miles (8.0 kilometres) of parkway from bridge to bridge. Civic planners envision the pedestrian parks will stimulate residential redevelopment of riverfront properties condemned under eminent domain.[citation needed]
Other major parks include River Rouge (in the southwest side), the largest park in Detroit; Palmer (north of Highland Park) and Chene Park (on the east river downtown).[123]
NeighborhoodsFurther information: Neighborhoods in Detroit
The Cass Park Historic District in Midtown
The Midtown Woodward Historic District
New CenterDetroit has a variety of neighborhood types. The revitalized Downtown, Midtown, Corktown, New Center areas feature many historic buildings and are high density, while further out, particularly in the northeast and on the fringes,[124] high vacancy levels are problematic, for which a number of solutions have been proposed. In 2007, Downtown Detroit was recognized as the best city neighborhood in which to retire among the United States' largest metro areas by CNNMoney editors.[125]
Lafayette Park is a revitalized neighborhood on the city's east side, part of the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe residential district.[126] The 78-acre (32 ha) development was originally called the Gratiot Park. Planned by Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Hilberseimer and Alfred Caldwell it includes a landscaped, 19-acre (7.7 ha) park with no through traffic, in which these and other low-rise apartment buildings are situated.[126] Immigrants have contributed to the city's neighborhood revitalization, especially in southwest Detroit.[127] Southwest Detroit has experienced a thriving economy in recent years, as evidenced by new housing, increased business openings and the recently opened Mexicantown International Welcome Center.[128]
The city has numerous neighborhoods consisting of vacant properties resulting in low inhabited density in those areas, stretching city services and infrastructure. These neighborhoods are concentrated in the northeast and on the city's fringes.[124] A 2009 parcel survey found about a quarter of residential lots in the city to be undeveloped or vacant, and about 10% of the city's housing to be unoccupied.[124][129][130] The survey also reported that most (86%) of the city's homes are in good condition with a minority (9%) in fair condition needing only minor repairs.[129][130][131][132]
To deal with vacancy issues, the city has begun demolishing the derelict houses, razing 3,000 of the total 10,000 in 2010,[133] but the resulting low density creates a strain on the city's infrastructure. To remedy this, a number of solutions have been proposed including resident relocation from more sparsely populated neighborhoods and converting unused space to urban agricultural use, including Hantz Woodlands, though the city expects to be in the planning stages for up to another two years.[134][135]
Public funding and private investment have also been made with promises to rehabilitate neighborhoods. In April 2008, the city announced a $300-million stimulus plan to create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods, financed by city bonds and paid for by earmarking about 15% of the wagering tax.[134] The city's working plans for neighborhood revitalizations include 7-Mile/Livernois, Brightmoor, East English Village, Grand River/Greenfield, North End, and Osborn.[134] Private organizations have pledged substantial funding to the efforts.[136][137] Additionally, the city has cleared a 1,200-acre (490 ha) section of land for large-scale neighborhood construction, which the city is calling the Far Eastside Plan.[138] In 2011, Mayor Dave Bing announced a plan to categorize neighborhoods by their needs and prioritize the most needed services for those neighborhoods.[139]
DemographicsSee also: Demographic history of Detroit and Demographics of Metro DetroitHistorical populationCensus Pop. %±1820 1,422 —1830 2,222 56.3%1840 9,102 309.6%1850 21,019 130.9%1860 45,619 117.0%1870 79,577 74.4%1880 116,340 46.2%1890 205,876 77.0%1900 285,704 38.8%1910 465,766 63.0%1920 993,678 113.3%1930 1,568,662 57.9%1940 1,623,452 3.5%1950 1,849,568 13.9%1960 1,670,144 −9.7%1970 1,514,063 −9.3%1980 1,203,368 −20.5%1990 1,027,974 −14.6%2000 951,270 −7.5%2010 713,777 −25.0%2020 639,111 −10.5%2021 (est.) 632,464 [4] −1.0%U.S. Decennial Census[140]2010–2020[6]Historical census population of DetroitIn the 2020 census, the city had 639,111 residents, ranking it the 27th most populous city in the United States.[141][142]
2020 censusDetroit city, Michigan - Demographic Profile(NH = Non-Hispanic)Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[143] Pop 2020[144] % 2010 % 2020White alone (NH) 55,604 60,770 7.79% 9.51%Black or African American alone (NH) 586,573 493,212 82.18% 77.17%Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 1,927 1,399 0.27% 0.22%Asian alone (NH) 7,436 10,085 1.04% 1.58%Pacific Islander alone (NH) 82 111 0.01% 0.02%Some Other Race alone (NH) 994 3,066 0.14% 0.48%Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 12,482 19,199 1.75% 3.00%Hispanic or Latino (any race) 48,679 51,269 6.82% 8.02%Total 713,777 639,111 100.00% 100.00%Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.
Of the large shrinking cities in the United States, Detroit has had the most dramatic decline in the population of the past 70 years (down 1,210,457) and the second-largest percentage decline (down 65.4%). While the drop in Detroit's population has been ongoing since 1950, the most dramatic period was the significant 25% decline between the 2000 and 2010 Census.[142]
Previously a major population center and site of worldwide automobile manufacturing, Detroit has suffered a long economic decline produced by numerous factors.[145][146][147] Like many industrial American cities, Detroit's peak population was in 1950, before postwar suburbanization took effect. The peak population was 1.8 million people.[142]
Following suburbanization, industrial restructuring, and loss of jobs (as described above), by the 2010 census, the city had less than 40 percent of that number, with just over 700,000 residents. The city has declined in population in each census since 1950.[142][148] The population collapse has resulted in large numbers of abandoned homes and commercial buildings, and areas of the city hit hard by urban 639,111 residents represent 269,445 households, and 162,924 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,144.3 people per square mile (1,895/km2). There were 349,170 housing units at an average density of 2,516.5 units per square mile (971.6/km2). Housing density has declined. The city has demolished thousands of Detroit's abandoned houses, planting some areas and in others allowing the growth of urban prairie.
Of the 269,445 households, 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 21.5% were married couples living together, 31.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 39.5% were non-families, 34.0% were made up of individuals, and 3.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59, and the average family size was 3.36.
There was a wide distribution of age in the city, with 31.1% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.
ReligionAccording to a 2014 study, 67% of the population of the city identified themselves as Christians, with 49% professing attendance at Protestant churches, and 16% professing Roman Catholic beliefs,[154][155] while 24% claim no religious affiliation. Other religions collectively make up about 8% of the population.
Income and employmentThe loss of industrial and working-class jobs in the city has resulted in high rates of poverty and associated problems.[156] From 2000 to 2009, the city's estimated median household income fell from $29,526 to $26,098.[157] As of 2010 the mean income of Detroit is below the overall U.S. average by several thousand dollars. Of every three Detroit residents, one lives in poverty. Luke Bergmann, author of Getting Ghost: Two Young Lives and the Struggle for the Soul of an American City, said in 2010, "Detroit is now one of the poorest big cities in the country".[158]
In the 2018 American Community Survey, median household income in the city was $31,283, compared with the median for Michigan of $56,697.[159] The median income for a family was $36,842, well below the state median of $72,036.[160] 33.4% of families had income at or below the federally defined poverty level. Out of the total population, 47.3% of those under the age of 18 and 21.0% of those 65 and older had income at or below the federally defined poverty line.[161]
Oakland County in Metro Detroit, once rated amongst the wealthiest US counties per household, is no longer shown in the top 25 listing of Forbes magazine. But internal county statistical methods—based on measuring per capita income for counties with more than one million residents—show Oakland is still within the top 12[citation needed], slipping from the fourth-most affluent such county in the U.S. in 2004 to 11th-most affluent in 2009.[162][163][164] Detroit dominates Wayne County, which has an average household income of about $38,000, compared to Oakland County's $62,000.[165][166]
Median income in Detroit (as of July 1, 2019)[167]Area Numberof house-holds MedianHouse-holdIncome PerCapitaIncome Percent-age inpovertyDetroit City 263,688 $30,894 (Increase) $18,621 (Increase) 35.0% (Positive decrease)Wayne County, MI 682,282 $47,301 $27,282 19.8%United States 120,756,048 $62,843 $34,103 11.4%Race and ethnicitySee also: Ethnic groups in Metro DetroitHistorical Racial Composition of the City of DetroitSelf-identified race 2020[168] 2010[169] 1990[170] 1970[170] 1950[170] 1940[170] 1930[170] 1920[170] 1910[170]White 14.7% 10.6% 21.6% 55.5% 83.6% 90.7% 92.2% 95.8% 98.7%—Non-Hispanic 10.5% 7.8% 20.7% 54.0%[171] — 90.4% — — —Black or African American 77.7% 82.7% 75.7% 43.7% 16.2% 9.2% 7.7% 4.1% 1.2%Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 8.0% 6.8% 2.8% 1.8%[171] — 0.3% — — —Asian 1.6% 1.1% 0.8% 0.3% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% —
Map of racial distribution in Detroit, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: ⬤ White ⬤ Black ⬤ Asian ⬤ Hispanic ⬤ OtherBeginning with the rise of the automobile industry, Detroit's population increased more than sixfold during the first half of the 20th century as an influx of European, Middle Eastern (Lebanese, Assyrian/Chaldean), and Southern migrants brought their families to the city.[172] With this economic boom following World War I, the African American population grew from a mere 6,000 in 1910[173] to more than 120,000 by 1930.[174] This influx of thousands of African Americans in the 20th century became known as the Great Migration.[175] Perhaps one of the most overt examples of neighborhood discrimination occurred in 1925 when African American physician Ossian Sweet found his home surrounded by an angry mob of his hostile white neighbors violently protesting his new move into a traditionally white neighborhood. Sweet and ten of his family members and friends were put on trial for murder as one of the mob members throwing rocks at the newly purchased house was shot and killed by someone firing out of a second-floor window.[176] Many middle-class families experienced the same kind of hostility as they sought the security of homeownership and the potential for upward mobility.[citation needed]
Detroit has a relatively large Mexican-American population. In the early 20th century, thousands of Mexicans came to Detroit to work in agricultural, automotive, and steel jobs. During the Mexican Repatriation of the 1930s many Mexicans in Detroit were willingly repatriated or forced to repatriate. By the 1940s much of the Mexican community began to settle what is now Mexicantown.[177]Greektown Historic District in DetroitAfter World War II, many people from Appalachia also settled in Detroit. Appalachians formed communities and their children acquired southern accents.[178] Many Lithuanians also settled in Detroit during the World War II era, especially on the city's Southwest side in the West Vernor area,[179] where the renovated Lithuanian Hall reopened in 2006.[180][181]
By 1940, 80% of Detroit deeds contained restrictive covenants prohibiting African Americans from buying houses they could afford. These discriminatory tactics were successful as a majority of black people in Detroit resorted to living in all-black neighborhoods such as Black Bottom and Paradise Valley. At this time, white people still made up about 90.4% of the city's population.[170] From the 1940s to the 1970s a second wave of black people moved to Detroit in search of employment and with the desire to escape the Jim Crow laws enforcing segregation in the south.[182] However, they soon found themselves once again excluded from many opportunities in Detroit—through violence and policy perpetuating economic discrimination (e.g., redlining).[183] White residents attacked black homes: breaking windows, starting fires, and detonating bombs.[184][183] An especially grueling result of this increasing competition between black and white people was the Riot of 1943 that had violent ramifications.[185] This era of intolerance made it almost impossible for African Americans to be successful without access to proper housing or the economic stability to maintain their homes and the conditions of many neighborhoods began to decline. In 1948, the landmark Supreme Court case of Shelley v. Kraemer outlawed restrictive covenants and while racism in housing did not disappear, it allowed affluent black families to begin moving to traditionally white neighborhoods. Many white families with the financial ability moved to the suburbs of Detroit taking their jobs and tax dollars with them. By 1950, much of the city's white population had moved to the suburbs as macrostructural processes such as "white flight" and "suburbanization" led to a complete population shift.[citation needed]
The Detroit riot of 1967 is considered to be one of the greatest racial turning points in the history of the city. The ramifications of the uprising were widespread as there were many allegations of white police brutality towards Black Americans and over $36 million of insured property was lost. Discrimination and deindustrialization in tandem with racial tensions that had been intensifying in the previous years boiled over and led to an event considered to be the most damaging in Detroit's history.[186]
The population of Latinos significantly increased in the 1990s due to immigration from Jalisco. By 2010 Detroit had 48,679 Hispanics, including 36,452 Mexicans: a 70% increase from 1990.[187] While African Americans previously[when?] comprised only 13% of Michigan's population, by 2010 they made up nearly 82% of Detroit's population. The next largest population groups were white people, at 10%, and Hispanics, at 6%.[188] In 2001, 103,000 Jews, or about 1.9% of the population, were living in the Detroit area, in both Detroit and Ann Arbor.[189]
According to the 2010 census, segregation in Detroit has decreased in absolute and relative terms and in the first decade of the 21st century, about two-thirds of the total black population in the metropolitan area resided within the city limits of Detroit.[190][191] The number of integrated neighborhoods increased from 100 in 2000 to 204 in 2010. Detroit also moved down the ranking from number one most segregated city to number four.[192] A 2011 op-ed in The New York Times attributed the decreased segregation rating to the overall exodus from the city, cautioning that these areas may soon become more segregated. This pattern already happened in the 1970s, when apparent integration was a precursor to white flight and resegregation.[184] Over a 60-year period, white flight occurred in the city. According to an estimate of the Michigan Metropolitan Information Center, from 2008 to 2009 the percentage of non-Hispanic White residents increased from 8.4% to 13.3%. As the city has become more gentrified, some empty nesters and many young white people have moved into the city, increasing housing values and once again forcing African Americans to move.[193] Gentrification in Detroit has become a rather controversial issue as reinvestment will hopefully lead to economic growth and an increase in population; however, it has already forced many black families to relocate to the suburbs[citation needed]. Despite revitalization efforts, Detroit remains one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States.[184][194] One of the implications of racial segregation, which correlates with class segregation, may correlate to overall worse health for some populations.[194][195]
Asians and Asian Americans
Chaldean Town, a historically Chaldean neighborhood in Detroit.As of 2002, of all of the municipalities in the Wayne County-Oakland County-Macomb County area, Detroit had the second-largest Asian population. As of that year, Detroit's percentage of Asians was 1%, far lower than the 13.3% of Troy.[196] By 2000 Troy had the largest Asian American population in the tri-county area, surpassing Detroit.[197]
There are four areas in Detroit with significant Asian and Asian American populations. Northeast Detroit has population of Hmong with a smaller group of Lao people. A portion of Detroit next to Eastern Hamtramck includes Bangladeshi Americans, Indian Americans, and Pakistani Americans; nearly all of the Bangladeshi population in Detroit lives in that area. Many of those residents own small businesses or work in blue-collar jobs, and the population is mostly Muslim. The area north of Downtown Detroit, including the region around the Henry Ford Hospital, the Detroit Medical Center, and Wayne State University, has transient Asian national origin residents who are university students or hospital workers. Few of them have permanent residency after schooling ends. They are mostly Chinese and Indian but the population also includes Filipinos, Koreans, and Pakistanis. In Southwest Detroit and western Detroit there are smaller, scattered Asian communities including an area in the westside adjacent to Dearborn and Redford Township that has a mostly Indian Asian population, and a community of Vietnamese and Laotians in Southwest Detroit.[196]
As of 2006, the city has one of the U.S.'s largest concentrations of Hmong Americans.[198] In 2006, the city had about 4,000 Hmong and other Asian immigrant families. Most Hmong live east of Coleman Young Airport near Osborn High School. Hmong immigrant families generally have lower incomes than those of suburban Asian families.[199]
Detroit demographicsSelf-identified race (2020)[168] Detroit City Wayne County, MITotal population 639,111 1,793,561Population, percent change, 2010 to 2020 -10.5% -1.5%Population density 4,606.87/sq mi (1,778.72/km2) 2,665/sq mi (1,029/km2)White alone, percent 14.7% Increase 49.2% Decrease(White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent) 10% Increase 47.8% DecreaseBlack or African-American alone, percent 77.7% Decrease 37.6% DecreaseHispanic or Latino (of any race) 7.7% Increase 6.6% IncreaseAmerican Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent 0.5% Increase 0.4% IncreasePacific Islander or Native Hawaiian alone, percent 0.0% 0.0%Asian alone, percent 1.6% Increase 3.6% IncreaseTwo or more races, percent 4.9% Increase 6.2% IncreaseSome Other Race, percent 4.6%Increase 3.0%IncreaseCrimeFurther information: Crime in Detroit and Detroit Police DepartmentDetroitCrime rates* (2019)Violent crimesHomicide 41.4 Positive decreaseRape 143.4 Negative increaseRobbery 353.3 Positive decreaseAggravated assault 1,425.8 Negative increaseTotal violent crime 1,965.3Property crimesBurglary 1,027.1 Positive decreaseLarceny-theft 2,235.5 Negative increaseMotor vehicle theft 1,037.0 Negative increaseTotal property crime 4,299.7Notes*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
Source: FBI 2019 UCR dataDetroit has gained notoriety for its high amount of crime, having struggled with it for decades. The number of homicides peaked in 1974 at 714 and again in 1991 with 615. The murder rate for the city has gone up and down throughout the years averaging over 400 murders with a population of over 1,000,000 residents. The crime rate, however, has been above the national average since the 1970s.[200][201] Crime has since decreased and, in 2014, the murder rate was 43.4 per 100,000, lower than in St. Louis.[202]
The city's downtown typically has lower crime than national and state averages.[203] According to a 2007 analysis, Detroit officials note about 65 to 70 percent of homicides in the city were drug related,[204] with the rate of unsolved murders roughly 70%.[156]
Although the rate of violent crime dropped 11% in 2008,[205] violent crime in Detroit has not declined as much as the national average from 2007 to 2011.[206] The violent crime rate is one of the highest in the United States. Neighborhoodscout.com reported a crime rate of 62.18 per 1,000 residents for property crimes, and 16.73 per 1,000 for violent crimes (compared to national figures of 32 per 1,000 for property crimes and 5 per 1,000 for violent crime in 2008).[207]
In 2012, crime in the city was among the reasons for more expensive car insurance.[208]
About half of all murders in Michigan in 2015 occurred in Detroit.[209][210] Annual statistics released by the Detroit Police Department for 2016 indicate that while the city's overall crime rate declined that year, the murder rate rose from 2015.[211] In 2016 there were 302 homicides in Detroit, a 2.37% increase in the number of murder victims from the preceding year.[211]
Areas of the city adjacent to the Detroit River are also patrolled by the United States Border Patrol.[212]
EconomySee also: Economy of metropolitan Detroit and Planning and development in DetroitTop city employersSource: Crain's Detroit Business[213]Rank Company or organization #1 Detroit Medical Center 11,4972 City of Detroit 9,5913 Quicken Loans 9,1924 Henry Ford Health System 8,8075 Detroit Public Schools 6,5866 U.S. Government 6,3087 Wayne State University 6,0238 Chrysler 5,4269 Blue Cross Blue Shield 5,41510 General Motors 4,32711 State of Michigan 3,91112 DTE Energy 3,70013 St. John Providence Health System 3,56614 U.S. Postal Service 2,64315 Wayne County 2,56616 MGM Grand Detroit 2,55117 MotorCity Casino 1,97318 Compuware 1,91219 Detroit Diesel 1,68520 Greektown Casino 1,52121 Comerica 1,19422 Deloitte 94223 Johnson Controls 76024 PricewaterhouseCoopers 75625 Ally Financial 715Distribution of Detroit's Economy.svg
Labor force distribution in Detroit by category: Construction Manufacturing Trade, transportation, utilities Information Finance Professional and business services Education and health services Leisure and hospitality Other services GovernmentThe First National Building, a class-A office center within the Detroit Financial District.
The Detroit River is one of the busiest straits in the world. Lake freighter MV American Courage passing the strait.Several major corporations are based in the city, including three Fortune 500 companies. The most heavily represented sectors are manufacturing (particularly automotive), finance, technology, and health care. The most significant companies based in Detroit include General Motors, Quicken Loans, Ally Financial, Compuware, Shinola, American Axle, Little Caesars, DTE Energy, Lowe Campbell Ewald, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and Rossetti Architects.[citation needed]
About 80,500 people work in downtown Detroit, comprising one-fifth of the city's employment base.[214][215] Aside from the numerous Detroit-based companies listed above, downtown contains large offices for Comerica, Chrysler, Fifth Third Bank, HP Enterprise, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, and Ernst & Young. Ford Motor Company is in the adjacent city of Dearborn.[216]
Thousands of more employees work in Midtown, north of the central business district. Midtown's anchors are the city's largest single employer Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University, and the Henry Ford Health System in New Center. Midtown is also home to watchmaker Shinola and an array of small and startup companies. New Center bases TechTown, a research and business incubator hub that is part of the WSU system.[217] Like downtown, Corktown Is experiencing growth with the new Ford Corktown Campus under development.[218][219] Midtown also has a fast-growing retailing and restaurant scene.[citation needed]
A number of the city's downtown employers are relatively new, as there has been a marked trend of companies moving from satellite suburbs around Metropolitan Detroit into the downtown core.[220] Compuware completed its world headquarters in downtown in 2003. OnStar, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and HP Enterprise Services are at the Renaissance Center. PricewaterhouseCoopers Plaza offices are adjacent to Ford Field, and Ernst & Young completed its office building at One Kennedy Square in 2006. Perhaps most prominently, in 2010, Quicken Loans, one of the largest mortgage lenders, relocated its world headquarters and 4,000 employees to downtown Detroit, consolidating its suburban offices.[221] In July 2012, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office opened its Elijah J. McCoy Satellite Office in the Rivertown/Warehouse District as its first location outside Washington, D.C.'s metropolitan area.[222]
In April 2014, the United States Department of Labor reported the city's unemployment rate at 14.5%.[223]
The city of Detroit and other public–private partnerships have attempted to catalyze the region's growth by facilitating the building and historical rehabilitation of residential high-rises in the downtown, creating a zone that offers many business tax incentives, creating recreational spaces such as the Detroit RiverWalk, Campus Martius Park, Dequindre Cut Greenway, and Green Alleys in Midtown. The city itself has cleared sections of land while retaining a number of historically significant vacant buildings in order to spur redevelopment;[224] even though it has struggled with finances, the city issued bonds in 2008 to provide funding for ongoing work to demolish blighted properties.[134] Two years earlier, downtown reported $1.3 billion in restorations and new developments which increased the number of construction jobs in the city.[72] In the decade prior to 2006, downtown gained more than $15 billion in new investment from private and public sectors.[225]
Despite the city's recent financial issues, many developers remain unfazed by Detroit's problems.[226] Midtown is one of the most successful areas within Detroit to have a residential occupancy rate of 96%.[227] Numerous developments have been recently completed or are in various stages of construction. These include the $82 million reconstruction of downtown's David Whitney Building (now an Aloft Hotel and luxury residences), the Woodward Garden Block Development in Midtown, the residential conversion of the David Broderick Tower in downtown, the rehabilitation of the Book Cadillac Hotel (now a Westin and luxury condos) and Fort Shelby Hotel (now Doubletree) also in downtown, and various smaller projects.[228][72]
Downtown's population of young professionals is growing and retail is expanding.[229][230] A study in 2007 found out that Downtown's new residents are predominantly young professionals (57% are ages 25 to 34, 45% have bachelor's degrees, and 34% have a master's or professional degree),[214][229][231] a trend which has hastened over the last decade. Since 2006, $9 billion has been invested in downtown and surrounding neighborhoods; $5.2 billion of which has come in 2013 and 2014.[232] Construction activity, particularly rehabilitation of historic downtown buildings, has increased markedly. The number of vacant downtown buildings has dropped from nearly 50 to around 13.[when?][233]
On July 25, 2013, Meijer, a midwestern retail chain, opened its first supercenter store in Detroit;[234] this was a $20 million, 190,000-square-foot store in the northern portion of the city and it also is the centerpiece of a new $72 million shopping center named Gateway Marketplace.[235] On June 11, 2015, Meijer opened its second supercenter store in the city.[236] On June 26, 2019, JPMorgan Chase announced plans to invest $50 million more in affordable housing, job training and entrepreneurship by the end of 2022, growing its investment to $200 million.[237]
Arts and cultureMain article: Culture of Detroit
March for Science
Motor City Pride
North American International Auto ShowIn the central portions of Detroit, the population of young professionals, artists, and other transplants is growing and retail is expanding.[229] This dynamic is luring additional new residents, and former residents returning from other cities, to the city's Downtown along with the revitalized Midtown and New Center areas.[214][229][231]
A desire to be closer to the urban scene has also attracted some young professionals to reside in inner ring suburbs such as Ferndale and Royal Oak, Michigan.[238] Detroit's proximity to Windsor, Ontario, provides for views and nightlife, along with Ontario's minimum drinking age of 19.[239] A 2011 study by Walk Score recognized Detroit for its above average walkability among large U.S. cities.[240] About two-thirds of suburban residents occasionally dine and attend cultural events or take in professional games in the city of Detroit.[241]
NicknamesKnown as the world's automotive center,[242] "Detroit" is a metonym for that industry.[243] Detroit's auto industry, some of which was converted to wartime defense production, was an important element of the American "Arsenal of Democracy" supporting the Allied powers during World War II.[244] It is an important source of popular music legacies celebrated by the city's two familiar nicknames, the Motor City and Motown.[245] Other nicknames arose in the 20th century, including City of Champions, beginning in the 1930s for its successes in individual and team sport;[246] The D; Hockeytown (a trademark owned by the city's NHL club, the Red Wings); Rock City (after the Kiss song "Detroit Rock City"); and The 313 (its telephone area code).[247][248]
MusicMain article: Music of Detroit
"Motown Mansion" in Boston-Edison Historic District; former home of Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records
Detroit Electronic Music Festival
Detroit Institute of Music EducationLive music has been a prominent feature of Detroit's nightlife since the late 1940s, bringing the city recognition under the nickname "Motown".[249] The metropolitan area has many nationally prominent live music venues. Concerts hosted by Live Nation perform throughout the Detroit area. Large concerts are held at DTE Energy Music Theatre. The city's theatre venue circuit is the United States' second largest and hosts Broadway performances.[250][251]
The city of Detroit has a rich musical heritage and has contributed to a number of different genres over the decades leading into the new millennium.[248] Important music events in the city include the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, the Motor City Music Conference (MC2), the Urban Organic Music Conference, the Concert of Colors, and the hip-hop Summer Jamz festival.[248]
In the 1940s, Detroit blues artist John Lee Hooker became a long-term resident in the city's southwest Delray neighborhood. Hooker, among other important blues musicians, migrated from his home in Mississippi, bringing the Delta blues to northern cities like Detroit. Hooker recorded for Fortune Records, the biggest pre-Motown blues/soul label. During the 1950s, the city became a center for jazz, with stars performing in the Black Bottom neighborhood.[40] Prominent emerging jazz musicians included trumpeter Donald Byrd, who attended Cass Tech and performed with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers early in his career, and saxophonist Pepper Adams, who enjoyed a solo career and accompanied Byrd on several albums. The Graystone International Jazz Museum documents jazz in Detroit.[252]
Other prominent Motor City R&B stars in the 1950s and early 1960s were Nolan Strong, Andre Williams and Nathaniel Mayer – who all scored local and national hits on the Fortune Records label. According to Smokey Robinson, Strong was a primary influence on his voice as a teenager. The Fortune label, a family-operated label on Third Avenue in Detroit, was owned by the husband-and-wife team of Jack Brown and Devora Brown. Fortune, which also released country, gospel and rockabilly LPs and 45s, laid the groundwork for Motown, which became Detroit's most legendary record label.[253]
Berry Gordy, Jr. founded Motown Records, which rose to prominence during the 1960s and early 1970s with acts such as Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, the Jackson 5, Martha and the Vandellas, The Spinners, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Marvelettes, The Elgins, The Monitors, The Velvelettes and Marvin Gaye. Artists were backed by in-house vocalists[254] The Andantes and The Funk Brothers, the Motown house band that was featured in Paul Justman's 2002 documentary film Standing in the Shadows of Motown, based on Allan Slutsky's book of the same name.[citation needed]
The Motown Sound played an important role in the crossover appeal with popular music, since it was the first African American–owned record label to primarily feature African-American artists. Gordy moved Motown to Los Angeles in 1972 to pursue film production, but the company has since returned to Detroit. Aretha Franklin, another Detroit R&B star, carried the Motown Sound; however, she did not record with Berry's Motown label.[248]
Local artists and bands rose to prominence in the 1960s and '70s, including the MC5, Glenn Frey, The Stooges, Bob Seger, Amboy Dukes featuring Ted Nugent, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, Rare Earth, Alice Cooper, and Suzi Quatro. The group Kiss emphasized the city's connection with rock in the song "Detroit Rock City" and the movie produced in 1999. In the 1980s, Detroit was an important center of the hardcore punk rock underground with many nationally known bands coming out of the city and its suburbs, such as The Necros, The Meatmen, and Negative Approach.[253]
In the 1990s and the new millennium, the city has produced a number of influential hip hop artists, including Eminem, the hip-hop artist with the highest cumulative sales, his rap group D12, hip-hop rapper and producer Royce da 5'9", hip-hop producer Denaun Porter, hip-hop producer J Dilla, rapper and musician Kid Rock and rappers Big Sean and Danny Brown. The band Sponge toured and produced music.[248][253] The city also has an active garage rock scene that has generated national attention with acts such as The White Stripes, The Von Bondies, The Detroit Cobras, The Dirtbombs, Electric Six, and The Hard Lessons.[248]
Detroit is cited as the birthplace of techno music in the early 1980s.[255] The city also lends its name to an early and pioneering genre of electronic dance music, "Detroit techno". Featuring science fiction imagery and robotic themes, its futuristic style was greatly influenced by the geography of Detroit's urban decline and its industrial past.[40] Prominent Detroit techno artists include Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, and Jeff Mills. The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, now known as Movement, occurs annually in late May on Memorial Day Weekend, and takes place in Hart Plaza. In the early years (2000–2002), this was a landmark event, boasting over a million estimated attendees annually, coming from all over the world to celebrate techno music in the city of its birth.[citation needed]
Entertainment and performing artsMain article: Theatre in Detroit
The Detroit Fox Theatre in DowntownMajor theaters in Detroit include the Fox Theatre (5,174 seats), Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts (1,770 seats), the Gem Theatre (451 seats), Masonic Temple Theatre (4,404 seats), the Detroit Opera House (2,765 seats), the Fisher Theatre (2,089 seats), The Fillmore Detroit (2,200 seats), Saint Andrew's Hall, the Majestic Theater, and Orchestra Hall (2,286 seats), which hosts the renowned Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The Nederlander Organization, the largest controller of Broadway productions in New York City, originated with the purchase of the Detroit Opera House in 1922 by the Nederlander family.[248]
Motown Motion Picture Studios with 535,000 square feet (49,700 m2) produces movies in Detroit and the surrounding area based at the Pontiac Centerpoint Business Campus for a film industry expected to employ over 4,000 people in the metro area.[256]
TourismMain article: Tourism in metropolitan Detroit
Detroit Institute of ArtsBecause of its unique culture, distinctive architecture, and revitalization and urban renewal efforts in the 21st century, Detroit has enjoyed increased prominence as a tourist destination in recent years. The New York Times listed Detroit as the ninth-best destination in its list of 52 Places to Go in 2017,[257] while travel guide publisher Lonely Planet named Detroit the second-best city in the world to visit in 2018.[258]
Many of the area's prominent museums are in the historic cultural center neighborhood around Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies. These museums include the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Science Center, as well as the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. Other cultural highlights include Motown Historical Museum, the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant museum, the Pewabic Pottery studio and school, the Tuskegee Airmen Museum, Fort Wayne, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID), and the Belle Isle Conservatory.[citation needed]
In 2010, the G.R. N'Namdi Gallery opened in a 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) complex in Midtown. Important history of America and the Detroit area are exhibited at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, the United States' largest indoor-outdoor museum complex.[259] The Detroit Historical Society provides information about tours of area churches, skyscrapers, and mansions. Inside Detroit, meanwhile, hosts tours, educational programming, and a downtown welcome center. Other sites of interest are the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle, and Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills.[118]
The city's Greektown and three downtown casino resort hotels serve as part of an entertainment hub. The Eastern Market farmer's distribution center is the largest open-air flowerbed market in the United States and has more than 150 foods and specialty businesses.[260] On Saturdays, about 45,000 people shop the city's historic Eastern Market.[261] The Midtown and the New Center area are centered on Wayne State University and Henry Ford Hospital. Midtown has about 50,000 residents and attracts millions of visitors each year to its museums and cultural centers;[262] for example, the Detroit Festival of the Arts in Midtown draws about 350,000 people.[262]The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, birthplace of the Ford Model T and the world's oldest car factory building open to the public.Annual summer events include the Electronic Music Festival, International Jazz Festival, the Woodward Dream Cruise, the African World Festival, the country music Hoedown, Noel Night, and Dally in the Alley. Within downtown, Campus Martius Park hosts large events, including the annual Motown Winter Blast. As the world's traditional automotive center, the city hosts the North American International Auto Show. Held since 1924, America's Thanksgiving Parade is one of the nation's largest.[263] River Days, a five-day summer festival on the International Riverfront lead up to the Windsor–Detroit International Freedom Festival fireworks, which draw super sized-crowds ranging from hundreds of thousands to over three million people.[241][248][264]
An important civic sculpture in Detroit is The Spirit of Detroit by Marshall Fredericks at the Coleman Young Municipal Center. The image is often used as a symbol of Detroit and the statue itself is occasionally dressed in sports jerseys to celebrate when a Detroit team is doing well.[265] A memorial to Joe Louis at the intersection of Jefferson and Woodward Avenues was dedicated on October 1, 1986. The sculpture, commissioned by Sports Illustrated and executed by Robert Graham, is a 24-foot (7.3 m) long arm with a fisted hand suspended by a pyramidal framework.[266]
Artist Tyree Guyton created the controversial street art exhibit known as the Heidelberg Project in 1986, using found objects including cars, clothing and shoes found in the neighborhood near and on Heidelberg Street on the near East Side of Detroit.[248]
Time named Detroit as one of the fifty World's Greatest Places of 2022 to explore.[10]
SportsFurther information: Sports in Detroit and U.S. cities with teams from four major sports
Top: Comerica Park, home of the American League Detroit Tigers; middle: Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions; bottom: Little Caesars Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit PistonsDetroit is one of 13 U.S. metropolitan areas that are home to professional teams representing the four major sports in North America. Since 2017, all of these teams play in the city limits of Detroit itself, a distinction shared with only three other U.S. cities. Detroit is the only U.S. city to have its four major sports teams play within its downtown district.[267]
There are three active major sports venues in the city: Comerica Park (home of the Major League Baseball team Detroit Tigers), Ford Field (home of the NFL's Detroit Lions), and Little Caesars Arena (home of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings and the NBA's Detroit Pistons). A 1996 marketing campaign promoted the nickname "Hockeytown".[248]Cycling in Detroit on Woodward AvenueThe Detroit Tigers have won four World Series titles (1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984). The Detroit Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cups (1935–36, 1936–37, 1942–43, 1949–50, 1951–52, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2007–08) (the most by an American NHL franchise).[268] The Detroit Lions have won 4 NFL titles (1935, 1952, 1953, 1957) . The Detroit Pistons have won three NBA titles (1989, 1990, 2004).[248] With the Pistons' first of three NBA titles in 1989, the city of Detroit has won titles in all four of the major professional sports leagues. Two new downtown stadiums for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions opened in 2000 and 2002, respectively, returning the Lions to the city proper.[269]
In college sports, Detroit's central location within the Mid-American Conference has made it a frequent site for the league's championship events. While the MAC Basketball Tournament moved permanently to Cleveland starting in 2000, the MAC Football Championship Game has been played at Ford Field in Detroit since 2004, and annually attracts 25,000 to 30,000 fans. The University of Detroit Mercy has an NCAA Division I program, and Wayne State University has both NCAA Division I and II programs. The NCAA football Quick Lane Bowl is held at Ford Field each December.[citation needed]
Detroit's professional soccer team is Detroit City FC. Founded in 2012 as a semi-professional soccer club, the team now plays professional soccer in the USL Championship (USLC). Nicknamed, Le Rouge, the club are two-time champions of NISA since joining in 2020. They play their home matches in Keyworth Stadium, which is located in the Detroit enclave of Hamtramck.[270]
The city hosted the 2005 MLB All-Star Game, 2006 Super Bowl XL, both the 2006 and 2012 World Series, WrestleMania 23 in 2007, and the NCAA Final Four in April 2009. The city hosted the Detroit Indy Grand Prix on Belle Isle Park from 1989 to 2001, 2007 to 2008, and 2012 and beyond. In 2007, open-wheel racing returned to Belle Isle with both Indy Racing League and American Le Mans Series Racing.[271] From 1982 to 1988, Detroit held the Detroit Grand Prix, at the Detroit street circuit.
Detroit is one of eight American cities to have won titles in all four major leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA), though of the eight it is the only one to have not won a Super Bowl title (all of the Lions' titles came prior to the start of the Super Bowl era). In the years following the mid-1930s, Detroit was referred to as the "City of Champions" after the Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings captured the three major professional sports championships in existence at the time in a seven-month period of time (the Tigers won the World Series in October 1935; the Lions won the NFL championship in December 1935; the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in April 1936).[246] In 1932, Eddie "The Midnight Express" Tolan from Detroit won the 100- and 200-meter races and two gold medals at the 1932 Summer Olympics. Joe Louis won the heavyweight championship of the world in 1937.
Detroit has made the most offers to host the Summer Olympics without ever being awarded the games, with seven unsuccessful offers for the 1944, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1972 summer games.[248]
GovernmentFurther information: Government of Detroit and List of mayors of Detroit
The Guardian Building serves as the headquarters of Wayne CountyThe city is governed pursuant to the home rule Charter of the City of Detroit. The government of Detroit is run by a mayor, the nine-member Detroit City Council, the eleven-member Board of Police Commissioners, and a clerk. All of these officers are elected on a nonpartisan ballot, with the exception of four of the police commissioners, who are appointed by the mayor. Detroit has a "strong mayoral" system, with the mayor approving departmental appointments. The council approves budgets, but the mayor is not obligated to adhere to any earmarking. The city clerk supervises elections and is formally charged with the maintenance of municipal records. City ordinances and substantially large contracts must be approved by the council.[272][273] The Detroit City Code is the codification of Detroit's local ordinances.
The city clerk supervises elections and is formally charged with the maintenance of municipal records. Municipal elections for mayor, city council and city clerk are held at four-year intervals, in the year after presidential elections.[273] Following a November 2009 referendum, seven council members will be elected from districts beginning in 2013 while two will continue to be elected at-large.[274]
Detroit's courts are state-administered and elections are nonpartisan. The Probate Court for Wayne County is in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in downtown Detroit. The Circuit Court is across Gratiot Avenue in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, in downtown Detroit. The city is home to the Thirty-Sixth District Court, as well as the First District of the Michigan Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The city provides law enforcement through the Detroit Police Department and emergency services through the Detroit Fire Department.[citation needed]
PoliticsBeginning with its incorporation in 1802, Detroit has had a total of 74 mayors. Detroit's last mayor from the Republican Party was Louis Miriani, who served from 1957 to 1962. In 1973, the city elected its first black mayor, Coleman Young. Despite development efforts, his combative style during his five terms in office was not well received by many suburban residents.[275] Mayor Dennis Archer, a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, refocused the city's attention on redevelopment with a plan to permit three casinos downtown. By 2008, three major casino resort hotels established operations in the city.[citation needed]
In 2000, the city requested an investigation by the United States Justice Department into the Detroit Police Department which was concluded in 2003 over allegations regarding its use of force and civil rights violations. The city proceeded with a major reorganization of the Detroit Police Department.[276]
In 2013, felony bribery charges were brought against seven building inspectors.[277] In 2016, further corruption charges were brought against 12 principals, a former school superintendent and supply vendor[278] for a $12 million kickback scheme.[279][280] However, law professor Peter Henning argues Detroit's corruption is not unusual for a city its size, especially when compared with Chicago.[281]
Detroit is sometimes referred to as a sanctuary city because it has "anti-profiling ordinances that generally prohibit local police from asking about the immigration status of people who are not suspected of any crime".[282]
The city in recent years has been a stronghold of the Democratic Party, with around 94% of votes in the city going to Joe offeren, the Democratic candidate in the 2020 Presidential election.
Public financesDetroit's protracted decline has resulted in severe urban decay, with thousands of empty buildings around the city, referred to as greyfield. Some parts of Detroit are so sparsely populated the city has difficulty providing municipal services. The city has demolished abandoned homes and buildings, planting grass and trees, and considered removing street lighting from large portions of the city, in order to encourage the small population in certain areas to move to more populated areas.[149][150][151][152][153] Roughly half of the owners of Detroit's 305,000 properties failed to pay their 2011 tax bills, resulting in about $246 million in taxes and fees going uncollected, nearly half of which was due to Detroit. The rest of the money would have been earmarked for Wayne County, Detroit Public Schools, and the library system.[283]
In March 2013, Governor Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency in the city, stating the city had a $327 million budget deficit and faced more than $14 billion in long-term debt. It has been making ends meet on a month-to-month basis with the help of bond money held in a state escrow account and has instituted mandatory unpaid days off for many city workers. Those troubles, along with underfunded city services, such as police and fire departments, and ineffective turnaround plans from Mayor Bing and the City Council[284] led the state of Michigan to appoint an emergency manager for Detroit on March 14, 2013. On June 14, 2013, Detroit defaulted on $2.5 billion of debt by withholding $39.7 million in interest payments, while Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr met with bondholders and other creditors in an attempt to restructure the city's $18.5 billion debt and avoid bankruptcy.[285] On July 18, 2013, the City of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.[286][287] It was declared bankrupt by U.S. judge Stephen Rhodes on December 3, with its $18.5 billion debt; he said in accepting the city's contention it is broke and negotiations with its thousands of creditors were infeasible.[84] The city levies an income tax of 2.4 percent on residents and 1.2 percent on nonresidents.[288]
EducationColleges and universitiesSee also: Colleges and universities in Metro Detroit
College of Business Administration, University of Detroit MercyDetroit is home to several institutions of higher learning including Wayne State University, a national research university with medical and law schools in the Midtown area offering hundreds of academic degrees and programs. The University of Detroit Mercy, in Northwest Detroit in the University District, is a prominent Roman Catholic co-educational university affiliated with the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy. The University of Detroit Mercy offers more than a hundred academic degrees and programs of study including business, dentistry, law, engineering, architecture, nursing and allied health professions. The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is Downtown across from the Renaissance Center.[289]
Grand Valley State University's Detroit Center host workshops, seminars, professional development, and other large gatherings in the building. Located in the heart of downtown next to Comerica Park and the Detroit Athletic Club, the center has become a key component for educational activity in the city.[290]DeRoy Auditorium at Wayne State University, by Minoru YamasakiSacred Heart Major Seminary, founded in 1919, is affiliated with Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in Rome and offers pontifical degrees as well as civil undergraduate and graduate degrees. Sacred Heart Major Seminary offers a variety of academic programs for both clerical and lay students. Other institutions in the city include the College for Creative Studies and Wayne County Community College. Marygrove College was a Catholic institution formerly based in Detroit before it closed in 2019. In June 2009, the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine which is based in East Lansing opened a satellite campus at the Detroit Medical Center. The University of Michigan was established in 1817 in Detroit and later moved to Ann Arbor in 1837.
Primary and secondary schoolsFurther information: Educational inequality in Southeast MichiganAs of 2016 many K-12 students in Detroit frequently change schools, with some children having been enrolled in seven schools before finishing their K-12 careers. There is a concentration of senior high schools and charter schools in the Downtown Detroit area, which had wealthier residents and more gentrification relative to other parts of Detroit: Downtown, northwest Detroit, and northeast Detroit have 1,894, 3,742, and 6,018 students of high school age each, respectively, while they have 11, three, and two high schools each, respectively.[291]
As of 2016 because of the lack of public transportation and the lack of school bus services, many Detroit families have to rely on themselves to transport children to school.[291]
Public schools and charter schools
Western International High School
Cass Technical High SchoolWith about 66,000 public school students (2011–12), the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district is the largest school district in Michigan. Detroit has an additional 56,000 charter school students for a combined enrollment of about 122,000 students.[292][293] As of 2009 there are about as many students in charter schools as there are in district schools.[294] As of 2016 DPS continues to have the majority of the special education pupils. In addition, some Detroit students, as of 2016, attend public schools in other municipalities.[291]
In 1999, the Michigan Legislature removed the locally elected board of education amid allegations of mismanagement and replaced it with a reform board appointed by the mayor and governor. The elected board of education was re-established following a city referendum in 2005. The first election of the new 11-member board of education occurred on November 8, 2005.[295]
Due to growing Detroit charter schools enrollment as well as a continued exodus of population, the city planned to close many public schools.[292] State officials report a 68% graduation rate for Detroit's public schools adjusted for those who change schools.[296][297] Traditional public and charter school students in the city have performed poorly on standardized tests. Circa 2009 and 2011, while Detroit traditional public schools scored a record low on national tests, the publicly funded charter schools did even worse than the traditional public schools.[298][299] As of 2016 there were 30,000 excess openings in Detroit traditional public and charter schools, bearing in mind the number of K-12-aged children in the city. In 2016, Kate Zernike of The New York Times stated school performance did not improve despite the proliferation of charters, describing the situation as "lots of choice, with no good choice".[291]
Detroit public schools students scored the lowest on tests of reading and writing of all major cities in the United States in 2015. Among eighth-graders, only 27% showed basic proficiency in math and 44% in reading.[300] Nearly half of Detroit's adults are functionally illiterate.[301]
Private schoolsDetroit is served by various private schools, as well as parochial Roman Catholic schools operated by the Archdiocese of Detroit. As of 2013 there are four Catholic grade schools and three Catholic high schools in the City of Detroit, with all of them in the city's west side.[302] The Archdiocese of Detroit lists a number of primary and secondary schools in the metro area as Catholic education has emigrated to the suburbs.[303][304] Of the three Catholic high schools in the city, two are operated by the Society of Jesus and the third is co-sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Congregation of St. Basil.[305][306]
In the 1964–1965 school year there were about 110 Catholic grade schools in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park and 55 Catholic high schools in those three cities. The Catholic school population in Detroit has decreased due to the increase of charter schools, increasing tuition at Catholic schools, the small number of African-American Catholics, White Catholics moving to suburbs, and the decreased number of teaching nuns.[302]
MediaMain article: Media in Detroit
Offices of the Detroit Free Press and Detroit NewsThe Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News are the major daily newspapers, both broadsheet publications published together under a joint operating agreement called the Detroit Newspaper Partnership. Media philanthropy includes the Detroit Free Press high school journalism program and the Old Newsboys' Goodfellow Fund of Detroit.[307] In March 2009, the two newspapers reduced home delivery to three days a week, print reduced newsstand issues of the papers on non-delivery days and focus resources on Internet-based news delivery.[308] The Metro Times, founded in 1980, is a weekly publication, covering news, arts & entertainment.[309]
Also founded in 1935 and based in Detroit, the Michigan Chronicle is one of the oldest and most respected African-American weekly newspapers in America, covering politics, entertainment, sports and community events.[310] The Detroit television market is the 11th largest in the United States;[311] according to estimates that do not include audiences in large areas of Ontario, Canada (Windsor and its surrounding area on broadcast and cable TV, as well as several other cable markets in Ontario, such as the city of Ottawa) which receive and watch Detroit television stations.[311]
Detroit has the 11th largest radio market in the United States,[312] though this ranking does not take into account Canadian audiences.[312] Nearby Canadian stations such as Windsor's CKLW (whose jingles formerly proclaimed "CKLW-the Motor City") are popular in Detroit.[313]
Infrastructure
The Detroit Public Library in 2018Health systemsWithin the city of Detroit, there are over a dozen major hospitals, which include the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), Henry Ford Health System, St. John Health System, and the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center. The DMC, a regional Level I trauma center, consists of Detroit Receiving Hospital and University Health Center, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Harper University Hospital, Hutzel Women's Hospital, Kresge Eye Institute, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Sinai-Grace Hospital, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. The DMC has more than 2,000 licensed beds and 3,000 affiliated physicians. It is the largest private employer in the City of Detroit.[314] The center is staffed by physicians from the Wayne State University School of Medicine, the largest single-campus medical school in the United States, and the United States' fourth largest medical school overall.[314]Harper Hospital and Hutzel Women's HospitalDetroit Medical Center formally became a part of Vanguard Health Systems on December 30, 2010, as a for-profit corporation. Vanguard has agreed to invest nearly $1.5 B in the Detroit Medical Center complex, which will include $417 M to retire debts, at least $350 M in capital expenditures and an additional $500 M for new capital investment.[315][316] Vanguard has agreed to assume all debts and pension obligations.[315] The metro area has many other hospitals including William Beaumont Hospital, St. Joseph's, and University of Michigan Medical Center.
In 2011, Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System substantially increased investments in medical research facilities and hospitals in the city's Midtown and New Center.[315][317]
In 2012, two major construction projects were begun in New Center. The Henry Ford Health System started the first phase of a $500 million, 300-acre revitalization project, with the construction of a new $30 million, 275,000-square-foot, Medical Distribution Center for Cardinal Health, Inc.[318][319] and Wayne State University started construction on a new $93 million, 207,000-square-foot, Integrative Biosciences Center (IBio).[320][321] As many as 500 researchers and staff will work out of the IBio Center.[322]
TransportationMain article: Transportation in metropolitan DetroitWith its proximity to Canada and its facilities, ports, major highways, rail connections and international airports, Detroit is an important transportation hub. The city has three international border crossings, the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit–Windsor Tunnel and Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. The Ambassador Bridge is the single busiest border crossing in North America, carrying 27% of the total trade between the U.S. and Canada.[323]
On February 18, 2015, Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced Canada has agreed to pay the entire cost to build a $250 million U.S. Customs plaza adjacent to the planned new Detroit–Windsor bridge, now the Gordie Howe International Bridge. Canada had already planned to pay for 95% of the bridge, which will cost $2.1 billion, and is expected to open in 2024. "This allows Canada and Michigan to move the project forward immediately to its next steps which include further design work and property acquisition on the U.S. side of the border", Raitt said in a statement issued after she spoke in the House of Commons. [324]
Transit systems
The Detroit People Mover (DPM) elevated railway in BricktownSee captionA QLine streetcar at Campus Martius stationMass transit in the region is provided by bus services. The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) provides service within city limits up to the outer edges of the city. From there, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) provides service to the suburbs and the city regionally with local routes and SMART's FAST service. FAST is a new service provided by SMART which offers limited stops along major corridors throughout the Detroit metropolitan area connecting the suburbs to downtown. The new high-frequency service travels along three of Detroit's busiest corridors, Gratiot, Woodward, and Michigan, and only stops at designated FAST stops. Cross border service between the downtown areas of Windsor and Detroit is provided by Transit Windsor via the Tunnel Bus.[325]Amtrak Wolverine at Detroit stationAn elevated rail system known as the People Mover, completed in 1987, provides daily service around a 2.94-mile (4.73 km) loop downtown. The QLINE serves as a link between the Detroit People Mover and Detroit Amtrak station via Woodward Avenue.[326] The SEMCOG Commuter Rail line will extend from Detroit's New Center, connecting to Ann Arbor via Dearborn, Wayne, and Ypsilanti when it is opened.[327]
The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was established by an act of the Michigan legislature in December 2012 to oversee and coordinate all existing regional mass transit operations, and to develop new transit services in the region. The RTA's first project was the introduction of RelfeX, a limited-stop, cross-county bus service connecting downtown and midtown Detroit with Oakland county via Woodward avenue.[328]
Amtrak provides service to Detroit, operating its Wolverine service between Chicago and Pontiac. The Amtrak station is in New Center north of downtown. The J. W. Westcott II, which delivers mail to lake freighters on the Detroit River, is a floating post office.[329]
Car ownershipThe city of Detroit has a higher than average percentage of households without a car. In 2016, 24.7 percent of Detroit households lacked a car, much higher than the national average of 8.7. Detroit averaged 1.15 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.[330]
Freight railroadsFreight railroad operations in the city of Detroit are provided by Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Conrail Shared Assets, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway, each of which have local yards within the city. Detroit is also served by the Delray Connecting Railroad and Detroit Connecting Railroad shortlines.[331]
Airports
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), the principal airport serving Detroit, is located in nearby RomulusDetroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), the principal airport serving Detroit, is in nearby Romulus. DTW is a primary hub for Delta Air Lines (following its acquisition of Northwest Airlines), and a secondary hub for Spirit Airlines. The airport is connected to Downtown Detroit by the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) FAST Michigan route.[332]
Coleman A. Young International Airport (DET), previously called Detroit City Airport, is on Detroit's northeast side; the airport now maintains only charter service and general aviation.[333] Willow Run Airport, in far-western Wayne County near Ypsilanti, is a general aviation and cargo airport.
FreewaysMain article: Roads and freeways in metropolitan DetroitMetro Detroit has an extensive toll-free network of freeways administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Four major Interstate Highways surround the city. Detroit is connected via Interstate 75 (I-75) and I-96 to Kings Highway 401 and to major Southern Ontario cities such as London, Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area. I-75 (Chrysler and Fisher freeways) is the region's main north–south route, serving Flint, Pontiac, Troy, and Detroit, before continuing south (as the Detroit–Toledo and Seaway Freeways) to serve many of the communities along the shore of Lake Erie.[334]
I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway) runs east–west through Detroit and serves Ann Arbor to the west (where it continues to Chicago) and Port Huron to the northeast. The stretch of the I-94 freeway from Ypsilanti to Detroit was one of America's earlier limited-access highways. Henry Ford built it to link the factories at Willow Run and Dearborn during World War II. A portion was known as the Willow Run Expressway. The I-96 freeway runs northwest–southeast through Livingston, Oakland and Wayne counties and (as the Jeffries Freeway through Wayne County) has its Eastern terminus in downtown Detroit.[334]
I-275 runs north–south from I-75 in the south to the junction of I-96 and I-696 in the north, providing a bypass through the western suburbs of Detroit. I-375 is a short spur route in downtown Detroit, an extension of the Chrysler Freeway. I-696 (Reuther Freeway) runs east–west from the junction of I-96 and I-275, providing a route through the northern suburbs of Detroit. Taken together, I-275 and I-696 form a semicircle around Detroit. Michigan state highways designated with the letter M serve to connect major freeways.[334]
Floating post office
J.W. Westcott II on the Detroit River in front of the Ambassador BridgeDetroit has a floating post office, the J. W. Westcott II, which serves lake freighters along the Detroit River. Its ZIP Code is 48222.[335] The ZIP Code is used exclusively for the J. W. Westcott II, which makes is the only floating ZIP Code in the United States. It has a land-based office at 12 24th Street, just south of the Ambassador Bridge. The J.W. Westcott Company was established in 1874 by Captain John Ward Westcott as a maritime reporting agency to inform other vessels about port conditions, and the J. W. Westcott II vessel began service in 1949 and is still in operation today.[336]
Notable peopleMain article: List of people from DetroitSister citiesDetroit's sister cities are:[337]
China Chongqing, ChinaUnited Arab Emirates Dubai, United Arab EmiratesZambia Kitwe, ZambiaBelarus Minsk, BelarusThe Bahamas Nassau, BahamasJapan Toyota, Japan[338]Italy Turin, Italy[339]

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