Calendar

Mar
24
Fri
2018 : Ferris State Wins DII Basketball Championship
Mar 24 all-day

Ferris State made sure its first national title was unforgettable.

The Bulldogs won the NCAA Division II national championship against Northern State, 71-69, in a thriller Saturday as Markese Mayfield converted a free throw with 10-seconds left and then held their breath as Darin Peterka’s 3-point attempt from the top of the key clanged off left side of the rim at the buzzer.

The Bulldogs stormed the court at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. to mark the university’s first DII crown in any sport.

With the win, the Bulldogs tied a Division II record for wins at 38-1.

Source : Peter J. Wallner, “Ferris State basketball team wins NCAA Division II title in a thriller“, MLive, March 24, 2018.

2018 : March for Our Lives Protest for Gun Control
Mar 24 all-day

Detroit students march along the Detroit River on Saturday, March 24 to protest gun violence. - JAY JURMA

Detroit students, teachers, and supporters march along the Detroit River in Detroit on Saturday, March 24, 2018 to protest gun violence.

March for Our Lives was a student-led demonstration in support of tighter gun control that took place on March 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C., with over 800 sibling events throughout the United States and around the world.  Student organizers planned the march in collaboration with the nonprofit organization Everytown for Gun Safety. The event followed the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which was described by many media outlets as a possible tipping point for gun control legislation.

Protesters urged for universal background checks on all gun sales, raising the federal age of gun ownership and possession to the age of 21, closing of the gun show loophole, a restoration of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, and a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines in the United States.

Turnout was estimated to be 1,200,000 to 2,000,000 people in the United States, making it one of the largest protests in American history.

March for Our Lives in Michigan

Sunny skies and protest signs filled the air in downtown Detroit as thousands of protesters took to the streets in a march to end gun violence as part of the metro Detroit March for Our Lives demonstration.

Lead by local students, the protest brought out people from all walks of life to express their desire for changes in gun control laws in an effort to decrease gun violence in the wake of last month’s shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla.

As protesters marched through Hart Plaza and downtown Detroit, they waived signs with anti-gun violence themes. Their chants of “Hey, Hey NRA, how many kids have you killed today?” and “Enough is enough!” filled the streets.

After the march concluded, protesters gathered around a stage in front of the RenCen where Detroit area students, local politicians, and community organizers took to the podium and spoke.

Pamela Beltran is a student at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School. She helped to organize her high school’s National Walkout Day protest on March 14 as well as the metro Detroit March for Our Lives march.  Beltran was also one of the march’s many speakers. Her speech offered a critique of the “thoughts and prayers” approach that many politicians take in the wake of school shootings.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow was also in attendance, sitting side stage and nodding in agreement as others spoke about how gun violence had impacted their lives.

“The biggest tragedy is that we as adults have not done enough to stop [gun violence],” Stabenow said. “Student voices are going to make change possible.”   Stabenow also commented on her wishes to ban the sale of military assault weapons and to arm teachers with books and resources rather than firearms

Additional protests were held in Lansing, Michigan and around the country.  Cydney Jenkins, a 14-year-old from Farmington Hills, organized the state Capitol march.

Gretchen Whitmer, a Democratic candidate governor and former state senator from East Lansing, said gun violence should not be a partisan issue and said the rally was not a moment but part of a movement.

State Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr., D-Meridian Township, criticized the lack of action to address gun violence.

“Every time we’ve seen gun violence in this country, their only answer is more guns,” he said, referring to Republican lawmakers.

Chants broke out often throughout the speeches. “Vote them out” and “enough is enough” were among the most common.

Anthony Spak, “Detroit March for Our Lives demonstration attracts thousands to downtown protest“, Detroit Metro Times, March 24, 2018.

Matt Mencarini, “Michigan’s March for Our Lives draws thousands to Capitol“, Lansing State Journal, March 24, 2018.

For other coverage from around the country, see the March for our Lives wikipedia entry.

Mar
25
Sat
1680 : La Salle Heads East from Fort Miami (St. Joseph, MI) To Explore the Wilderness of Michigan
Mar 25 all-day


René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle

Tired of waiting on the Griffon — the first European built ship to sail on Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan — to return, French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and five other men left Fort Miami (present-day St. Joseph) to journey across the southern Lower Peninsula. Battling cold temperatures, snow, swamps and Indians, La Salle’s men reached Niagara on April 4, 1680, becoming the first Europeans to see the interior of the Lower Peninsula in the process. The Griffon never met LaSalle at the mouth of the St. Joseph River because it either sank or was sunk carrying a load of furs back to the falls of the Niagra River. Divers have recently claimed to have found the Griffon in the northern part of Lake Michigan.

Source: Michigan is Amazing, Michigan Every Day, and other news reports.

Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle entry from Biography.com

1865 : Detroit Public Library Opens
Mar 25 all-day

The state’s first constitution stated in 1835 that “The legislature shall provide for libraries” using penal fines to operate. In 1842, the Legislature passed a law mandating that the Detroit Board of Education open a school district library. It would be more than two decades before the board complied in 1865, placing a public reading room in the Detroit Capitol High School housed in the former State Capitol at State and Griswold streets. The library by law was free, extensive, containing books “pure, both in morals and religion.”

That reading room would become the Detroit Public Library. It grew within four years of that opening to become the fourth largest in the country.

In 1872, the Centre Park Library opened at the current location of the Skillman Branch in downtown Detroit at Gratiot and Library Street. The first branch library opened in 1897 when the Detroit Water Commission library was opened to the public; in 1905 this library was turned over to the Detroit Library Commission.

Today, the Detroit Public Library offers users books, magazines, records, CDs, videos, DVDs and electronic materials through access to subscription databases. It also houses the Burton Historical Collection (named for historian and donor Clarence M. Burton), the E. Azalia Hackley Collection, and the National Automotive History Collection. Additionally, there are online collections, including one on Detroit Tigers and Baseball Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Ernie Harwell. The Ernie Harwell Online Exhibit is part of the Burton Historical Collection.

Visit the Detroit Public Library Home Page.

Sources:

Detroit Historical Society Facebook Page

Detroit Public Library wikipedia entry

Detroit Public Library entry from Encyclopedia of Detroit.

Detroit Public Library Photo Gallery from MetroAlive.

Dan Austin, Detroit Public Library (old), HistoricDetroit.org Blog.

March 25, 2015 : Detroit Library 150th Anniversary Kickoff Event

Take a look inside the Detroit Public Library on its 150th anniversary, MLive, March 25, 2015.

Rochelle Riley, “Reader helps tell story of Detroit library’s 150 years”, Detroit Free Press, March 22, 2015.

Rochelle Riley, “Take a minute and love your library”, Detroit Free Press, March 26, 2015.

1890 : Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church Formed in U.P.
Mar 25 all-day

On March 25, 1890, the various Finnish American congregations in the U.P formed the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church (Suomi Synod). In 1896, the Finnish Americans in the Houghton area of Michigan started Suomi College (named after their synod), which eventually would become Finlandia University, to ensure seminary training and preserve Finnish culture.

Source : Michigan Every Day

1942 : Aretha Franklin Born
Mar 25 all-day

Aretha Franklin the Queen of Soul

Although born in Memphis, Tennessee, Aretha Franklin’s parents brought her to Detroit at an early age where she and her sister began singing in the gospel choir of her father’s church, New Bethel Baptist Church. Later in her life, she would become famous for songs such as Respect, Chain of Fools, and many more. She is now considered the Queen of Soul and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. More recently, she was invited to participate in President Barack Obama’s first inaugeration ceremonies.

Sources :

Michigan Every Day

For more information, see Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Aretha Franklin page

Aretha Franklin : the queen of soul / Mark Bego. New York, N.Y. : Skyhorse Pub., 2012.

1965 : Detroit Housewife Murdered By KKK For Standing Up for Civil Rights in Alabama
Mar 25 all-day

Home of the Brave image

On March 25, 1965, Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit housewife and Civil Rights adovocate, was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. She was killed on the final night of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March. She is honored at the Montgomery Civil Rights Memorial.

“Saturday brought the Liuzzo family the news that Governor George Romney of Michigan had declared Monday and Tuesday days of statewide mourning for Viola Liuzzo… Governor Romney spent 45 minutes with the Liuzzos and later told the press that Viola’s death “reminded me of the death of Joan of Arc.” Ministers throughout the city–both black and white–spoke of Viola Liuzzo’s sacrifice in their Sunday sermons… Reverend Fulton Bradley of the Tabernacle Baptist Church proclaimed that “…Mrs. Liuzzo is another of the great martyrs who lived and died for a cause.” Martin Luther King, who had announced that he would attend the Liuzzo funeral, appeared on Sunday’s Meet the Press… The family had invited 100 guests (including Martin Luther King, Jr., who did attend), and after they were seated, others–estimated at about 150–were allowed to join them [at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Detroit].” (pg 176-178)

After Liuzzo’s death, her family endured a cross burning and hate mail at their Detroit home. Her children were harassed at school. Liuzzo’s husband hired armed guards for protection. A smear campaign, engineered by the FBI, hinted that Liuzzo used drugs and had illicit relationships with black men.

Today, a stone marker stands along U.S. 80 in Alabama’s Lowndes County, near the spot where Viola Gregg Liuzzo was fatally shot by Klansmen while shuttling demonstrators after the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march.

The Alabama marker honoring Liuzzo was erected by the Women of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1991. At the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Liuzzo is the only white woman honored among the martyrs.

On April 10, 2015, Liuzzo’s former school, Wayne State University, plans to award her an honorary doctor of laws degree. It’s the first posthumous honorary degree in the 145-year-old school’s history. Wayne State also will dedicate a tree or green space for Liuzzo.

Sources :

The Informant by Gary May, 2005

Viola Liuzzo entry from Encyclopedia of Detroit.

Susan Whitall, “WSU to honor civil rights martyr Liuzzo with degree”, Detroit News, February 26, 2015.

Susan Whitall, “‘Selma’ recalls Detroit civil rights martyr”, Detroit News, January 9, 2015

Detroit Historical Society Facebook Page

For more information, consult

Home of the brave, a 2004 movie about Viola Liuzzo, a 39-year-old wife and mother of five, who was the only white woman killed during the civil rights movement.

Free at last : civil rights heroes from the Learning Channel also contains a segment on Viola Liuzzo.

From Selma to sorrow : the life and death of Viola Liuzzo / Mary Stanton, by the University of Georgia Press explores the life, murder, and legacy of the civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo murdered by the Klan in 1965.

Zlati Meyer, “This week in Michigan history: Viola Liuzzo killed by Klansmen in Alabama”, Detroit Free Press, March 23, 2014.

Susan Whitall, “Family emotional as WSU honors civil rights activist”, Detroit News, April 10, 2015.

Joanne Giannino, “Viola Liuzzo : A civil rights martyr”, Michigan History, September-October 2015, pp.49-54

There is an archival collection for Ms. Liuzzo, who was also a Wayne State student, at the Reuther Library.

1966 : Ann Arbor Newspaper Carries Photos of UFOs
Mar 25 all-day
  • The March 25, 1966 edition of The Ann Arbor News included some of the few images captured of the unidentified flying objects.

The March 25, 1966 edition of The Ann Arbor News included some of the few images captured of the unidentified flying objects.  (From the Ann Arbor District Library Newspaper Archive.)

It began in March, 1966 , with a sighting over a farm in Dexter.

Lights were seen hovering and then zipping across the sky. Reports came in from all over the area. One Washtenaw County sheriff deputy was quoted as calling the objects, whatever they were, “the weirdest things I’ve ever seen.”

The official explanation — flares caused by the burning of gases bubbling up from the area’s swamps — was unsatisfactory to many of those involved. Then-congressman Gerald Ford called for a congressional investigation. It never happened.

It wasn’t long before that UFO mania had swept the nation. UFO reports were pouring in from all over the country. This was the era that sparked Hollywood’s love-affair with aliens, leading to blockbusters like E.T. the Extra Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Walter Cronkite anchored a 1966 CBS report titled, “UFO: Friend, Foe or Fantasy?” which featured the Dexter incident.

But after the UFO fever subsided, after the Hollywood productions made their millions, after NASA’s moon program closed for good—in short, after America moved on — the question remained: what really happened in Dexter that March?

Harry Willnus was a teacher in the area at the time. He has been searching for an answer to that question for the last 51 years.

During the course of that half-century, Willnus has spoken with many of the most important humans involved in the incident.

Nothing he’s heard or seen has convinced him that the official version of events is the correct one.

“I’ve been studying this,” Willnus said, “I’m convinced that planet Earth is being observed.”

Willnus described a particularly strange series of events involving Allen Hynek, the scientist brought in by the Air Force to investigate the incident.

One afternoon not long after the sightings, Hynek spent several hours looking for evidence in the Dexter swamp. He was accompanied by Washtenaw County Sheriff Douglas Harvey, who led the local response to the sightings.

Afterwards, on the drive back from the swamp, Hynek told the sheriff he still did not have an explanation for the sightings. But later, back at the sheriff’s office, Hynek received a phone call from Washington, D.C.

“Hynek stepped out of the office, took the call, came back in a few minutes later. Harvey described him as looking a bit shaken,” Willnus said. “He had his head down and he was mumbling ‘Swamp gas, swamp gas, it was swamp gas.’ I don’t think Hynek knew what swamp gas was.”

Listen to our full interview with Harry Willnus above, in which he recounts a UFO sighting of his own.

Source: “Aliens or swamp gas? The mystery of Michigan’s most famous UFO sighting lives on“, Michigan Radio, March 28, 2017.

1998 : Michigan Senate Adopts Detroit Public Schools Takeover Bill
Mar 25 all-day

On March 25, 1998, the Senate adopted the so-called Detroit Public Schools takeover bill, and sent the legislation to the desk of Gov. John Engler. The measure authorized Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer to appoint a reform board to operate the troubled Detroit Public Schools district.

Source: MIRS Archives

2018 : Greek Independence Day Celebrated in Detroit
Mar 25 all-day

Sparty Celebrates Greek Independence Day.


Hundreds of revelers paraded through Greektown to celebrate Greek Independence Day and to commemorate more than a century of Greek history in downtown Detroit.

As cheering crowds packed the narrow sidewalks on Monroe Avenue, floats and a marching band passed, along with dozens of people who marched while waving Greek flags. A group of youths dressed as Evzones, who are members of traditional Greek honor guard units, joined together in a ring and danced in the street.

“We thought we would have this parade … to show people that there is still a significant Greek community and we still have a great deal to offer this city in its continuing renaissance,”  the Rev. Michael Varlamos of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Clair Shores said. “It’s not just about Greek independence, it’s about freedom.”

Greektown became the first home of Greek residents in metro Detroit in the 1890s, said this year’s parade grand marshal, Steve Kalkanis. Thousands started businesses through the next few decades. Many eventually moved to the suburbs; there are about 150,000 people of Greek descent living in metro Detroit, said Kalkanis, who is the chairman of Henry Ford Hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery and  the medical director of the hospital’s Center for Cancer Surgery.

The official holiday, on March 25, celebrates the start of Greece’s war for independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821.

The parade has grown since its founding 17 years ago, and with the recent surge of downtown businesses, the event has gone from a relatively short parade to a daylong family outing, Kalkanis said.

For the full article, see Daniel Bethencourt, “Hundreds fill Greektown for Independence Day march“, Detroit Free Press, April 17, 2016

Detroit Greek Independence Day website.