2021 : Senator Carl Levin Dies
Jul 29 all-day

Carl Levin, a liberal Democrat who rose from a prominent Detroit family to become Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator and helped set military priorities and investigate corporate behavior for decades before retiring in 2015, died Thursday. He was 87.

A defender of Senate traditions, even when his own party moved to change them, Levin, who was trained as a lawyer, twice served as chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, despite having never served in uniform himself.

As such, he helped set U.S. military strength and policy, including in Afghanistan and Iraq, though he voted against authorizing the use of force in the latter.

He also investigated questionable Pentagon spending practices and played a key role in overturning the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule that prohibited gay service members from openly acknowledging their sexual orientation prior to 2011. As head of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, he led probes questioning what he saw as corporate excesses, including those involving Enron, Apple and Goldman Sachs.

As a Michigan senator, he defended the auto industry, supported the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler in 2008-09 and backed numerous projects including Detroit’s RiverWalk, the M-1 Light Rail and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, among others. For years, he fought for a new Soo Lock — efforts that only began to bear fruit after he left office.

Sources :

Todd Spangler, “Carl Levin, Michigan’s longest serving U.S. senator, dies at 87”, Detroit Free Press, July 29, 2021.

Carl Levin. “Getting to the Heart of the Matter: My 36 Years in the Senate“.  Detroit, Michigan : Wayne State University Press, [2021]

National Lipstick Day
Jul 29 all-day

For makeup lovers, July 29 has become a day to bring out their favorite lipstick shades and flaunt their colored pouts, shop their favorite brands at discounted prices and even score free tubes — if they wake up early enough.

Designated as National Lipstick Day, its purpose is to encourage people everywhere to make statements and empower themselves through their makeup, according to National Day Calendar.

Albeit being a national holiday, National Lipstick Day has its roots in Michigan. U-M Dearborn alumna and international beauty mogul founder of Huda Beauty, Huda Kattan is credited as its modern-day founder.

Kattan graduated from U-M Dearborn with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2007, and her alma mater celebrates her.

In honor of her accomplishments and to inspire other students to pursue their dreams, the university is launching a social media campaign, said Ann Marie Aliotta, director of Institutional Advancement Marketing and Communications.

Source: Andrea Perez Balderrama, “U-M Dearborn grad Huda Kattan is the brains behind National Lipstick Day“, Detroit Free Press, July 26, 2019.

1863 : Henry Ford Born
Jul 30 all-day

Born on July 30, 1863 on a Dearborn, Michigan farm, Henry Ford created the Ford Model T car in 1908 and went on to develop the assembly line mode of production, which revolutionized the industry. As a result, Ford sold millions of cars and became a world-famous company head. The company lost its market dominance but had a lasting impact on other technological development and U.S. infrastructure. Ford died on April 7, 1947.

A rather dashing Henry Ford with his Model T

Sources :

The Life of Henry Ford biography provided by the Henry Ford Museum.

Henry Ford biography from

Lee Iacocca, “Driving Force: Henry Ford”, Time, December 7, 1998.

Henry Ford / a Sarah Colt Productions film for American Experience ; a production of WGBH Boston ; written, produced, and directed by Sarah Colt. [United States] : Distributed by PBS Distribution, [2013]

A vast amount of information has been written or conveyed about Henry Ford besides the new PBS “American Experience” documentary, including these works:

“The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century”: This book by Steven Watts, one of the historians interviewed for the PBS film, has been called the best one-volume biography about the automotive innovator, a comment made by then-curator Bob Casey on the Henry Ford blog.

“Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company and a Century of Progress”: Historian Douglas Brinkley, a frequent TV commentator on political and media issues and a source for the documentary, wrote this 2004 detailed look at Ford and the corporation he built.

“Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City”: This 2010 book by Greg Grandin, a professor of history at New York University and one of the documentary’s experts, explores Ford’s attempt to grow rubber — and create an American-style small-town community — in the Brazilian Amazon.

“Ford: The Man and the Machine”: This gossipy tome by Robert Lacey was described as “a treasure trove of inside information on the First Family of the Automobile” by the Free Press when it hit local stores in 1986.

“Ford: The Man and the Machine”: Cliff Robertson played Ford in a two-part 1987 TV movie that featured Hope Lange as his wife and R.H. Thompson as their son, Edsel.

“The Fords: An American Epic”: By Peter Collier and David Horowitz, this 1987 account of the Ford dynasty lost the timing race to Lacey’s book. But the Free Press called it “a well-documented, brightly written, highly anecdotal account of the Ford family fortunes.”

1864 : Company K Displays Courage at Battle of the Crater (Part 3)
Jul 30 all-day

“Among our troops was a company of Indians, belonging to the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. They did splendid work (at the Battle of the Crater), crawling to the very top of the bank, and rising up, they would take a quick and fatal aim, then drop quickly down again”

Lieutenant William H. Randall of Company I, captured during the Battle of the Crater, remembered that the “Indians showed great coolness. They would fire at Johnny and then drop down. Would then peak over the works and try to see the effect of their shot.”

Liutenant Bowley claimed to have seen that “some of them were mortally wounded, and clustering together, covered their heads with their blouses, chanted a death song, and died — four of them in a group”

Source : Jack Dempsey, Michigan and the Civil War : A Great and Bloody Sacrifice, Charleston, S.C. : History Press, 2011, p. 130.

1864 : Company K Participates in Battle of the Crater (Part 1)
Jul 30 all-day

Company K of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters resting after the Battle of the Wilderness.

A contingent of 150 Native Americans who comprised Company K of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters during the Civil War fought in major battles and included Odawa Indians from Emmet County, where their descendants live today. (Other members came from the Michigan Chippewa and Potawatami tribes, and a few even came from Canada.)

The political climate during the Civil War played a major role in shaping Indian attitudes, according to Eric Hemenway, a member of the tribe. Because they weren’t American citizens, when the Civil War began the Union banned them from fighting, while the South, by contrast, recruited 10,000 to 20,000 Indian troops. But after the Union incurred heavy battle losses, the ban was lifted to allow Indian volunteers in 1863.

Upset with the government for violating treaty agreements and seizing their land, the majority of Indians in Michigan refused to fight in the war, which they didn’t consider their own. But the Odawas from Company K, who have a legacy of fighting in their culture, mostly saw the war as a chance to prove their mettle and become heroes, or as a chance to fight for their freedom and against slavery. Eric Hemingway also said that some of their fathers fought against Americans in the War of 1812, so they may have been making amends.

The Indians were chosen as sharpshooters because of their skill in shooting muskets. One of the qualifications to join the regiment was to accurately hit a target 100 yards away five times in a row, with every shot falling within a 20- inch circle.

Most notably, Company K fought in the tortuous, nine-month-long siege of Petersburg, from June 15, 1864, to April 2, 1865, the eventual outcome being a decisive Union victory. Early on, however, locked in trench warfare, the Union command set about to blow a hole through rebel lines, digging a tunnel more than 500 feet that ended about 20 feet below the Confederate trenches and, on July 30, igniting 8,000 pounds of black powder. After the blast, which sent debris everywhere and killed hundreds of Confederate soldiers and even some Union troops, a contingent of black soldiers and Indians from Company K were sent in to the crater to breach the rebel line. The charge turned out to be a bloodbath, however, as rebel soldiers easily mowed down the troops. Today, the massacre is known as the Battle of the Crater.

“It became a turkey shoot, and blood in the crater was about a halffoot deep, like a pool,” Eric Hemenway, researcher and tribal repatriation specialist for the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians said, adding that the crater was almost 200 feet long and 30 feet deep, with a width between 60 and 80 feet.

Noticing that many of their comrades were mortally wounded, several Indians in the crater raised their shirts over their heads and sung a traditional death chant to as a preparation for death. One of the heroic Indians in Company K, Antoine Scott from Oceana County, is said to have repeatedly crawled up the side of the crater to shoot rebel soldiers, defending those who were chanting.

“Union soldiers were amazed by his courage to protect his buddies,” he said, adding that Mr. Scott was twice nominated for the medal of bravery.

Company K was also known for its muskets which had artistic cultural engravings, he said, and whenever an Indian was killed, the Confederate soldiers would hastily seize these prize guns. Indians were also skilled at sneaking up to Confederate troops in the trenches, stealthily rolling on the ground with twigs and other foliage in their hair for camouflage, which were skills they had learned as hunters. The Union soldiers are said to have adopted many of their tactics, Mr. Hemenway said.

Because of cultural and language barriers, however, the Indians from Company K didn’t mingle much with other Union soldiers.

“They were Union soldiers, but at the same time they were their own group, and were treated as the Indian company,” he said.

About half of the 150 soldiers in Company K returned home alive from the war. Most had a hard time establishing themselves back in their communities, he said, and were disappointed to see the political climate hadn’t changed. Treaty rights were still being shunned and their land was freely taken. Despite fighting to win the war for the Union, their efforts had seemingly done little for their own people.

“They put their lives on the line for three years and things are just the way they were as they left. They didn’t have a hero’s welcome with open arms, they came back as Indians. They were accepted, at best, but not as Civil War veterans,” he said.

The names of many Indian soldiers who served are still unknown today because the army didn’t issue them dog tags, he said, although some bought them from local merchants or crafted their own.

For the full article, see Ted Booker, “Researcher Tells Story of Michigan Indian Sharpshooters Who Served in Civil War”, St. Ignace News, January 20, 2011.

1864 : Company K Participates in Battle of the Crater (Part 2)
Jul 30 all-day

On July 30, 1864, the Union forces detonated four tons of black powder in a tunnel that had been dug directly under the Confederate works at Petersburg. The blast cut out a crater in the earth around twenty-five feet deep and about 250 feet across. Four divisions of Union troops, rushed into what they thought was a break in the enemy earthworks, only to have 4400 of them killed that afternoon and evening as the Rebels counterattacked. As the day progressed, the Confederate forces surrounded the crater and poured round upon round of artillery into the hole, while the Union troops tried to fight their way out of the crater.

In the midst of this confusion the Sharpshooters charged the rebel works adjoining the crater but the enemy fought back, forcing the Sharpshooters to retreat as the rebels retook the works. One of the men who distinguished himself in the action was Sergeant Antoine Scott, an Ottawa Indian of Company K. He and a comrade refused to take cover and deliberately drew the enemy fire so their fellows might escape. Only when their troops were well out of the works did they make their withdrawal. Of Scott and his partner Major Asahel W. Nichols wrote:

Always brave and daring they particularly distinguished themselves in the battle of July 30, 1864, before Petersburg, Virginia. Where their conduct, in calmer moment, would be deemed rashness for refusing to screen themselves from the enemy’s fire behind the captured works, they stood boldly up and deliberately and calmly fired their pieces until the enemy was almost upon them, when instead of laying down their arms and surrendering, ran the gauntlet of shot and shell and escaped….

The remnants of the regiment was later among the first to enter Riohmond to share the great victory the North had won. Of the hundred men in Company K who left home to fight for their country, more than half were killed in battle and practically all the rest were wounded.

For more information about Company K, see January 12, 1863, mustered into the army, and May 9, 1864, Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia. Source: Twice Told Tales of Michigan and Her Soldiers in the Civil War, Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission, 1966, p.47-48.

1928 : Chrysler Buys Dodge Brothers
Jul 30 all-day

The purchase, which quadrupled Chrysler’s size, was criticized, but Walter Chrysler defended his decision. “The Chrysler Corp. got the huge Dodge foundry and forges, which enabled it to increase production to other models,” Rosenbusch explained. “By getting the existing Dodge dealer network, the company was able to expand into markets that it didn’t have a share of, especially overseas.”

Source : “Chrysler Buys Dodge Brothers for $170 Million in 1928”, Detroit Free Press, July 24, 2011.

1975 : The Night Jimmy Hoffa Disappears, Never to Be Seen Again
Jul 30 all-day

On July 30, 1975, Jimmy Hoffa left home for an afternoon meeting with Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone, a reputed crime capo in Detroit, and Anthony Provenzano, a New Jersey Teamster boss known to friends as “Tony Pro.” On that night he disappeared, never to be seen again.

For more information, see Pat Zacharias, “The day Jimmy Hoffa didn’t come home”, Detroit News, August 28, 1999 and a Detroit News Photo Gallery.

For more information about Jimmy Hoffa, see Jimmy Hoffa subject heading in the MSU Library Catalog

John Wisely, “40 years later, Jimmy Hoffa mystery endures”, Detroit Free Press, July 30, 2015.

1997 : Charter Schools Declared Constitutional in Michigan
Jul 30 all-day

On July 30, 1997, the Supreme Court overturned two lower court decisions and ruled that charter schools are constitutional.

The future of charter schools in Michigan had been at stake in the case, which began in 1994 when the Council of Organizations and Others for Education About Parochiaid brought suit claiming the authorization of charter schools by the state was unconstitutional.

Source : MIRS Archives.

2018 : Mitten State Blog Celebrates the Pasty
Jul 30 all-day

There are two types of places that you’ll hear the phrase “hands off my pasty!”. One can get you kicked out of an establishment with a cover charge and the other is just any reputable restaurant Up North.

In Michigan, ‘pasty’ means something entirely different than in most parts of the country. Which is great, because I’d rather eat one than wear one. Just gotta remember to pronounce it right (pro tip: if you’re talking about the food, it doesn’t rhyme with ‘hasty’).

Great article about pasty history here: In Michigan, The Pasty Isn’t X-Rated.

Originally posted by Will, Co-Founder | Pasty Enthusiast | But Not That Pasty, “Hands off my pasty, eh!?“, The Mitten State B;pg. July 30, 2018.