1815 : Detroiters Celebrate End of War of 1812
Mar 30 all-day

The War of 1812 left Detroit impoverished. When word reached Michigan about the Treaty of Ghent, which ended America’s second war with Great Britain, Detroiters gathered at Ben Woodworth’s Hotel and held what is called a Pacification Ball to celebrate the war’s formal end.

Noe: One source says March 29th; others say March 30th.   Maybe the ball began on March 29th and went on to the wee hours of the morning.

Source : Michigan is Amazing

The War of 1812 / a production of WNED-TV, Buffalo/Toronto and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc., in association with WETA Washington, D.C. ; a film by Lawrence Hott and Diane Garey ; written by Ken Chowder.   [United States] : PBS Distribution,  2011. 1 DVD videodisc (approximately 120 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. Kline Digital & Multimedia Center (4 West) E354 .W37 2011 VideoDVD  (Also available as part of ROVI Movie Collection) :  For two and a half years, Americans fought Against the British, Canadian colonists, and native nations.  The War of 1812 is worth remembering–a struggle that threatened the existence of Canada, then divided the United States so deeply that the nation almost broke apart. Some of its battles and heroes became legendary, yet its blunders and cowards were just as prominent. With re-enactments, evocative animation and the incisive commentary of key experts, this program presents the conflict that forged the destiny of a continent.

1964 : Michigan’s First Kidney Transplant
Mar 30 all-day

Michigan’s first kidney transplant took place at the University of Michigan, when 15-year old Janice Ottenbacher received an organ from her identical twin sister  Joan on March 30, 1964.

Janice was dying, her kidneys failing. Joan agreed to donate a kidney. And as their parents waited anxiously, the twins successfully survived the first kidney transplant done in Michigan.

Fifty years later, both are healthy and thriving. They both became nurses, got married, had children and grandchildren.

Since the twins’ transplant in 1964, the University of Michigan Transplant Center has done more than 10,026 organ transplants, of which 1,065 were for pediatric patients. Only about a dozen centers nationwide have done that many procedures.

U-M has one of the oldest and largest transplantation programs in the country and U-M surgeons perform transplants of hearts, lungs, pancreases, livers, kidneys, and corneas. About 400 to 450 transplants are done at U-M annually, mostly kidney transplants followed by liver, heart, lung and pancreas.

More information about becoming an organ, tissue, bone marrow or blood donor is available at

Sources :

Michigan History, March/April 2015

“First transplant recipients to help celebrate U-M Transplant Center’s 50th anniversary” University of Michigan Medical Center News Release, May 27, 2014.

1977 : Air Force Announces Closing of Kincheloe Air Force Base in UP
Mar 30 all-day

On March 30, 1977, the U.S. Air Force announced that it would close Kincheloe Air Force base near Sault Ste. Marie and transfer military personnel and equipment to other bases.

Kincheloe had been the financial lifeline to Chippewa, Mackinac and Luce counties in the eastern Upper Peninsula, providing an annual payroll of some $36 million in the economically depressed region.

Gov. Bill Milliken urged President Jimmy Carter to reverse the decisions, saying it would have a devastating effect on the entire state.

The history of Kincheloe dates to 1941. With war raging in Europe and threats arising in the Pacific, the federal government rushed to build Kinross AFB to protect the Soo Locks, which allow shipping to traverse the St. Mary’s River connecting Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

There was some talk of closing the base after World War II, but Cold War tensions and the Korean War kept it alive. In 1956, Kinross–named for the township in which it is located–made the Pentagon list for base closings. The community organized and effectively fought the closing. (The base’s name was changed in 1959 to honor Capt. Iven C. Kincheloe, a Michigan test pilot who died in a training flight over the California desert.)

During Vietnam, Kincheloe housed B-52s and subsequently become part of the SAC defense system, largely serving as a refueling station. The Pentagon announced on March 10, 1976, that Kincheloe would be closed.

Many residents simply did not believe it. “We were not too uneasy,” said Mansfield. “They had cried wolf so many times before.”

But this time the Pentagon was serious. As the reality sank in, the Sault Ste. Marie area first expressed outrage, then panic and finally slipped into a sullen depression.

“People thought this would become a wasteland,” recalled John Campbell, executive director of the Eastern U. P. Regional Planning & Development Commission.

There was good reason for gloom and doom. Scores of businesses near the base–restaurants, gas stations and small stores–immediately closed. Teachers were laid off as students moved away.

It was as though a neutron bomb had hit Kincheloe Air Force Base in 1978. The buildings, desks and equipment were there, but the people were gone–700 civilian workers laid off and 3,200 military personnel transferred.

Fortunately, after the initial cycle of closings and transfer of population, Kincheloe made a comeback.  Kincheloe’s revival came about through aggressive local leadership combined with a willingness of the state and federal governments to help financially. Unlike today, it occurred when budget constraints were less pressing.

In fact, the conversion of Kincheloe is as much a result of luck and good timing as it is of hard work and foresighted planning. While the hope had been to develop a solid manufacturing base for Chippewa County, anchored by an airport industrial park, the result is a hub of state prisons surrounded by a few small industries.

There are five correctional facilities now located at the former base, employing 1,200 workers. Seven manufacturers employ about 250 workers, and service businesses employ an additional 350.


Susan Watson, “It’s Final, Kincheloe Will Close”,  Detroit Free Press, March 31, 1977.

Donald W. Nauss, “Life After Taps Plays at the Base“, Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1993.

1978 : Sex Discrimination Case Leads to Sexual Harassment Law
Mar 30 all-day

On March 30, 1978, a jury was picked in the trial of a suit filed against a Detroit firm by a woman who claims she was fired because she refused to have sex with her boss. Attorneys for Mrs. Maxine Munford said it was the first sex discrimination case of its type to go to trial in the United States.

On her first day of work in 1976, Maxine Munford’s white boss asked her “if she would make love to a white man and if she would slap his face if he made a pass at her.” When she refused his advances, she was fired. .

A month later, she lost the case after a jury of four women and two men found for the company, saying they didn’t find Munford’s testimony credible. Munford happened to be an African American.

“I’m not sorry that I went through with it,” said Maxine Munford, 31, who filed the charges in a lawsuit. “I hope that (despite the loss) it will give other women some incentive . . . and let them know there are certain things that they don’t have to put up with.”

However, due to subsequent publicity, Munford’s charges against her boss would eventually lead to one of the first state laws against sexual harassment, passed in Michigan in 1980.

Carrie N. Baker, “Race, Class, and Sexual Harassment in the 1970s“, Feminist Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring, 2004), pp. 7-27

Battle Creek Enquirer, April 21, 1978

1979 : Kellogg Defends Itself Before Federal Trade Commission
Mar 30 all-day
Image result for fruit loops box cover

Accused of marketing its sugar-coated serials to children by the Federal Trade Commission, the Kellogg Company defended itself by stating it contained no more sugar that other products such as fruit-flavored yogurt or apple pie. The ban on advertisements never materialized, but many years later (2007), the company did stop directing advertising to children under 12 for its products Fruit Loops, Cocoa Crispies, and Apple Jacks.

Source : Michigan Every Day

1998 : The Museum of African American History Renamed for Founder
Mar 30 all-day

The exterior of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan (United States), courtesy of Wikipedia

On March 30, 1998, the Museum of African American History was officially renamed for its founder, Dr. Charles H. Wright.

Source : Detroit Historical Society Facebook page.

Visit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History website.

And Still We Rise, a brief film on what it means to be African American by the Wright Museum of African American History

2018: James Del Rio, Former Legislator, Judge, Activist, Dies
Mar 30 all-day
Image result for james del rio photo

James Del Rio, who was abandoned as a new-born infant and found in a trash can, who marched in Detroit next to Martin Luther King Jr., who served in the Michigan House and as a Detroit Recorders Judge until he was removed by the Supreme Court, has died. He was 94 and living in California.

Mr. De Rio actually died on March 30, but his death was only announced Thursday.

He was one of the most colorful and controversial politicians in Michigan in the 1960s and 1970s, and was unapologetic about how he lived and worked in his life.

Possibly the best description of Mr. Del Rio came from the man himself, printed on a blog he maintained.

“I have,” he wrote, “always lived iconoclastically, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights or days sleep, having slept no more than four hours a night for more than 25 years. Worked too hard and too long, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I’ve lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed my way, made love constantly with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment.”

He also said, “I have lived as a Jew, a black man, a white man and finally a human being.”

Mr. Del Rio was born in January 1924 in Detroit. He never knew his parents as he was abandoned and discovered by a man in a garbage can. Taken to Detroit’s Harper hospital, he was estimated to be about two hours old when found, and given the name William Harper Doe for birth records.

More than a year later he was adopted by James and Mary Cohen – Mr. Cohen was Jewish and Ms. Cohen was black — and given the name James Cohen Jr.

His name was changed to Del Rio when he and his family moved to Dearborn.

Early in his political career he generated some controversy when he was accused of for a while saying he was Hispanic.

Mr. Del Rio went into real estate in 1953, becoming a successful sales agent. He would say later that he sold $2 million worth of properties in his first year alone. Given property values in the early 1950s, $2 million in sales would represent many dozens of properties sold.

He became part of the contentious civil rights movement in Detroit, and played a role in the effort to bring Mr. King to the city. In a now iconic photograph of Mr. King marching down Woodward Avenue in June 1963, Mr. Del Rio can be seen slipping in to Mr. King’s right side. In the same photo, UAW President Walter Reuther is seen at the right, the Rev. C. L. Franklin – another leading Detroit rights activist and father of the legendary Aretha Franklin – is also in the first row and just behind in the second row is then Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh. At the Cobo Hall rally after the March, Mr. King first delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” speech.

Mr. Del Rio won election to the Michigan House in a special election in 1965. While in the House he served on the Judiciary Committee and was very involved in moving civil rights legislation. He had good relations with then-Governor George Romney who was also very passionate about civil rights.

Dennis Cawthorne, who served with Mr. Del Rio in the House, said he was very bright and articulate but could also be very caustic and intimidating.

However, possibly the incident most remember about Mr. Del Rio in the Legislature is that a pistol he was carrying fell out of his jacket and onto the House floor. “It caused a great sensation at the time and added to his reputation as mercurial,” Mr. Cawthorne said.

During the 1967 unrest in Detroit, Mr. Del Rio was arrested, with police claiming he attempted to interfere in the arrest of a suspected looter.

Mr. Del Rio was elected as a Detroit Recorders Judge in 1972. A gun figured in the incident most noted in his judicial career. During a case an attorney pulled out a pistol and put it to his head. Mr. Del Rio then said the attorney, Gerald Dent, who was well-known in the legal community, pointed the gun at him and then at the witness testifying. Mr. Dent was shot dead by police officers in the court. It later came out that Mr. Dent had attempted suicide the day before.

In 1977, Mr. Del Rio was removed from the bench by the Supreme Court for inappropriate behavior, which included boasting about his sexual prowess, calling various people and institutions racist and being rude.

The great Detroit author Elmore Leonard never actually acknowledged that Mr. Del Rio’s case was the genesis of a leading character in his novel “City Primeval,” but the opening scenes read much like the findings against Mr. Del Rio.

Mr. Del Rio remained active in the area and in the 1990s returned to his real estate roots to help set up a mortgage company.

In 2000, he mounted a bid to return to the House, but finished third in the Democratic primary for the old 4th House District.

He had been living in southern California but returned to Detroit for visits periodically. He remained politically interested and was always good for a comment. He called President Donald Trump a “jive turkey” in one of his most recent comments.

MIRS News Service, April 12, 2018.

2020 : When the Motor Stops (Detroit’s Response to COVID-19)
Mar 30 all-day


With Covid-19 spreading in Michigan, ad agency Doner, headquartered in Detroit since the 1930s, chose to send a message of strength and resilience to its city in the form of its new video, ‘When the Motor Stops’.

The spot, shot in black and white, features typically populated portions of Detroit cleared out. Messages of solidarity appear on downtown marquees, including affirmations such as “We love you, Detroit” and “We will get through this together.” A voiceover acknowledges how unnatural the emptiness of the streets feels, especially for “the city on four wheels.” The entirety of the spot serves as a nod to Detroit’s heritage, with referencing including: “Even Henry [Ford] himself would have put it in park.” The video characterizes collective isolation as a sign of togetherness, closing out with the poignant message that “Here, we don’t stop in the name of fear. We stop in the name of love” before fading to text that says “Stay safe, Detroit.”

Doner shot and produced this film over the weekend – safely. The agency’s in-house director shot solo, with the editor cutting and finished the film remotely from home – the same way the rest of Doner’s studio is working. The voice talent recorded from her closet.


Agency: Doner

Director: Zeke Anders

Creative Team: Michael Stelmaszek, Zeke Anders, Alex Demuth

(Strategy: Alex Demuth)

Music: Jon Moshier, Julian Whettlin

(VO: Olivia Hill)

(Script: Michael Stelmaszek)

Production: Jennie Hochthanner, Tony Del Bel

Musician: Low Lumens

Maureen Feighan, “A local ad agency’s ode to Detroit resilience goes viral“, Detroit News, April 3, 2020.

Julie Hinds, “‘A flat-out masterpiece’: Detroit ad on COVID-19 crisis inspires rest of nation“, Detroit Free Press, May 28, 2020.

1818 : First Permanent Protestant Church Established in Michigan
Mar 31 all-day

On March 31, 1818, the Society of Methodists erected a log building near the Rouge River that became Michigan’s first permanent Protestant church.

Source : Detroit Historical Society of Michigan

1871 : New Capitol Building Authorized in Lansing
Mar 31 all-day

On March 31, 1871, Gov. Henry P. Baldwin signed legislation to build a new state capitol building and a building for the temporary use of the state officers. Exactly $1.2 million was set aside for the building. The facility was paid for through a 16 7/8 cent-per-year tax on Michigan residents for six years. The ultimate cost, including furniture, fittings and improvement of the grounds, was $1,427,743.

Construction began in 1872 and was completed Sept. 23, 1878. It’s still the Capitol building Michigan uses today.


The Michigan Senate web page

Stefani Chudnow, “The Lion of Lansing: A Brief History of Michigan’s Capitol Building“, Awesome Mitten Blog, March 28, 2017.