In 29 chapters, spanning more than three centuries, Boyd offers an unusual retelling of Detroit’s past, with black voices on nearly every page. The arc of his narrative is a familiar one in which he traces the transformation of Detroit from a French trading outpost to the world’s automobile production center to a national symbol of urban decline and rebirth. Along the way, Boyd introduces us to some of Detroit’s key social movements: abolitionism, union organizing, civil rights and black power. But this book is not a conventional urban history. Boyd’s purpose is to celebrate the black men and women, the city’s “fearless freedom fighters,” who would otherwise remain on history’s margins.
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