One Man’s Trash is Another’s Treasure

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Buy a piece of AmericaWhen my wife and I visited Detroit, Michigan some months ago for a former Pastor’s wife’s memorial services, we were not aware of the real economic condition of Detroit’s Black community. We now know than for young entrepreneurial students and practitioners, Detroit provides opportunities galore.

It was recently announced that 40,000 buildings would be torn down in the city that built Motown and Joe Louis’ (the Brown Bomber) hometown. There was an attempt to sell-off all of the city’s art treasures from the local museum. These efforts failed, thank God. There is an effort by elements of the Black community to revive the city by selling properties of the city to individuals and groups.

Homes are said to be selling for the price of an automobile, with five to seven year mortgages. One news report showed a skyscraper for just a few million dollars. One company, Million Man Properties Real Estate Limited Partnership and Progressive Designers Inc., is offering classes and other services on how to purchase Detroit properties. With a history that includes Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma (in 1921) and Rosewood, Florida (in about 1923), I wonder, “why aren’t more of us looking at Detroit?”

There are other cities in this great land where bargains galore are available. Parts of Atlanta, Georgia, and elsewhere, are just waiting to be plucked. Who will be the ones to pick the plums? We should all remember that the country was not built by a person alone, but by groups. If five people would put together $1,000 each, they could join in what will be Detroit’s future. These are two cities I have seen for myself. They both are beautiful cities. We all should want to own part of it. Ask yourself what is in your future, what is your legacy, what will you pass on to your children and/or your community? Will you be sitting around saying what you should have or could have contributed? . . . . But!

Yes, I know that manufacturing built Detroit, and it has died, but what is the next big idea? Maybe it is just tourism where visitors who want to see the once great city where cars were built, where a Black man named Elijah McCoy had more than fifty patents, including one (in 1872) which was a device that automatically lubricated the steam engine.

Tourists still pour in by the busloads to see Hitsville (aka Motown) where Berry Gordy created the nation’s first and most popular Black recording company. While we were there, we watched as the busses came. Then, we went back downtown to the hotel, to find a restaurant. Unfortunately, former Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, could not see the handwriting on the wall and tried to use the city’s resources to party it up. Sadly, the city that gave birth to Motown rhythm and blues was taken down by a Hip Hop mayor.

This city, however, can be given new birth and can create wealth for the entrepreneurs of today who can rebuild this once great “Chocolate City”.