A History Of West Adams Told Through Its Iconic Architecture

One of the most realistic depictions of Los Angeles comes in the form of a television show. It’s not a mid-2010s sad-comedy of L.A.’s depressing psycho-geography, nor is it a mid-2000s reality show of L.A. as harbinger of loosening social mores. It’s Six Feet Under, the HBO classic from 2001 to 2005. The show’s legacy is one of beautifully crafted family melodrama. It painted hauntingly nuanced portraits of the Fisher family, dipping in and out of the family’s grief, loss, and growth, demonstrating how the boundary between life and death is often more fluid than we care to believe. It also made an icon of its main set piece: the Fisher family funeral home.

augustemarquis_residence.jpgThe Auguste Marquis Residence. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

The Fisher & Sons (later, Fisher & Diaz) Funeral Home sits at 2302 West 25th Street, right off Arlington Avenue. It’s a grand Victorian-style house with a wraparound porch and a massive front yard. It’s officially known as the Auguste Marquis Residence, built in 1904 for the eponymous wealthy Swiss gold miner. The house now serves as the headquarters for the Filipino Federation of America, a “quasi-religious” group and one of the first Filipino organizations in the nation.

The house has remained, in spite of its different encounters with wealth, spirituality, and media, and in spite of the different families and groups walking through its doors. It also sits right in the center of West Adams; the neighborhood roughly occupies a region that’s bordered by Figueroa Street on the east, Pico Boulevard on the north, West Boulevard on the west, and Jefferson Boulevard on the south. When most people think of wealth in Los Angeles—the kind of wealth that would afford a house as grandiose as the Auguste Marquis Residence—they do not think of West Adams. The L.A. Times’ Mapping L.A. project gives it a median income of $38,209, which is low for Los Angeles (note: the L.A. Times cuts off the neighborhood at Crenshaw Boulevard, therefore only covering half of the area the West Adams Heritage Association says the neighborhood encompasses). Jefferson Park, a neighborhood within the West Adams area, has an even lower median income of $32,654.

How did West Adams go from a neighborhood of Victorian mansions to a neighborhood where the median income is less than a third of what is necessary to buy a house in contemporary L.A.?

For an answer, or at least the outline of one, we can look to the buildings themselves.

West Adams is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. By the turn of the 20th century, it was already the go-to neighborhood for wealthy transplants to Southern California. People like Auguste Marquis brought money to Los Angeles and built their businesses in the city. The rise of streetcars, as well the large plots of land in Los Angeles, encouraged the development of West Adams into one of the first commuter neighborhoods of the city. The wealthy wanted to return home to stately mansions where they escape downtown and enjoy the leisure time afforded to them after moving to L.A. from the post-Civil War regions of the eastern U.S.

In true make-the-West-what-you-want-of-it style, the mansions of these businessmen ran the gamut of architectural styles. Marquis preferred Queen Anne, but the neighborhood includes other subsets of Victorian architecture as well as Craftsman homes, Spanish Revival homes, and Beaux-Arts homes. For one businessman in particular, building a house in West Adams was an opportunity to advance the very item on which he was making his fortune: hollow terra cotta building blocks.

Lycurgus Lindsay was a Midwest born-and-raised businessman who moved to Los Angeles seeking out any business opportunity under the desert sun. He came across the Western Art Tile Company and became its President; not long after, they started production on the apparently groundbreaking innovation of hollow terra cotta building blocks. Lindsay, a rich, rich man, developed the plans for his own estate while serving as president of Western Art, seeking out the help of architect Charles F. Whittlesey to build the unique home. Once the mansion at 3424 West Adams Boulevard was finished, American Carpenter and Builder featured it in its October 1913 issue for being both earthquake and fire proof (a fairly impressive claim in 1913). The large house contrasted with the architecture in the area, featuring a Vienna Secession aesthetic, which prioritizes geometry and abstraction, instead of the revivalist or arts and crafts style of Lindsay’s neighbors.

Lindsay himself only lived in the house for a few years; according to rumors, actor Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle moved in soon after him and lived there in the late 1910s. The house now sits behind a Polish church, which maintains the property.

After 1945, West Adams transitioned from majority white to majority black (whites were moving further west into neighborhoods like Brentwood and Beverly Hills; this parallels the white flight that would occur in Compton in the 1950s). The change started with affluent black Angelenos—specifically famous entertainers of the area, like Oscar-winner Hattie McDaniel, who could afford to buy homes in the wealthy area. Enough black artists moved to the area to have it dubbed Sugar Hill; it encompassed the small section of West Adams roughly between Western Avenue, Normandie Boulevard, Adams Boulevard, and Washington Boulevard. At the time, though, it technically wasn’t legal for these artists to buy these properties; Los Angeles was still deep in the throes of its racist housing covenants. So, when Sugar Hill grew in popularity, the remaining white residents of West Adams began to cry foul. McDaniel and the other residents hired attorney and journalist Loren Miller to represent them in a case against the white homeowners, eventually winning and setting the precedent to take down racist housing laws in the country (Miller eventually went on to argue in the Shelley v. Kraemer case, in which the Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional to enforce restrictive real estate laws).

This win reflected the types of housing opportunities West Adams presented to black families in Los Angeles. Josh Sides, in his book L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present, explains how:

In Compton, West Adams, and the community of Leimert Park, on the far western edge of South Central, African American families found better housing stock, reduced crime, greater integration, and better schools than they had experienced in South Central and Watts. For these families, daily life more closely approximated the mythical Southern California lifestyle of comfort and peace.

The economic success of these black communities led to the rapid development of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance company. The Life Insurance company started in the mid 1920s when William Nickerson Jr. and a couple other businessmen moved to Los Angeles and realized none of the black citizens were able to buy life insurance. The trio sought to create a company to insure the black community, which no white-owned insurance companies would do, and the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance company was born. It served the Sugar Hill and West Adams neighborhoods for years, solidifying itself as the largest black-owned insurance company in the Western U.S. The business grew until it needed to seek out a larger office. Enter: the official Golden State Mutual Life Insurance company headquarters at 1999 West Adams Boulevard.

The building’s architect, Paul Revere Williams, was a high-profile black architect who had built homes for several celebrities including Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. Building the winged, statuesque structure for Golden State Mutual was a celebration of black economic power in Los Angeles. Golden State knew its worth to the community as well; it would go on to invest in a massive collection of black art and murals that were on display in its offices until the company went into financial decline in the 2000s. Before that decline, though, West Adams was an icon of black neighborhood and community viability. It represented an opportunity and lifestyle for citizens who were otherwise marginalized across Southern California.

The bubble of West Adams wouldn’t last forever, though, and the course started to turn when the ever-imposing cult of the vehicle came charging through the neighborhood. In the 1950s, the Santa Monica Freeway broke ground. The freeway to the sea was a huge undertaking for the city, involving the merging of state and national transportation infrastructure, and the freeway’s route through Los Angeles was the largest point of contention in its development. It also cut straight through West Adams. Sides describes the community’s response:

“Early in 1954, the California State Highway Commission selected a freeway route that cut a 500-foot-wide swath through what the California Eagle proudly described as the “most prosperous, best kept and most beautiful Negro-owned property in the country,” including Sugar Hill. Believing that the selection of this route was at best insensitive and at worst racially motivated, a group of West Adams residents immediately formed the Adams-Washington Freeway Committee, choosing several delegates to present the community’s grievances to the commission in Sacramento.”

The group cited black Angeleno’s difficulty with buying homes in other neighborhoods, and suggested the Commission move the freeway north of Washington Boulevard, to a community that was still predominantly white. The Commission delayed its decision, but ultimately kept the original plan. As a result, the freeway bisected the thriving West Adams neighborhood. By January 1965, the Santa Monica Freeway finally reached the ocean, leaving upturned neighborhoods in its wake.

Meanwhile, southeast of West Adams, the community of Watts was facing its own level of housing discrimination. It came to a head in August of 1965, when a black man was beaten by police officers after being pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. The Watts community rose up in rebellion against a system that was constricting black communities to certain neighborhoods in L.A., and subsequently denying them their civil rights.

Watts faced a post-riots economic decline, with businesses destroyed and wealthier black families choosing to move out of the neighborhood as crime rose and resources suffered. A similar effect happened in West Adams after the freeway cut through the neighborhood—affluent black families started moving into communities like Baldwin Hills, and West Adams (which at this point was literally a fractured neighborhood) no longer sustained an economically robust community. The decline would reverberate through the decades. Golden State Mutual closed in 2009, and the building was in disrepair by 2011. Before that, the Wells-Halliday mansion at 2146 West Adams Boulevard had to be saved from demolition in 1989 by the West Adams Historic Association.

But the neighborhood has shown its resiliency during trying times, and the buildings would remain to serve a variety of purposes. Three and a half years after it was saved, the Wells-Halliday mansion was repurposed as the Carl Bean AIDS Care Center. The home itself, a 12-room Dutch Colonial estate, was built for Eliza W. Halliday in 1901. Halliday was the widow of a “Civil War millionaire,” according to Curbed, and she lived in the mansion until about 1920.

IMG_4108.JPG
The Wells-Halliday Mansion. (Photo by Annie Lloyd/LAist)

At the time of the mansion’s conversion, “HIV and AIDS increasingly took a toll on blacks and Latinos in the community,” noted the L.A. Times. The beauty and elegance of the home made it a warm place for AIDS patients to live out the final days of their lives. When the center first opened, Michael Weinstein (yes, that Michael Weinstein) said, “Having a combination of old and new is what makes the hospice work. The patients feel like they belong: This is, after all, their last home.” The center was named for Carl Bean, a black gay minister and the founder of the Minority AIDS Project. The Center eventually closed in 2006 after serving the community for 23 years (it closed amid allegations that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was overcharging the County for operating funds). At the time of its closure, AIDS activist Tony Wafford told the L.A. Times that “[t]he facility was critical in raising awareness of AIDS in the black community.”

The present-day West Adams, like many L.A. neighborhoods, is both a reflection of the past and a beacon for the future. As of the 2000 census, the neighborhood is between 30-50% black and around 50% Latino, depending on the section of the neighborhood. It has come full-circle in housing relevance, becoming one of the most competitive home-buying neighborhoods in the nation this year. The current median home price for the neighborhood is $550,688, according to Redfin.

Sixty years ago the Santa Monica Freeway completely upended the neighborhood make-up. Now, the Expo Line follows a similar geographic path, bringing development in its wake. The effects of this development are still in nascent stages, but the neighborhood has seen some early signs of what the change will look like; last year, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center, formerly the first black-owned hospital in Los Angeles, was turned into an on-site art exhibit called Human Condition. It was curated by a local art broker and advisor named John Wolf, who declares himself committed to “assisting private clients and corporations in creating outstanding collections of fine art.” West Adams isn’t foreign to corporate-owned art; the art collection in the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company’s building was one of the biggest collections of black art in the nation. It had to auction off 94 of the pieces in 2007 when the company faced bankruptcy. Human Condition featured artists like Matthew Day Jackson, Jenny Holzer, David Benjamin Sherry, Gregory Crewdson, and Chantal Joffe, all of whom are white.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

A ‘Michigan Matters’ Look At Detroit 1967 The Past, Present And Future Of Our Region

By CBS Detroit

Former Detroit Police Chief Isaiah McKinnon was a young officer in 1967 and recalled with gripping detail how he was pulled over by white officers while driving in the Motor City who drew guns on him.

detroit 67 roundtable A Michigan Matters Look At Detroit 1967 The Past, Present And Future Of Our Region

The Detroit 67 Roundtable includes former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon, retail giant Hudson’s family member Joe Hudson and Detroit Historical Museum’s Marlowe Stoudamire. Carol Cain hosts. (credit: Meggan Jacobs/CBS 62)

“I knew they were going to shoot me, so I got down on the floor and moved the pedals with my hands and speed away,” McKinnon said.

It was a tinderbox time with racial strife so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Joseph L. Hudson Jr. was in charge of his family’s retail empire which included Hudson’s stores in Detroit and the region. The longtime community leader was called upon by then Gov. George Romney and Detroit Mayor Jerry Cavanaugh to convene a panel of leaders to figure how to pick up the pieces following five days of uprising in Detroit that began 50 years ago this Sunday.

“Not a single person I asked to be involved said ‘no,’” Hudson recalled.

He had Henry Ford II and CEOs of other two automakers, CEOs from the major banks headquartered in Detroit, Judge Damon Keith, and others including three young African American activists under the age of 20.

“It was important to have everyone at the table,” Hudson said. He added the conversations were raw and eye opening for everyone at that table.

McKinnon and Hudson appear with Marlowe Stoudamire, Detroit 67 Project Director, Detroit Historical Society, who talk with “Michigan Matters” Senior Producer and Host Carol Cain about the impact of 1967 on the region.

Stoudamire is a millenial and wasnt born then. But he has spent the past few years working with the Detroit Historical Society steering the project which takes a fascinating look of Detroit.

“It isn’t only about 1967,” he explained.

chatman mercer A Michigan Matters Look At Detroit 1967 The Past, Present And Future Of Our Region

Patrina Chatman, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions for the Wright Museum; and Valerie Mercer, curator of African American Art for the Detroit Institute of Arts (credit: Meggan Jacobs/CBS 62)

Also appearing on the show is Patrina Chatman, Director & Curator of Exhibits, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American Studies; and Valerie Mercer, Curator of the DIA.

They talk about their respective 1967 exhibits which open to the public this Sunday.

You can hear more by watching “Michigan Matters” 11:30 a.m. Sunday on CBS 62.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Advancing Access to Mental Health Care in the U.S. And Around the World

(HealthNewsDigest.com) – As a child, Francine Conway often walked down dirt roads in Guyana to fetch water and wash clothes in a river.

Today, she is the first African-American dean of one of the world’s leading professional schools of psychology: the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

And she plans to expand the school’s reach, to assist areas inside and outside the U.S. that lack access to mental health care.

GSAPP, home to the nation’s first university-based PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) program, offers the top-rated PsyD programs in clinical and school psychology and the sole American Psychological Association-accredited PsyD program within the Association of American Universities (AAU).

Before joining Rutgers in July 2016, she chaired the Psychology Program at Adelphi University’s Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies in Garden City, New York. She earned a doctorate from the institute after graduating from Cornell University and Columbia University.

Conway’s research largely focuses on understanding the internal lives of children, including those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorders, chronic stressors and trauma impacts. Collaborating with experts in Germany and the U.K., she has won international recognition for work on the psychodynamic treatment of children with ADHD. Her new book, Cultivating Compassion: A Psychodynamic Understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is aimed at practitioners but can help parents.

Now as GSAPP’s dean, she intends to make the school a more active resource for areas in need of better access to care, by disseminating the best evidence-based practices for psychotherapy and treatment.

This commitment began with Conway’s childhood in a nation that has one of the world’s highest suicide rates but no doctoral or master’s degree programs in psychology, and few mental health professionals.

“My grandmother took me and my cousins to the almshouses, where destitute folks lived, every week,” Conway said. “We brought food, said prayers, sang for them and did whatever we could to lift their spirits. That really got me interested in psychology, especially with a social justice bent.”

One of Conway’s plans is to develop a train-the-trainer model, to help make needed treatment more accessible to remote areas. GSAPP distinguished professor Terry Wilson, for example, is working with other universities to train people in India to provide targeted mental health interventions. Skype and mobile apps could also help provide treatment.

“We cannot physically treat the needs of everyone around the world, and we can’t produce enough psychologists to meet that need, but we can train other folks,” Conway said.

She also intends to develop a Rutgers-based, state-of-the-art integrated behavioral health program for the treatment of children. It would include primary care physicians, social workers, psychologists, nurses, nutritionists and other professionals to increase access to behavioral health care and hopefully serve as a model for such programs in the U.S.

Looking back at her origins in Guyana, Conway said, “Never in a million years did I think that I would be here. When you meet a child, you never know what that child will become, what they’re going to do and what they’ll accomplish, so we can’t write people off. Nurture them and give them every opportunity to be their best selves.”

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Has the Moment for Environmental Justice Been Lost?

Ten years later, the stairway of a house destroyed by Hurricane Katrina still stands in Waveland, Mississippi. The EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice has funded projects on the Gulf Coast to address the impact of pollution on minority and low-income communities. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Given how President Donald Trump has taken aim at the Environmental Protection Agency with regulatory rollbacks and deep proposed budget cuts, it may come as no surprise that the Office of Environmental Justice is on the chopping block.

This tiny corner of the EPA was established 24 years ago to advocate for minorities and the poor, populations most likely to face the consequences of pollution and least able to advocate for themselves.

It does so by acting as a middleman, connecting vulnerable communities with those who can help them. It heads a group that advises EPA officials about injustices and another that brings together representatives from other federal agencies and the White House to swap proposals.

When it works, all the talk leads to grants, policies and programs that change lives.

In the Arkwright and Forest Park communities in Spartanburg, South Carolina, residents were living near contaminated industrial sites and a landfill — and dying of respiratory illnesses and cancer at extraordinary rates. They used a $20,000 environmental justice grant from the EPA as seed money to form partnerships with local businesses and government agencies. Those alliances, in turn, helped bring more than $250 million in infrastructure, community health centers, affordable housing, environmental cleanups and job training to the area.

Trump’s budget proposal would effectively eliminate the office and the $2 million it takes to operate it. An EPA spokesperson suggested in a statement that the agency doesn’t need a special arm devoted to environmental justice to continue this work.

“Environmental justice is an important role for all our program offices, in addition to being a requirement in all rules EPA issues,” the statement said. “We will work with Congress to help develop and implement programs and continue to work within the Agency to evaluate new ideas to properly address environmental justice issues on an agency-wide basis.“

In theory, this is right. Federal agencies are required to consider the impacts of environmental and health-related decisions on the poor and minorities anyway — President Bill Clinton mandated they do so in an executive order. But, in practice, that order was vague and didn’t carry the force of law, leaving each president to decide how little, or how much, to do.

Now, with the Office of Environmental Justice’s fate in doubt, it’s become achingly apparent that well before Trump, those who purported to champion environmental justice — primarily Democratic legislators and presidents — did little to codify the progress and programs related to it, even when they were best positioned politically to do so.

“We haven’t done enough,” acknowledged Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Booker and other Democrats are racing to file bills that save the Office of Environmental Justice and similar initiatives on an emergency basis, though they know they have little chance of success.

“There’s no time like the present for doing what is right,” Booker said. “We can’t wait.”

“First Steps”

The concept of environmental justice began bubbling up toward the end of the civil rights movement. But it wasn’t until 1982 that it began to really take hold.

That’s when residents in the town of Afton in Warren County, North Carolina, mounted mass demonstrations against a landfill where the state planned to dump contaminated soil. The dirt was laced with toxins called polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, a now-banned substance that even then, the EPA knew to cause birth defects and potentially cancer.

“We know why they picked us,” the Rev. Luther G. Brown, pastor of Coley Springs Baptist Church, said at the time. “It’s because it’s a poor county — poor politically, poor in health, poor in education and because it’s mostly black. Nobody thought people like us would make a fuss.”

The protests and subsequent lawsuits didn’t stop the landfill; in the years since, the site has actually expanded. But the uproar was enough to spark Congress’ attention.

In 1983, a government report found that three of the four landfills it examined were located in some of the region’s poorest or predominantly black communities. In 1987, a more expansive survey by the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice found that nationally, hazardous waste facilities were more likely to be located in predominantly minority communities.

“These were invisible problems in invisible communities until they organized themselves and started to have their own dialogue with EPA,” said Vernice Miller-Travis, a former member of the advisory council convened by the Office of Environmental Justice.

Pressure was mounting for the government to act.

In 1990, the EPA took a look at its policies, for the first time examining environmental risks through the lens of race and class. It issued a report in 1992 that found that “EPA should give more explicit attention to environmental equity issues,” collect better data, revise its enforcement and permitting programs, and communicate more with communities of color.

It’s worth noting, this was a hot moment in American politics. President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, was defending his place in the White House against a young Democratic governor named Bill Clinton. The tenor of the debate was radically different from the most recent election; these candidates argued over who was a better environmentalist.

Bush announced the creation of the Office of Environmental Equity, which would evolve into today’s Office of Environmental Justice. Its purpose in the 1990s was the same as it is today: Listen to communities, get their concerns in front of policymakers, funnel grant money into local projects. “We have been negligent,” Clarice Gaylord, the office’s first director told the St. Petersburg Times. “Now we will have to focus more on how we affect people.”

Bush lost the election, but his replacement pushed forward on environmental justice, moving the mission beyond that one EPA office.

Clinton signed an executive order in 1994 requiring federal agencies to consider environmental justice in all of their policies. He established policies that would allow people the right to participate in decisions that impacted them and ordered an analysis of health and environmental impacts for projects seeking federal permits. He also declared environmental injustice a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act — the same law that sought to end segregation in schools. Now, communities could ask the EPA to investigate environmental discrimination. EPA could strip violators of funding until they got in line.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that this is a first step,” EPA Administrator Carol Browner said at the time. “There are many, many more steps to come if we are really going to address the problems that these communities are raising.”

In hindsight, this might have been the time to take additional steps.

For the first six years, lawyers were unclear on exactly how much power the executive order gave the EPA to enforce environmental justice via existing laws, like the Clean Air Act. A legal opinion eventually resolved that issue, but a broader problem remained: The executive order was more of a philosophical guide than a rigid list of requirements. Some have wondered, looking back, whether the language directing administrations to enforce environmental justice “to the greatest extent practicable” could have been stronger or more specific.

Those invested in environmental justice would soon learn just how much rode on the sitting president.

Fickle Justice

George W. Bush didn’t approach environmental issues like his father.

In addition to walking back arsenic standards for drinking water and refusing to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the younger Bush’s administration began to erode environmental justice programs.

Clinton’s executive order required every federal agency to consider the health and environmental impacts policies had on minority and low-income communities. Under Bush, the focus shifted to ensuring protections for “all people.” The EPA inspector general rebuked that position in a 2004 report, saying that reversing the emphasis on vulnerable communities had led to confusion, a lack of consistency and “return[ed] the Agency to pre-Executive Order status.”

In 2006, the inspector general found that the EPA wasn’t conducting environmental justice reviews of its policies and programs, nor had it developed a framework to do so. The EPA office charged with policing environmental discrimination ground to a halt, amassing a backlog that stretched for a decade.

The weakness of the executive order prompted Democratic legislators to sponsor bills almost every year to legally establish the advisory groups created under the executive order, force the EPA to abide by the IG report recommendations, and give citizens the right to sue under Title VI for environmental discrimination. The bills were often championed by Democratic heavyweights — Sens. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, and Reps. Hilda Solis and Mark Udall — but even when Democrats held the most power in Congress, they never came close to passing.

“There’s not been an environmental justice bill that’s ever been put to a floor vote,” said Albert Huang, director of environmental justice at the National Resources Defense Council.

“Politically, it’s a very attractive issue to introduce legislation around because it threads so many needles: civil rights, environment, social justice, low-income — so many issues,” said Huang. “But for those same reasons, it’s a lightning rod for moderates and conservatives because those issues are viewed as the most progressive and liberal of each of those topics.”

By 2007, it was becoming clear that the promise of environmental justice was stalled. The United Church of Christ updated its toxic waste report and found that 20 years later, little had changed.

Then, Barack Obama was elected. He’d promised in his campaign to “resurrect” civic environmental responsibility and to prioritize remediation efforts in “neglected communities so that living daily with extreme environmental pollution and health risks will be a condition of the past.”

His administration raised the profile of the Office of Environmental Justice, audited the Office of Civil Rights and eliminated a backlog of cases against polluters (though it drew criticism from those who said it hadn’t done enough).

It also took a laundry list of other incremental steps: developed strategic plans for environmental justice and enforcing civil rights, issued a case-resolution manual to guide investigations, and created a compliance toolkit to help state agencies stay within the bounds of the law. The administration added a senior adviser for environmental justice, who participated in high-level meetings at the EPA and advocated for vulnerable communities in major budget and policy decisions.

But the Obama years also featured plenty of missed opportunities.

Obama could have created an Office of Environmental Justice at the White House or installed senior advisers focused on the issue at every agency — not just the EPA — to help guide policy. He didn’t.

And during the two years Democrats controlled the House, the Senate and the White House, they didn’t file a single bill focused on strengthening environmental justice protections like the ones filed during the Bush administration.

The one big swing on the environment front came in 2009, with the American Clean Energy and Security Act, commonly known as the Waxman-Markey bill or cap-and-trade. It was the first major legislative effort to address climate change by placing limits on the amount of greenhouse gases facilities could emit, and allowing them to buy credits to offset overruns. It passed the House narrowly, but died in the Senate, as legislators focused their political capital on health care reform. When Democrats lost seats in 2010, the prospect for passing major environmental legislation faded.

There were other ways lawmakers could have pushed to protect or even expand environmental justice initiatives. They could have offered up amendments on federal spending bills that required withholding of funds from any jurisdiction that didn’t prioritize environmental justice, similar to riders Rep. Adam C. Powell Jr. proposed for school districts that refused to desegregate.

But when it comes to environmental justice, legislative efforts have tended to be reactive, not proactive.

The one environmental justice law proposed during the Obama administration came with the end of his presidency in sight.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., introduced the Environmental Justice Act in February 2016, with the presidential campaign in full swing and Donald Trump — thanks to a spree of primary wins — emerging as the GOP frontrunner. Even then, the EPA was emerging as a potential target for cuts and regulatory changes.

“Mr. Speaker,” Lewis said on the House floor, introducing the measure, “there is still much work to be done.”

But that bill, like the others that came before it, went nowhere.

Trump Takes Aim

Six months into the Trump administration, environmental regulation and enforcement is in broad retreat.

Changes at the EPA have made it easier to dump coal-mining waste in waterways, spew greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and spray a pesticide that has been found to damage the developing brains of children.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has banned settlements in cases that allowed companies to fund community projects not directly related to their violations. For example, when Harley Davidson was cited for selling equipment that polluted the air, it agreed to give $3 million to an American Lung Association program to help people replace wood stoves with cleaner appliances — a move toward clean air that was unrelated to motorcycles, but would’ve helped low-income homeowners. Last week, the Department of Justice said it didn’t have to pay.

“Any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people — not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power,” Sessions said when he announced the policy last month.

Key members of the administration have sharply different views on environmental justice than their Obama administration predecessors. Trump’s nominated top environmental prosecutor Jeffrey Bossert Clark — who defended BP against state claims arising from that same oil spill — once called environmental justice an overstepping “crusade.”

In addition to shutting down the Office of Environmental Justice, the proposed budget reduces funding for civil and criminal enforcement of environmental laws, and directs the agency to curtail enforcement inspections as much as possible.

The proposal prompted the head of the environmental justice office, Mustafa Santiago Ali, to resign in March. The cuts send a message that the opinions and lives of those who live in vulnerable communities aren’t valued — a message that’s clearly intentional, Ali said.

“These are not dumb people leading the agency,” Ali said of the Trump administration’s choices at the EPA. “You may not agree with how they do business, but they have a strategy. You weaken policy development when you don’t have an Office of Environmental Justice to play a role in that space.

“You’re placing communities’ health at risk, and most people don’t get that,” he continued. “When you’re building a house, if you start pulling bricks out of the foundation, it will weaken and eventually, a collapse will happen.”

The White House did not respond to questions from ProPublica about the proposal to cut the office or the president’s position on the federal government’s role in issues of environmental justice. A House Appropriations bill currently awaiting a floor vote proposes a less drastic cut for the EPA.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who was a longtime opponent of the agency, hasn’t explicitly articulated an approach to environmental justice, but his public statements prior to taking the agency’s reins echo those of the Bush administration.

“I agree that it is important that all Americans be treated equally under the law,” he said in written responses to questions raised during his confirmation hearing, “including the environmental laws.”

The language sounds fair on its face, said Huang, of NRDC, but ignores that environmental harm is not experienced equally by all communities.

“They’re saying environmental justice is for everybody, regardless of your race,” he said. “It’s like saying ‘All Lives Matter’ but for environmental justice.”

Communities have already done the work of proving that minorities and the poor bear more environmental costs than others, Miller-Travis said. “Do we have to do that again? Will they accept that data or will we have to go back to ‘everybody is in harm’s way’ which is where they started?”

Early statistics suggest that Trump’s administration may be less stringent on environmental enforcement than his most recent predecessors.

The EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance investigates cases of potential environmental crimes cases, then turns them over to the Department of Justice for prosecution.

It’s unclear how many cases the EPA’s enforcement arm referred to the Justice Department, but in the first four months of the Trump administration, 133 environmental cases have been prosecuted. By comparison, 315 cases were prosecuted in the first four months under George W. Bush and 171 in the first four months under Obama.

Trump’s nominee for head of EPA enforcement, Susan Parker Bodine, a former lobbyist and head of the Office of Solid Waste under Bush, offered her support of environmental justice initiatives during her confirmation hearing.

“Yes, I will be a champion for communities of color and communities of poverty,” she said.

But Clark, who’d decide whether to prosecute the cases Bodine investigated, has been less sympathetic. Clark served as Mitt Romney’s energy policy advisor in the 2012 campaign and is a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

During a 2010 Federalist Society panel, Clark said the EPA’s environmental justice focus overstepped its boundaries and that locating a facility in a low-income neighborhood isn’t the same as racial or gender discrimination. “That is just not an equation that works,” Clark said. “And I think actually most of the people who live in those areas now would say if there’s a new plant opportunity, bring it on.”

Former DOJ officials and colleagues spoke positively of Clark’s legal abilities and dismissed concerns that his personal beliefs would filter to his work. At his confirmation hearing, Clark wasn’t asked explicitly about environmental justice, but generally defended his ability to be impartial. “When in private practice, if you have a client, your job is to defend them,” Clark said. “I don’t think [my past work will] affect my general ability to enforce federal law.”

Clark declined an interview request from ProPublica, as did Pruitt. Bodine did not respond to an e-mail requesting an interview.

An Uphill Battle

Just as they did under Bush, Democrats under Trump are once again filing bills to try to preserve environmental justice initiatives.

In the House, two bills proposed in May by three freshmen representatives would create an environmental justice czar in the president’s office and establish by law the Office of Environmental Justice at the EPA. The legislation, and a resolution on the importance of environmental justice, is an extension of the work Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, California Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan and Virginia Rep. A. Donald McEachin did before coming to Congress.

“We’re still trying on numerous levels … to bring forward the disproportionate burden communities of color face and the institutionalized racism that exists within our systems of government,” Jayapal said. “It’s not easy to talk about, but it’s true. If we want to address environmental justice, we have to recognize that not all people are suffering equally.”

The U.S. military burns millions of pounds of munitions in a tiny, African-American corner of Louisiana. The town’s residents say they’re forgotten in the plume. Read the story.

A photographer who covered the war in Iraq appreciates how threats can come to seem routine. Read the story.

Twenty-two Democratic senators signed a letter in May asking for the Appropriations Committee to override Trump’s budget and fund EPA’s civil rights and environmental justice offices, saying the cuts are “putting all Americans at risk, and especially those Americans who bear a disproportionate burden of exposures to pollution.”

“These communities have long been suffering under unconscionable conditions,” said Booker, one of the signatories. “We’re not doing enough to stop this evil.”

Booker expects to introduce an environmental justice bill after Labor Day, and while the contours are still murky, the legislation is being guided by conversations with advocates and people dealing with environmental hazards, and by his own visits to hog farms in North Carolina and landfills in Alabama.

Public support for environmental justice efforts has gotten a boost from the Flint water crisis and the Standing Rock protests, which raised awareness. This could encourage more legislators to push back against proposed cuts to the EPA, advocates said.

But depending on how the bill is structured, it could open up settled law and make a target of some existing protections, said environmental justice consultant Miller-Travis.

“I wouldn’t want to give them a chance to look at amending the Clean Air Act,” Miller-Travis said. “I don’t trust these people. … We’re in a defensive posture. We’re trying to defend that which we have. I would be elated to be proven wrong at the end of the day, but it’s going to take every ounce of integrity, resources, muscle … to defend and hold onto the rights we have so painstakingly worked to achieve.”

Republicans have sought to add language or otherwise prohibit funding for environmental justice initiatives in at least 13 bills since 2006. In February, Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, re-introduced his Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act, which would cut 13 programs — including the environmental justice office — and close EPA field offices. The goal, Johnson told ProPublica, is to “save taxpayers’ money and reduce the size of a government agency that has grown too big for its britches.” Much of the work of the EPA, including environmental justice, Johnson said, would be better handled by states.

The political climate makes it difficult for proponents of environmental justice to be optimistic.

“Unfortunately, for the last 20 years, we’ve been in a period of trying to find the right political moment when the stars align so that you might be able to get a bill through Congress,” said Miller-Travis. “Is this a moment when I think we can get something passed that expands civil rights and equal protection? I don’t think this is that moment. That doesn’t mean we won’t try.”

West Volusia Calendar of Events 7.22-29.2017

Saturday, July 22

Longleaf Bike-About

7:30-10 a.m. Meet at the east entrance of Longleaf Pine Preserve, 4551 Pioneer Trail, New Smyrna Beach. Learn about the plants and animals of the wetlands during a leisurely ride through the preserve’s flatwoods, cypress domes and swamps.

Large-tire bikes are recommended; helmets are required. Free. Reservations required; call 386-736-5927.

Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser

8 a.m.-noon at Deltona Lakes Baptist Church, 2886 Elkcam Blvd. Hosted by Sgt. David G. Ledgerwood American Legion Post 255. All-you-can-eat breakfast; indoor games; raffles. Proceeds go to American Legion programs that aid veterans. Cost: $5 per person; $20 for a family of four or more.

Farmers Market

8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Gateway Center for the Arts, 880 North U.S. Highway 17-92, DeBary. Call 407-443-6965.

Market in the Park

8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Blake Park, 437 S. Lakeview Drive, Lake Helen. Call 305-393-0682.

Seniors Community Breakfast

8:30-10:30 a.m. at the Deltona Community Center, 980 Lakeshore Drive. Family members are invited to join their senior-citizen relatives. Cost (includes eggs, pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee): $3. Call 386-878-8906.

Deltona Woodcarvers

Youth Basic Archery Classes

9 a.m.-noon at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Learning Center, 4490 Grand Ave., DeLeon Springs. For first-time and advanced archers ages 9-16. No experience necessary. Learn proper equipment selection, bow mechanics, steps to archery success, and archery safety. Class includes two hours of range time and one hour of hands-on classroom instruction. All equipment is provided; personal bows and arrows are not allowed on the shooting range. Bring sunscreen and water. Parents must accompany children. Free. Registration required; call 386-985-4673, ext. 200, or email to lakewoodruff@fws.gov.

Adult Computer Class: Hoopla

9:30 a.m. at the Deltona Regional Library, 2150 Eustace Ave. Free. Call 386-789-7207, option 1, then 4.

Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

11 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Massey-James Youth Center, 346 Church St., Lake Helen. Takeout available all hours; sit-down dinners 4-7 p.m. The meal includes spaghetti, salad, bread, dessert and drinks. All proceeds go to the programs and renovation of the center. Requested donation: $8. Call 386-747-2814.

Invertebrate Encounters

2-3 p.m. at Lyonia Environmental Center, 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona. Families can take part in a touch-tank experience as they learn about the center’s saltwater invertebrates, which include sea urchins and sea stars. They will also hear about the ancient beach of Lyonia Preserve. Free. Reservations requested; call 386-789-7207, ext. 21028.

Madeline

2:30 p.m. at Gateway Center for the Arts, 880 North U.S. Highway 17-92, DeBary. A performance by kids and teenagers who took part in Gateway Center’s July 10-21 theater camp. Tickets: $5. Call 386-668-5553.

Tara Jacobs Brown Scholarship Foundation Fundraiser

4-9 p.m. at the Deltona Amphitheater, 2150 Eustace Ave. A free concert by Rockie Lynne begins at 6 p.m. Craft and vendor booths; food trucks; drawings. Proceeds to benefit students’ scholarships. Free admission.

Gallery Talk With Holden Luntz

5 p.m. gallery opens, 5:30-6 p.m. talk, at the Museum of Art – DeLand Downtown Galleries, 100 N. Woodland Blvd. Photographer and curator Holden Luntz will discuss the creation and concept behind Roberto Edwards’ exhibition “Cuerpos Pintados – Painted Bodies.” Admission: $5; free for museum members. RSVP by calling 386-734-4371 or by emailing to contact@moartdeland.org.

Star Spangled Summer Concert Series: Rocket Man – The Premier Elton John Tribute Band

7:15 p.m. at the Bandshell, 250 N. Atlantic Ave., behind the Hilton, Daytona Beach. 9:45 p.m. fireworks. Free.

Sister Act

7:30 p.m. at the Athens Theatre, 124 N. Florida Ave., Downtown DeLand. Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg. “Making a joyful noise” brings salvation to a stodgy convent and a hilariously misplaced nightclub-performer-turned-murder-witness. Tickets: $28 preferred seating (rows A-E, center); $23 adults; $21 senior citizens; $10 students and children; $19 per person for groups of eight or more. Call 386-736-1500, or visit www.AthensDeLand.com.

The Wizard of Oz

7:30 p.m. at Shoestring Theatre, 380 S. Goodwin St., Lake Helen. This is the classic musical tale of Dorothy and her friends. Tickets: $18 adults; $15 senior citizens; $10 students and children. Reserve your seats at 386-228-3777, or visit www.shoestringtheatre.net.

Sunday, July 23

Low-Cost Pet-Shot Clinic

9-10:30 a.m. at Luigi’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant, Brandywine Shopping Village, 3138 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand. Sponsored by the SPCA. All vaccinations are administered by a licensed veterinarian; clinic is licensed and permitted. Heartworm-prevention and flea-control products will be available for purchase. Cash only for the shots: $5 for one-year or $12 for three-year rabies vaccine; $10 dog distemper/parvo combo; dog flu or cat distemper combo; $16 feline leukemia; $12 Bordetella; $16 heartworm testing; $5 worming. Clinic is open to everyone; no appointment is needed. Proceeds benefit abused animals. Call 386-748-8993.

Low-Cost Pet-Shot Clinic

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at JC’s Fun N Sun Pet Products, 336 S. Lakeview Drive, Lake Helen. Sponsored by the SPCA. All vaccinations are administered by a licensed veterinarian; clinic is licensed and permitted. Heartworm-prevention and flea-control products will be available for purchase. Cash only for the shots: $5 for one-year or $12 for three-year rabies vaccine; $10 dog distemper/parvo combo; dog flu or cat distemper combo; $16 feline leukemia; $12 Bordetella; $16 heartworm testing; $5 worming. Clinic is open to everyone; no appointment is needed. Proceeds benefit abused animals. Call 386-748-8993.

Life in Cold Blood Series: Dragons of the Dry

2-3 p.m. in the Lyonia Environmental Center classroom, 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona. An episode from the documentary series Life in Cold Blood, narrated by Sir David Attenborough. This episode takes a close look at the many different behaviors and habitats of lizards from around the world. Free. Reservations requested; call 386-789-7207, ext. 21028.

Low-Cost Pet-Shot Clinic

2-4 p.m. at Red Fox Pet Shop, in the West Volusia Regional Shopping Center (Winn-Dixie plaza), 2709 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand. Sponsored by the SPCA. All vaccinations are administered by a licensed veterinarian; clinic is licensed and permitted. Heartworm-prevention and flea-control products will be available for purchase. Cash only for the shots: $5 for one-year or $12 for three-year rabies vaccine; $10 dog distemper/parvo combo; dog flu or cat distemper combo; $16 feline leukemia; $12 Bordetella; $16 heartworm testing; $5 worming. Clinic is open to everyone; no appointment is needed. Proceeds benefit abused animals. Call 386-748-8993.

Sister Act

2:30 p.m. at the Athens Theatre, 124 N. Florida Ave., Downtown DeLand. Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg. “Making a joyful noise” brings salvation to a stodgy convent and a hilariously misplaced nightclub-performer-turned-murder-witness. Tickets: $28 preferred seating (rows A-E, center); $23 adults; $21 senior citizens; $10 students and children; $19 per person for groups of eight or more. Call 386-736-1500, or visit www.AthensDeLand.com.

The Wizard of Oz

2:30 p.m. at Shoestring Theatre, 380 S. Goodwin St., Lake Helen. This is the classic musical tale of Dorothy and her friends. Tickets: $18 adults; $15 senior citizens; $10 students and children. Reserve your seats at 386-228-3777, or visit www.shoestringtheatre.net.

Monday, July 24

Flicks at the Library: A United Kingdom

11 a.m. at the Deltona Regional Library, 2150 Eustace Ave. This movie is the story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his controversial marriage to a white British woman put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil. David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike star. Rated PG-13. Free. Call 386-789-7207, option 1, then 4.

Walk-In E-Lab

1-3 p.m. in the DeLand Regional Library classroom, 130 E. Howry Ave. Basic computer skills assistance, internet access for job searches and completing applications, email account setup assistance, cover letter and resume editing; and access to online egov applications such as unemployment claims, food or housing assistance, and Social Security website access. A county library card is not required to use the e-lab computers. Free. Call 386-822-6430.

Community Diabetes Education Class

2-4 p.m. at Florida Hospital DeLand, Classroom A, 701 W. Plymouth Ave. For people living with diabetes and their loved ones, this class will help participants learn about living with diabetes, meal planning, and prevention of complications. No doctor referral is needed. Free. To RSVP, call 386-943-4727.

General Cancer & Survivorship Support Group

5 p.m. at Florida Hospital DeLand Cancer Institute, 680 Peachwood Drive. For cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, friends and family. Free. To RSVP, call 386-943-7160.

Women’s Cancer Support Group

5 p.m. at Florida Hospital DeLand Cancer Institute, 680 Peachwood Drive. For women who are currently in treatment for breast cancer and breast-cancer survivors. This monthly support group provides opportunities for emotional support, as well as education about breast-cancer-related topics. Free. To RSVP, call 386-943-7160.

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous

7 p.m. at Orange City United Methodist Church, 396 E. University Ave. A solution for those suffering from food obsession, overeating, under-eating and bulimia, based on the 12 Steps of AA. No dues, fees or weigh-ins. Call 386-775-7275, or visitwww.foodaddicts.org.

Overeaters Anonymous

7 p.m. at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, second floor, surgical waiting room, 1055 Saxon Blvd., Orange City. No dues, fees or weigh-ins. Free. Call Rita at 561-317-9514.

Tuesday, July 25

Mother Goose on the Loose

10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in the DeLand Regional Library auditorium, 130 E. Howry Ave. A storytime specially designed for infants and toddlers to participate in with their parents and caregivers. Experience nursery rhymes, books and music in a fun and interactive environment. Free. Call the library’s Children’s Section at 386-822-6430, ext. 20759.

Wigglecise

11 a.m. in the DeLand Regional Library auditorium, 130 E. Howry Ave. A music and movement program for toddlers and preschoolers. There is also a play area for pre-walkers and their caregivers. Free. Call the library’s Children’s Section at 386-822-6430, ext. 20759.

Tech-Free Tuesdays for Families

3-4:30 p.m. at the Lake Helen Public Library, 221 N. Euclid Ave. Families can color and play games. Free. Call 386-228-1152.

General Cancer and Survivorship Support Group

5 p.m. at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, 1055 Saxon Blvd., Orange City. This monthly support group is open to patients who are currently being treated for cancer, as well as patients who have completed their cancer treatment. Free. To RSVP, call 386-917-5526.

West Volusia Toastmasters

6:15 p.m. in Stetson University’s Lynn Business Center, Room 044, 345 N. Woodland Blvd. For people interested in developing their public-speaking skills. Call Mitzi Dykes at 386-801-2615, or email her at mdykes@stetson.edu.

Wednesday, July 26

Adult Computer Class: Microsoft Word Taught in Spanish

9:30 a.m. at the Deltona Regional Library, 2150 Eustace Ave. Free. Call 386-789-7207.

Dancing With the Librarians

10 a.m. at the Deltona Regional Library, 2150 Eustace Ave. Join Assunta Fleming for urban line-dancing classes. Dress for physical activity, and bring bottled water. Free. Call 386-789-7207, option 1, then 4.

La Hora Del Cuento

10:30 a.m. in the DeLand Regional Library auditorium, 130 E. Howry Ave. Children ages 2-5 will listen to stories, songs and rhymes in English and Spanish. Speaking Spanish is not required. Free. Call 386-822-6430, ext. 20759.

Youth Programs: Transformers

10:30 a.m. at the Lake Helen Public Library, 221 N. Euclid Ave. Children ages 5-12 will explore the aspects of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) by creating life-size Transformer robots. Free. Call 386-228-1152.

‘Taking Care of My Health’ Health Screening Program

Noon-6 p.m. at the Hispanic Health Initiatives Inc. office, 70 Spring Vista Drive, DeBary. Sponsored by Hispanic Health Initiatives Inc. Trained community health care workers will perform free blood-pressure, glucose, cholesterol and body mass index screenings, explain the significance of the screening results, and provide guidance for health and social services the participant may need. The program is open to West Volusia residents who qualify by providing identity and residency documents. Prospective participants are encouraged to call 386-320-0110, to verify eligibility.

Adult Craft Program: Beach-Chair Cellphone Holder

1 p.m. at the Lake Helen Public Library, 221 N. Euclid Ave. Materials will be provided. Free. Registration required; call 386-228-1152.

A Night at Hogwarts

4-7 p.m. in the DeLand Regional Library auditorium, 130 E. Howry Ave. Participate in Hogwarts classes and a Fantastic Beast scavenger hunt. House points will be awarded throughout the evening. The winning house will be announced at the 6 p.m. Yule Ball. Costume and dress-up are encouraged, but not required. Free, family-friendly, and open to the public. Call 386-822-6430, ext. 20762.

Accelerate

5:30-7:30 p.m. at DeLand City Hall, City Commission Chambers, 120 S. Florida Ave. Learn how to start or grow a business using the techniques from the book GrowBook. Seminar presenters include Manny De La Vega, Shawn Clark, Deidra Jacobs and Evan Keller. Admission (includes refreshments): $10. Call 386-801-5300, or email to accelerate@creatingjobs.org.

Overeaters Anonymous

6:30 p.m. at The House Next Door, 804 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand. No dues, fees or weigh-ins. Free.

Horizon Stars Toastmasters

6:45 p.m. at Brookdale Senior Living, second floor, 500 Grand Plaza Drive, Orange City. Designed to help people improve their public speaking, personal development, communication and leadership skills. Free. Email to info@schoolofthoughts.net.

New Hope Al-Anon

7:30 p.m. at The House Next door, 804 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand. A support group that welcomes family, relatives and friends who are affected by the disease of alcoholism, using the 12 Steps of AA for support and understanding. Call 386-801-8135.

Thursday, July 27

Walk-In E-Lab

9:30-11:30 a.m. in the DeLand Regional Library classroom, 130 E. Howry Ave. Basic computer-skills assistance, internet access for job searches and completing applications, email account setup assistance, cover letter and resume editing; and access to online egov applications such as unemployment claims, food or housing assistance, and Social Security website access. A county library card is not required to use the e-lab computers. Free. Call 386-822-6430.

Congressman Ron DeSantis Constituent Meetings

10 a.m. at Deltona City Hall, first-floor conference room, 2345 Providence Blvd.

Storytime

10:30 a.m. in the DeLand Regional Library auditorium, 130 E. Howry Ave. Children ages 2-5 will listen to books, songs, rhymes and flannel-board stories. A coordinating craft will follow. Free. Call 386-822-6430, ext. 20759.

DeBary Kids Corner

11 a.m. in the DeBary Hall Historic Site stable, 198 Sunrise Blvd. This program is designed to teach preschool-age children about the art of storytelling and to expand their knowledge of Florida history. Children will listen to a story and play an old-fashioned game. Free. Call Tracy Mestre at 386-668-3840.

Car-Seat Check

1-3 p.m. at the Halifax Health Emergency Department of Deltona, 3300 Halifax Crossing Blvd. A certified child passenger-safety technician will check, assist with and demonstrate the proper installation of your child’s car seat. Bring the owner’s manuals for the car seat and the car, and bring the child who will be using the seat. Car seats are available for purchase for a suggested donation of $30. Call 386-425-7920.

‘How to Start Your Own Business in Florida’

6-8 p.m. at Deltona City Hall, Room 150A, first floor, south wing, 2345 Providence Blvd. SCORE mentor David Shifflett will talk about starting a business plan, marketing your business, checking financial viability, tracking income and expenses, picking a legal structure, and financing your business. Free. To register, visit https://volusiaflagler.score.org/content/take-workshop-285. Call Bobbi Stanton at 386-255-6889, or email to info@score87.org.

Tech DeLand

6-8 p.m. at Abbey Bar, 117 N. Woodland Blvd., Downtown DeLand. This group encourages a better understanding of technology through sharing information on a wide range of topics from photography and graphic design, to daily Web applications and specific applications geared toward professional and personal development. Free. Visit www.meetup.com/TechDeLand.

Democratic Club of Northwest Volusia County

7 p.m. at Knights of Columbus, 230 E. International Speedway Blvd. (U.S. Highway 92), DeLand. Call club President Lynn Hoganson at 407-756-0800.

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous

7 p.m. at Good Samaritan Clinic, 136 E. Plymouth Ave., DeLand. A solution for those suffering from food obsession, overeating, under-eating or bulimia, based on the 12 Steps of AA. No dues, fees or weigh-ins. Call 386-736-9467, or visit www.foodaddicts.org.

Sister Act

7:30 p.m. at the Athens Theatre, 124 N. Florida Ave., Downtown DeLand. Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg. “Making a joyful noise” brings salvation to a stodgy convent and a hilariously misplaced nightclub-performer-turned-murder-witness. Tickets: $28 preferred seating (rows A-E, center); $23 adults; $21 senior citizens; $10 students and children; $19 per person for groups of eight or more. Call 386-736-1500, or visit www.AthensDeLand.com.

Friday, July 28

Farmers Market

8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Dickinson Park, corner of East Graves Avenue and U.S. Highway 17-92, Orange City. Free. Call 386-775-5410.

Youth Basic Archery Classes

9 a.m.-noon at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Learning Center, 4490 Grand Ave., DeLeon Springs. For first-time and advanced archers ages 9-16. No experience necessary. Learn proper equipment selection, bow mechanics, steps to archery success, and archery safety. Class includes two hours of range time and one hour of hands-on classroom instruction. All equipment is provided; personal bows and arrows are not allowed on the shooting range. Bring sunscreen and water. Parents must accompany children. Free. Registration required; call 386-985-4673, ext. 200, or email to lakewoodruff@fws.gov.

Storytime

10 a.m. at the Lake Helen Public Library, 221 N. Euclid Ave. Preschoolers and their parents can take part in interactive programs that incorporate storybooks, flannel-board stories and music. Free. Call 386-228-1152.

Stetson University Football Women’s Clinic

5:30-8:30 p.m. at the school’s Athletic Training Center, corner of West Minnesota and North Amelia avenues. Open to women of all ages. Wear workout clothes. A Stetson jersey will be provided, along with food and beverages. Cost: $25. To reserve a space, email Nolan Behrns at nbehrns@stetson.edu.

Farmers Market and More

6-9 p.m. on Artisan Alley, behind The Beacon office, 110 W. New York Ave., Downtown DeLand. Featuring local produce, plants, honey, baked goods, candles, soaps and more. Free admission.

Bandshell Live! Summer Concert Series: David Oliver Willis and the Backsliders

7 p.m. at the Bandshell, 250 N. Atlantic Ave., behind the Hilton, Daytona Beach. Tickets: $10 VIP (includes a chair); $3 general seating; free for children age 9 and younger. Visit www.daytonabandshell.com.

Sister Act

7:30 p.m. at the Athens Theatre, 124 N. Florida Ave., Downtown DeLand. Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg. “Making a joyful noise” brings salvation to a stodgy convent and a hilariously misplaced nightclub-performer-turned-murder-witness. Tickets: $28 preferred seating (rows A-E, center); $23 adults; $21 senior citizens; $10 students and children; $19 per person for groups of eight or more. Call 386-736-1500, or visit www.AthensDeLand.com.

Saturday, July 29

Farmers Market

8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Gateway Center for the Arts, 880 North U.S. Highway 17-92, DeBary. Call 407-443-6965.

Market in the Park

8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Blake Park, 437 S. Lakeview Drive, Lake Helen. Call 305-393-0682.

Youth Basic Archery Classes

9 a.m.-noon at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Learning Center, 4490 Grand Ave., DeLeon Springs. For first-time and advanced archers ages 9-16. No experience necessary. Learn proper equipment selection, bow mechanics, steps to archery success, and archery safety. Class includes two hours of range time and one hour of hands-on classroom instruction. All equipment is provided; personal bows and arrows are not allowed on the shooting range. Bring sunscreen and water. Parents must accompany children. Free. Registration required; call 386-985-4673, ext. 200, or email to lakewoodruff@fws.gov.

Tiny Trekkers

10-11 a.m. at Lyonia Environmental Center, 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona. Children ages 2-5 can listen to the book Just One More, take a short hike, and make a take-home craft. Free. Reservations requested; call 386-789-7207, ext. 21028.

Back to School Rockin’ Bash

11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the DeLand Family YMCA, 761 E. International Speedway Blvd. Real-estate agents from EXIT Realty Home Team in DeLand will co-host. Rock-painting, refreshments, drawings for backpacks and gift cards, and more. Special appearance by the Chick-fil-A cows. Free.

Flicks at the Library: On the Waterfront

1 p.m. at the Deltona Regional Library, 2150 Eustace Ave. Marlon Brando stars as a prizefighter-turned-longshoreman who stands up to his corrupt union bosses in this classic 1954 film. Free. Call 386-789-7207, option 1, then 4.

Water, Water Everywhere

1-2:30 p.m. at Lyonia Environmental Center, 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona. Learn important facts about our most precious

resource, create water-related crafts, play interactive games, and make a water-cycle bracelet. Free. Reservations requested; call 386-789-7207, ext. 21028.

Film Screening: 13th – From Slave to Criminal With One Amendment

4 p.m. at the African American Museum of the Arts, 325 S. Clara Ave., DeLand. Ava DuVernay’s documentary explores how the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution led to an epidemic of mass incarceration in the United States. DuVernay is also the director of Selma. Free. Call 386-736-4004.

Star Spangled Summer Concert Series: Forever Styx and Kiss America – Styx and Kiss Tribute Bands

7:15 p.m. at the Bandshell, 250 N. Atlantic Ave., behind the Hilton, Daytona Beach. 9:45 p.m. fireworks. Free.

Sister Act

7:30 p.m. at the Athens Theatre, 124 N. Florida Ave., Downtown DeLand. Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg. “Making a joyful noise” brings salvation to a stodgy convent and a hilariously misplaced nightclub-performer-turned-murder-witness. Tickets: $28 preferred seating (rows A-E, center); $23 adults; $21 senior citizens; $10 students and children; $19 per person for groups of eight or more. Call 386-736-1500, or visit www.AthensDeLand.com.

Ongoing Events

Admission to the Museum of Art – DeLand (both locations) costs $5 for nonmembers (good for three consecutive museum days at both locations); free for museum members and for children age 12 and younger.

‘Adolf Dehn: Painter of America’

Through Oct. 1. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, at the Museum of Art – DeLand, 600 N. Woodland Blvd. Call 386-734-4371.

‘The Florida Highwaymen: Art Innovators in a Civil Rights Epoch’

Through July 29. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, and noon-4 p.m. Saturday, at Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center, on the university’s Palm Court/Quad, 139 E. Michigan Ave. This exhibit explores the African-American artists who painted Florida’s natural landscape during the South’s transition out of Jim Crow and into the era of the civil-rights movement. Featuring more than 30 paintings from private collections, many never previously shown publicly. Free admission. View www2.stetson.edu/hand-art-center, or call 386-822-7271.

‘John Briggs: Casting for the Unknown’

Through Oct. 1. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, at the Museum of Art – DeLand, 600 N. Woodland Blvd. Call 386-734-4371.

‘Larry Griffin: Paintings 2001 – 2005’

Through Oct. 1. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, at the Museum of Art – DeLand, 600 N. Woodland Blvd. Call 386-734-4371.

‘Old Florida: Art of the St. Johns River’

Through July 31. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, at the Enterprise Heritage Center & Museum, 360 Main St., Enterprise. Free admission. Call 386-259-5900.

‘Oscar Bluemner: A Birthday Potpourri – Small Works From the Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection’

Through July 29. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, and noon-4 p.m. Saturday, at Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center, on the university’s Palm Court/Quad, 139 E. Michigan Ave. Small works of art by American Modernist painter Oscar Bluemner, from the Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection. Free admission. Visit www2.stetson.edu/hand-art-center, or call 386-822-7271.

‘Roberto Edwards: Cuerpos Pintados – Painted Bodies’

July 21-Oct. 8. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, at the Museum of Art – DeLand Downtown Galleries, 100 N. Woodland Blvd. Call 386-734-4371.

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Heartbeats: Affordable health screenings coming to Clinton

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The players and cheerleaders taking part in the MyCentralJersey.com Snapple Bowl on July 20 at Kean University were honored at a July 19 banquet at the Pines Manor in Edison. Paul C. Grzella/Wochit

Clinton Fire Department Social Hall, 1 New St., Clinton, will host affordable screenings by Life Line Screening on Aug. 5. Learn about your risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other chronic, serious conditions. Screenings are affordable, convenient and accessible for wheelchairs and those with trouble walking. Packages start at $119 but consultants will work with you to create a package that is right for you based on your age and risk factors. Registration is required. To register, call 1-888-653-6441 to receive $10 off a package priced at $129 or more, visit www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle, or text the word CIRCLE to 797979.

DQ Blizzard Treat sales to benefit hospital

As part of the 13th Annual DQ Miracle Treat Day on July 27, DQ Grill & Chill and Dairy Queen locations throughout the United States will raise funds to help save and improve the lives of sick and injured children in Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals. During Miracle Treat Day, $1 or more from every Blizzard Treat sold at participating locations will be donated to CMN Hospitals, which raises funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals across the U.S. and Canada.
Fans are encouraged to use #MiracleTreatDay on social media and invite others to join them in visiting a participating DQ location on July 27. For more about Miracle Treat Day, visit MiracleTreatDay.com. For more about the Dairy Queen system, visit DairyQueen.com. For more about Children’s Specialized Hospital, call 888-CHILDRENS or visit www.childrens-specialized.org. For more about Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, visit CMNHospitals.org.

Family exercise classes

The Hunterdon Health and Wellness Center in Clinton will offer family classes for the summer, in four-week sessions from Aug. 9 to Aug. 30. The Hunterdon Health and Wellness Center in Clinton is at 1738 Route 31 North, Clinton. Call 908-735-6884; visit http://wellness.hunterdonhealthcare.org.

READ: Heartbeats: Golf incentive being offered for blood donors

READ: Heartbeats: Saint Peter’s NICU recognized for excellence

READ: Heartbeats: Lowering health risk for African Americans

WATCH: Snapple Bowl XXIV first quarter action

Award nominations being accepted

The American Heart Association is seeking nominations for the Central New Jersey Heart Walk Lifestyle Change Award, which is locally sponsored by NJM Insurance Group. The award recognizes people or groups who have made changes that have impacted their quality of life and improved their health. Nominations will be accepted through Aug. 15, and winners will be recognized at the Central NJ Heart Walk on Oct. 7,  at Arm & Hammer Park, Trenton. In order to be considered, individuals must be non-smokers or smoke-free for a minimum of six months. Nomination forms are available at www.CentralNJHeartWalk.org or by calling the American Heart Association at 609-223-3784.

New Chief Nursing Officer named

Janet Gordils-Perez from Plainsboro has been named chief nursing officer at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick. She was recently promoted from her position as director of oncology nursing. In her new role, Gordils-Perez is responsible for treatment nursing, advanced practice nursing, pediatric nursing, social work, medical health technician support, and nursing/patient education. She oversees 150 clinical and administrative staff. Visit www.cinj.org.

Reducing risk of stroke

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association urges Americans to take action to reduce their personal risk factors for stroke, the fifth leading cause of death. The American Stroke Association notes that an estimated 80 percent of strokes may be prevented if people started taking better care of themselves. This includes making healthy lifestyle choices like eating better and moving more. Visit www.empoweredtoserve.org and strokeassociation.org.

UMCP earns Most Wired designation

University Medical Center of Princeton (UMCP) is one of 461 hospitals nationwide — and about two dozen in New Jersey — to earn a place on the 2017 Health Care’s Most Wired list, which was recently released by the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Health Forum. Participating hospitals and health systems are evaluated based on their progress in adopting, implementing and using IT in four areas: Infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety and clinical integration. Visit www.princetonhcs.org. For a full list of winners, visit www.hhnmag.com.

Reformed Church Home receives National Accreditation

Reformed Church Home in Old Bridge has received the Basic Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement Accreditation in 2017. The Home offers long term nursing care, rehabilitation therapy programs, and assisted living services. This accreditation is evaluated and presented by independent accreditor, Providigm. Through Reformed Church Home’s use of the abaqis Quality Management System, Providigm is able to verify that the facility is continually assessing the quality of the care they provide to their residents against federal regulations and standards, and correcting identified issues. For more about Reformed Church Home, visit www.reformedchurchhome.org. For more about Providigm, visit www.providigm.com.

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Black ministers rally on Capitol Hill for fair equitable budget from congress

Photos courtesy: Rev. Steven Martin National Coalition of Churches

Several ministers were arrested in the Russell Rotunda on Capitol Hill Tuesday, including Rev. Raphael Warnock of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The group of clergy members rallied through songs and prayer while demanding fair healthcare for all Americans when they were arrested by U.S. Capitol Police. They were charged with crowding, obstruction and incommoding. Warnock was held about three hours then released around 5 p.m. after paying a fine.

“As a pastor, I believe that the national budget is not just a fiscal document, but a moral document. It reflects what we believe and who we are for one another,” Warnock said. “And if this mean-spirited budget were an EKG, it would indicate that America has a heart condition. The government is taking student aid, job training and medicine from those who need it most in order to give a tax cut to those who need it least. We came to Washington as voices of healing and justice. America is better than this. That’s our message. And when I consider those who will suffer, my getting arrested is a small price to pay.”

The group wants Congress to reject what it calls “the immoral budget proposed by the Trump Administration and the equally unjust health care bill” that the Senate may have a procedural vote on in the coming weeks. A vote initially scheduled for Tuesday was postponed.

Faith leaders planned to address how the proposed budget will negatively impact African-American families and communities, including deep cuts to education, Medicaid, civil rights, community development block grants and housing vouchers. The budget will also likely create an environment for predatory lending to increase.

Some of the clergy assembled following scheduled meetings with lawmakers.

Also On The Michigan Chronicle:

Arizona Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Urges a Diagnosed US Navy Veteran in Arizona To Call Them About Compensation and Why Its Vital They Hire One of The Nation’s Most Skilled Lawyers

The incredibly skilled mesothelioma attorneys we suggest recognize how important it is for a diagnosed person with mesothelioma to get properly compensated-so do we”

— Arizona Mesothelioma Victims Center

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, USA, July 24, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Arizona Mesothelioma Victims Center says, “We are urging a US Navy Veteran who has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma in Arizona to call us anytime at 800-714-0303 about financial compensation as well as why it is incredibly vital to hire one of the nation’s most experienced mesothelioma attorneys to get the best settlement outcome.” http://Arizona.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

A mesothelioma compensation claim for a US Navy Veteran in Arizona can potentially involve hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, but if the diagnosed person hires a local car accident lawyer or a mesothelioma marketing law firm there is not much anyone can do to help terminate the lawyers or law firm if they turn out to be less than competent. To illustrate the point-In the group’s opinion a substandard mesothelioma compensation outcome would be something like net 350,000 to the diagnosed US Navy Veteran who was exposed as a machinist or boiler technician while in the US Navy. The group believes the net compensation award could be as much as $750,000 or more if the person had hired one of the nation’s most qualified and experienced mesothelioma attorneys as they would like to explain anytime at 800-714-0303. http://Arizona.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

Before a US Navy Veteran with confirmed mesothelioma in Arizona or their family hires a lawyer/law firm to assist with a mesothelioma compensation claim they are urged to call the Arizona Mesothelioma Victims Center for some clarity at 800-714-0303. The group’s number one goal is a person with mesothelioma in Arizona receiving the best possible compensation and they are more than happy to suggest or recommend some of the nation’s most skilled mesothelioma attorneys anytime to a diagnosed person or their family who will almost always call the diagnosed person-immediately.

“The incredibly skilled mesothelioma attorneys we suggest recognize how important it is for a diagnosed person with mesothelioma to get properly compensated-so do we.” http://Arizona.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

For the best possible mesothelioma treatment options in Arizona the Arizona Mesothelioma Victims Center strongly recommends the following heath care facilities with the offer to help a diagnosed victim, or their family get to the right physicians at each hospital.

* The Mayo Clinic Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona: http://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide/arizona
* The University of Arizona Medical Center Tucson, Arizona:
http://azcc.arizona.edu/profile/linda-garland

The Arizona Mesothelioma Victims Center would like to emphasize theirs is a statewide initiative available to a diagnosed victim anywhere in Arizona including communities such as Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Gilbert, Tempe. Peoria, or Prescott. http://Arizona.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

High-risk work groups for exposure to asbestos in Arizona include US Navy Veterans, power plant workers, manufacturing workers, plumbers, nuclear power plant workers, electricians, auto mechanics, machinists, or construction workers. Typically, these high-risk workers were exposed to asbestos in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, or 1980’s.

The states indicated with the highest incidence of mesothelioma include Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Louisiana, Washington, and Oregon. Mesothelioma also happens in Arizona. http://Arizona.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.com

For more information about mesothelioma please refer to the National Institutes of Health’s web site related to this rare form of cancer: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/mesothelioma.html

Michael Thomas
Arizona Mesothelioma Victims Center
800-714-0303
email us here

The Poetics of Jazz

Ornette Coleman’s 1972 album Skies of America is more often discussed for what it could have been. The famous free-jazz pioneer’s first orchestral recording, it was conceived as a suite for his quartet with backing from the London Symphony Orchestra, but a misunderstanding with the British musicians’ union prevented the other three players from joining. The resulting 41-minute cut, recorded in notoriously poor quality, features Coleman soloing above the full orchestra rather than the concerto-grosso dynamic that he had intended. Nevertheless, there is brilliance.

Coleman takes over for nearly 10 minutes on the album’s second side, at one point slowing down over a memorable cadenza until he seems to be addressing the listener directly instead of his anxious supporting strings and winds. This slice of the composition is titled “Poetry.”

In 1997, Coleman sat down for an interview with Jacques Derrida, during which the saxophonist, composer, and bandleader spoke candidly about his well-developed aesthetic vision and the practice of jazz. The interview took place ahead of Coleman’s residency at La Villette, where he was presenting “Civilization,” a program of concerts that included his first performance of Skies of America in many years. Responding to a question about the title “Civilization,” Coleman says: “I’m trying to express a concept according to which you can translate one thing into another. I think that sound has a much more democratic relationship to information, because you don’t need the alphabet to understand music.”

Derrida is curious about the ways in which jazz can inform political action, asking, “When you say that sound is more ‘democratic,’ what do you make of that as a composer? You write music in a coded form all the same.” Coleman turns back to “Poetry,” saying, “In 1972 I wrote a symphony called Skies of America and that was a tragic event for me, because I didn’t have such a good relationship with the music scene: like when I was doing free jazz, most people thought that I just picked up my saxophone and played whatever was going through my head, without following any rule, but that wasn’t true.”

Derrida enthusiastically agrees: “But if I translate what you are doing into a domain that I know better, that of written language, the unique event that is produced only one time is nevertheless repeated in its very structure. Thus there is a repetition, in the work, that is intrinsic to the initial creation—that which compromises or complicates the concept of improvisation.” In short, a word isn’t a word until it’s repeated, and it doesn’t exist without that hope of repetition—and just so with musical sequences. Almost conspiratorially, Derrida and Coleman argue that it is the promise of repetition that provides order where many people hear chaos.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

‘Detroit’ Review: Kathryn Bigelow Powerfully Connects Historic Riots to Modern Discord

This searing historical drama traces the roots — and the devastating aftermath — of the city’s 1967 unrest


Published 2:00 pm, Sunday, July 23, 2017

“Detroit” feels like a war film — which, in many ways, it is.

During the summer of 1967, in Detroit and other major cities, discontent over racial injustice was escalating. Kathryn Bigelow’s masterful, immeasurably tense drama captures the volatility and importance of this incendiary time. The five-day uprising, which resulted in hundreds of injuries and 43 deaths, began with a police raid of an after-hours nightclub. Shortly thereafter, swaths of homes and businesses were burned down. It was often hard to distinguish between victim and perpetrator.

This extraordinarily searing film begins with the July 1967 raid and powerfully depicts the early escalation of the riots. It even more commandingly unpacks the scope of the unrest, by examining the experience of participants, specifically a group of unwitting victims.


“Detroit” has a vital sense of authenticity, rooted as it is in history, conveyed via Bigelow’s meticulously crafted cinema vérité style that, essentially, thrusts the viewer into the tense events. She is an expert at managing suspense and deftly blending sensitivity with a journalistic sense of details. Her signature filmmaking style — kinetic, visceral and immersive — works brilliantly here. “Detroit” is a work of consummate skill which kicks into high gear when the focus turns from widespread civil unrest to the very specific.

A report of gunfire near a National Guard staging area propelled Detroit police and Michigan state troopers, as well as a private security guard, to search the nearby Algiers Motel. What followed was a vicious and prolonged interrogation of motel guests: The police spent hours intimidating and physically attacking a dozen guests, in an effort to force a confession about the gunshots. Their brutal efforts result in the point-blank killing of three unarmed African-American men and the brutal beatings of nine other men and women. No confession resulted.

The film incorporates historical record and personal accounts with dialogue written by Mark Boal, the screenwriter with whom Bigelow collaborated on “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” Boal has woven a riveting fact-based story, bolstered by extensive research, into an uncommonly compelling narrative.


The crimes that occurred inside the Algiers Motel that night, though publicized at the time, are no longer widely known or referenced. Bigelow has vividly reconstructed them so that audiences experience them in real time. Bigelow, cinematographer Barry Ackroyd (“The Big Short”) and editor William Goldenberg (“Argo”) intercut existing archival footage with fluid, unobtrusive documentary-style visuals, intensifying the power and authenticity of the narrative and the viewer’s personal connection to it.

At the heart of the story is burgeoning Motown talent Larry Reed, lead singer of R&B group The Dramatics, played superbly by Algee Smith (“Earth to Echo”). As the story unfolds, tragedy strikes all around and envelops him. That fateful night changes the course of his life. With his incandescently beautiful voice, Reed was deeply committed to his musical career. Earlier that evening he and his fellow Dramatics were scheduled to play Detroit’s Fox Theater, but their show was cancelled when the venue was evacuated due to nearby rioting. Reed and his pal Fred Simple (a terrific Jacob Latimore, “Collateral Beauty”) take refuge at the nearby Algiers Motel.

Another person who ended up at the Algiers that night was security guard Melvin Dismukes (an excellent John Boyega), a decent man forced into an untenable position. The film’s only flaw is not telling enough of Dismukes’ story. We see him arrested and framed for the murders that took place in the motel, and later see him freed. Bigelow omits the trial in between and how the black community turned against him.


The ensemble cast is topnotch, particularly during the emotionally taxing and relentlessly brutal scenes in the motel. Anthony Mackie (who also starred in “Hurt Locker”) is terrific as a courageous hotel guest accused of being a pimp because of his friendship with two young white women, who police insist are prostitutes.

Bigelow’s explosive film is all the more emotionally charged because of her close examination of the abuse of power by white cops, led by the callous and malevolent officer Philip Krauss, played chillingly by Will Poulter (“We’re the Millers”). The riots — and the night of terror inside the Algiers Motel — are an American tragedy, whose reverberations continued to be felt: in Los Angeles in 1992, in Ferguson in 2014, in Baltimore in 2015, and in far too many individual clashes between white police officers and black men.

The trial of the abusive police officers is featured in the final third of the film. The officers are found not guilty of any wrongdoing; the parallels between the cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Philando Castile are resoundingly clear. Bigelow has said she hopes the film will spark a much-needed conversation on race. Cinematically, she takes a fascinating route toward that goal: a direct path from the riots to an intense look at the Algiers Motel incident, as it unfolded and in the subsequent trial.

The first third of the film juxtaposes a musical celebration inside the Fox Theater with the mounting chaos on the streets. (The film’s Motown-heavy score is a fantastic addition.) Meanwhile, we see people looting, setting buildings on fire, throwing Molotov cocktails. The police are soon backed by National Guard troops. It’s a startlingly incongruous visual: behemoth tanks, vessels of war, wending their way through downtown avenues. The second third of the film focuses on the tortuous, claustrophobic and stomach-turning events inside the hotel, with the final third centered on the trial and its outrage-provoking verdict.

In an animated prologue, Bigelow incorporates African-American artist Jacob Lawrence’s evocative series of panels on the great migration. The text is provided by historian and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. It’s fitting that Gates contributed to the film, given his own 2009 arrest, which drew national attention to race relations and law enforcement. The prologue contextualizes racial segregation.

Weighty context informs “Detroit” throughout, reminding viewers of lasting, unresolved racial injustice in the U.S. Decades of bigotry, discrimination and prejudice loom large as we watch the film. One can only hope that awareness will be raised and consciousness awakened by those who see the film, which should be required viewing. The legacy of the Algiers Motel case has contributed to where we are today, still struggling with a perilous racial divide.

“Detroit” is an impeccably-rendered and pivotal battle in a much longer, shattering war.


Read original story ‘Detroit’ Review: Kathryn Bigelow Powerfully Connects Historic Riots to Modern Discord At TheWrap

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