Items of potential interest to government documents librarians or government information managers in Michigan. For more information contact Jon Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kirk Jones, a 40-year-old unemployed salesman from Canton, survived a fall over Niagara Falls without anything protecting him, like a barrel, life jacket or boat, on Oct. 20, 2003.
Jones — who’d drunk vodka and Coke before he jumped and had carefully placed his driver’s license, Social Security card and business card in a Ziploc bag in his shirt pocket — blamed his plunge over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls on depression, which he called “a terrible thing.”
Kirk was fined $2,260 in U.S. dollars, barred from Niagara Park for a year and ordered to repay $1,060 to make up for the 45 minutes the tourist site was closed after the stunt.
However, his confidence in life has been restored.
For the full article, see Zlati Meyer, "This Week in Michigan History : Canton man survives unprotected jump into Niagara Falls", Detroit Free Press, October 20, 2013.
In honor of Detroit's role in the Underground Railroad, the development group Detroit 300 commissioned two sculptures, one in Detroit and the other in Windsor and dedicated the monuments on this day in 2001.
Source : Michigan Every Day, Underground Railroad web site sponsored by Black Voice News, Statuary and Memorial Commemorating Detroit's Role in the Underground Railroad at the Detroit River in Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit.
At the first induction ceremony and dinner held October 20, 1983 in Dearborn, 18 women were recognized, among them Isabella Baumfree (Sojourner Truth), a former slave who became a nationally known crusader for human rights; Anna Howard Shaw, a minister and physician who succeeded Susan B. Anthony in leading the National American Women’s Suffrage Association; and Lucinda Hinsdale Stone, the state’s foremost spokesperson for coeducation during the last half of the 19th century and founder of the women’s club movement in Michigan. Among the contemporary inductees were Martha Griffiths, a congresswoman, primary sponsor of the ERA in that body, and first woman elected lieutenant governor in Michigan, and Rosa Parks, often called the mother of the modern civil rights movement.
Civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo. Former first lady Betty Ford. Singer Aretha Franklin. The late comedian Gilda Radner. What do they have in common? They’re all women of achievement with Michigan ties. And they’re among the dozens of honorees in the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. You can browse the list of honorees by name, area of achievement, group or era. You can also find out who is being inducted this year at a banquet set for Oct. 30, 2014 in Lansing.
For more information visit Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame
In 1953, Milo Radulovich, 26, a WWII veteran, was attending the University of Michigan on the GI Bill. He was hoping to get a degree in physics so he could advance in his career as a meteorologist. He lived in Dexter, Mi., with his wife Nancy and their two daughters. He had joined the Army Air Corps in 1944 and became a meteorologist. He was a first lieutenant when he was discharged in 1952. As a weather forecaster, he had top-secret clearance and was required to remain in the reserves. In September 1953 he received a letter informing him he was being dismissed from the reserves as a poor security risk because his continued relationship with his father and sister who were deemed left-wing sympathizers.
To make a long story short, the famous newscaster Edward R. Murrow was looking for a case where an ordinary citizen was being persecuted unfairly because of Senator McCarthy's Anti-Communist, Red Scare, Campaign. He chose Milo and was able to clear his name. The Detroit News also played a part as well, carrying stories about his plight before the national telecast on CBS.
After dropping out of school, he moved to California, where he became a meteorologist, eventually securing a position with the National Weather Service. He later returned to Michigan to serve as chief meteorologist at Lansing's Capital City Airport until his retirement in 1994. He lived in Lodi, Calif., until his death.
Years later, after his death, the University of Michigan issues Milo an honorary degree to make up for his dropping out of school because of the Red Scare witchhunt.
In 2005 Academy Award-nominated film "Good Night, and Good Luck" retold the incident.
For the full article, see Julie Morris, "The man who fought McCarthy's red smear", Detroit News, May 5, 2004.
For another, see Darryn Fitzgerald, "Student ousted in Red Scare granted honorary degree", Michigan Daily, November 23, 2008.
For another, see Michael Stoll, "How journalism saved one man, and the rest of us, from McCarthyism", Grade the News, Feb. 20, 2006
The date was Oct. 20, 1934, and the opponent was Georgia Tech. It was a rare occurrence in those days for Michigan to play a team from outside the Midwest, but Fielding H. Yost — the legendary coach who was then U-M’s athletic director — had been looking for a Southern squad to fill out the 1934 schedule. Georgia Tech got the invite.
There was one big problem, though. In those days, Jim Crow was a sad fact of life in college football, and teams from the South generally refused to play against any team that fielded a black player.
U-M’s best player that year was an incredible athlete from Detroit named Willis Ward. He was tall and strong and very fast. He was also black.
Georgia Tech was well aware that Michigan had an African-American on the roster. From the outset, the Yellow Jackets told Yost they would refuse to play the game if Ward were allowed to take the field.
Yost’s feelings on matters of race were no secret. The son of a Confederate soldier, he had never allowed an African-American to play for Michigan during his 25 seasons as coach. Still, as 1934 dragged on, Yost refused to say what he was going to do about Willis Ward and Georgia Tech.
Despite Yost’s silence, word leaked out a couple of weeks before the game that Ward might be benched. This caused a firestorm the likes of which the Ann Arbor campus had never seen.
Angry letters were written to Yost and Coach Harry Kipke, virtually all of them demanding that Ward be allowed to play. The story was front-page news across the country. Petitions were circulated. Rallies were held.
And at the center of it all was a 21-year-old college kid who simply wanted to play football.
No official announcement was made, but a few days before the game, Yost made his decision: Willis Ward would be benched against Georgia Tech. For the first and only time in the proud history of the University of Michigan, a player was going to be sidelined solely because of his race.
When Ward’s teammates found out, they were furious, especially his best friend on the team, a tall lineman from Grand Rapids named Gerald Ford.
Jerry Ford and Willis Ward had met on their first day at U-M, during freshman orientation. They became fast friends and eventually decided to room together on road trips. When their senior year rolled around, they were both going to be starters, and they were thrilled.
That excitement disappeared, though, when the Georgia Tech incident surfaced. Ford was irate at what was happening to his friend, so on the eve of the game, he went to Kipke and said just two words: “I quit.”
Ford eventually agreed to play against Georgia Tech, but only because Ward personally asked him to. “You need to play — and you need to pound them,” he said.
Pound them he did. A couple of plays into the game, a lineman from Georgia Tech named Charlie Preston started hurling vile racist insults at the Wolverines. Ford had heard enough. He put a devastating block on Preston, knocking him out of the game. “That was for Willis,” he said.
Michigan won the game, 9-2, and it ended up being its only win in a miserable 1-7 season. The Georgia Tech game had sucked the soul out of the Wolverines.
Brian Kruger and Buddy Moorehouse, "Willis Ward, Gerald Ford and Michigan football's darkest day", Detroit News, August 9, 2012.
For more information, see
Black and blue : the story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward, and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech football game / Stunt3 Multimedia presents a Brian Kruger and Buddy Moorehouse film. [Grosse Point, MI] : Stunt3 Multimedia, c2011. 1 DVD videodisc (ca. 56 minutes) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. MSU Library Digital and Multimedia Center (4 West) GV958.M43 B53 2011 VideoDVD
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