Delray Interview Michael Christopher Featured Image

Delray Interview: Michael Christopher

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Click here to see a timeline of events in Delray

Click here to see resources for further reading on Delray

Michael Christopher, a lifelong Delray resident and active member of the Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition, has lived in Delray all his life. His roots in Delray traces back to the first Great Migration of the 1930s. Michael’s parents, amongst hundreds of thousands of other blacks, traveled to northern cities like New York, Chicago, and Detroit, for a life away from inequality. As a child, he learned many trades from his father, such as plumping, carpentry and wiring. He is invested in his property, and enjoys fixing up his house. Michael shares stories from his childhood in Delray during the 1960s, and how the city has evolved. He wishes to see the government, businesses, and the residents of the city align as one in the pursuit of a better future for Delray.

Delray’s Entrepreneurial Past

Michael’s father was one of the first blacks to start businesses in Delray in the 1940s. His entrepreneur edge was furthered by the economic opportunities available in Delray at that time for minorities. His father’s businesses included a gas station on Jefferson and Ford Street, first carwash in Delray, and a restaurant. The home Michael is living in now was originally purchased by his father.



The Departure

Michael has experience’s Delray’s rapid decline over the past few decades. He shares his observation of the departure of mom and pop shops and residents as pollution raided the city. In the first half of the 20th century, Delray was the industrial hotspot of Detroit. However, government negligence and industry’s disregards for community has changed Delray for the worse. Michael watched as his alma mater and other schools that supported the community close.

 

The Change We Need

The Delray Michael sees now is not the city he remembers as a well kept, scenic paradise of the 1960s. The declining population and increasing number of burnt out houses does not dampen his pursuit of reversing the trend. Michael believes that investing in the people of Delray is the catalyst to not only Delray’s recovery, but also the rest of Detroit’s recovery as well.



The Bridge to the Future

Delray’s current state does not discourage Michael. He is optimistic about the bridge, and hopes that it will bring more money and attention to Delray. Michael wants the bridge to be like Delray: brand new, prosperous, and for the people.

To read an original poem by Michael Christopher, click here.

Click here to see all narratives on Delray

Click here to see a timeline of events in Delray

Click here to see resources for further reading on Delray

 

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