I grew up in the city of Detroit in the 1960s and ‘70s. As a white minority attending school at Detroit Public Schools, I learned a lot about – and developed a deep appreciation for – African-American history and culture. One of my earliest church choir memories was learning “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
While living in Detroit in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, “white flight,” and school bussing to other districts, I witnessed first-hand the struggles as well as the triumphs of racial issues. This developed in me an acute sensitivity for racial and ethnic harmony.
“With his horses killed, his men dead, and his supports overwhelmed and driven back, the enemy rushed upon the battery. Van Pelt, as the last act of his young life, drew his sword and sprang to the front of his pieces, with that inexplicable frenzy which supplies with strength as with courage, he cried with a voice of thunder, ‘Don’t dare touch these guns.’ Onward the inexorable wave of glistening bayonets surged, over and past him, burying him under his lost guns.”
- New York Herald newspaper, 1863
Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln, General Custer. You probably learned all about these names in history class. But had you ever heard Lieutenant George Van Pelt’s story, or know why he defended the battle guns in the Loomis Battery right to the end of his life? He was willing to die for this battery because it was a source of pride for Michigan during the Civil War and in several key battles for the Union.
Hidden stories like these are a central part of Discovering the Civil War, the traveling exhibition on display this summer at Henry Ford Museum. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the war, and for the first time, this exhibit – which usually tours the country in three parts – has come together for the ultimate Civil War buff to dive into. Continue reading →
Travel blogger Donald Dale Milne gives us the inside scoop on some of the lesser-known things to do in the Grayling, Michigan area.
Crawford County Historical Museum
Everyone knows that Hartwick Pines State Park and Au Sable River canoeing are great places in Grayling. But how about enjoying some lesser-known attractions in the area? I’ve found three that are worth adding to your Grayling travel itinerary.
It’s time to “Do The D,” according to Inside Detroit—this downtown welcome center offers tours that can be tailored to any interest, including African American history, churches, architecture and pub crawls. Tina Lassen, a contributing writer forMichigan Travel Ideas, writes about her tour that inspiredMotown Remastered, a feature in this year’s guide.
Our tour starts in Campus Martius Park (less than two blocks from Inside Detroit’s headquarters) on Woodward Avenue. This green space sports plenty of cafe tables and chairs—popular with the lunchtime crowd—and a stage for musical entertainment. Many of the buildings in the downtown area are treasures, but you wouldn’t necessarily realize that from walking past. The Guardian Building, on Griswold, between Larned and Congress, is an Art Deco marvel of tile and Tiffany glass.
When one thinks of the Holland Tulip Time Festival, tulips are (logically) the first thing that come to mind. And with good reason. During the annual festival, millions of tulips are in bloom and quite a sight to behold. But beyond the tulips and events celebrating the town’s Dutch heritage, music lovers will be happy to find a robust schedule featuring regional and national bands. Continue reading →