Detroit, MI: 1969. Original black and white photograph (6.75" x 9.25"), minor wear. ADDED: reproductions of photographs of Richard Austin and Coleman Alexander Young. Very good. Item #4099
AFRICAN AMERICAN POLITICAL CANDIDATES CAMPAIGN FOR CHANGE IN RUINED DETROIT.
Striking, anonymous photograph of an anonymous crumbling Detroit house, likely taken in 1969 or 1970. The only remaining function of this shell of a "home" was serving as a grotesque billboard advertising hope and change. Affixed to the ruined facade are campaign posters for three African American political candidates running in Detroit’s current municipal elections. We have not been able to identify the photographer or if the photograph has been published elsewhere.
To suggest that these candidates candidates faced "challenging" conditions would be a gross understatement. Indeed, voters' were justifiably enraged by Detroit's police brutality, widespread racism, extreme socioeconomic disparity, unemployment and underemployment, food deserts, and the virtual absence of educational opportunities for people of color. The wounds of the 1967 Detroit riots had not yet turned into scars.
The African American candidates represented here are:
RICHARD AUSTIN, CPA (for Mayor). Austin was the son of a coal miner who became the first African American in Detroit to win a mayoral primary; ultimately he lost the general election, one of the closest political contests in Detroit’s history. Austin’s bold campaign blazed the trail for future Black candidates.
ROBERT TINDAL, Executive Secretary of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP, ran for the Common Council and was elected.
CLARA RUTHERFORD (for City Treasurer). Rutherford was not elected, but she was subsequently served for many years on the Detroit Public School Board.