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final honors 4 Essay Detroit Race (Human Categorization)

 
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Mubarka Saifee
Honors 1000
11/16/15
We Stand for More than The Fist
When I saw the Memorial to Joe Louis, the fist, I could not think of a better
representation of the city of Detroit. However, after looking into the history of this public
art piece, it is evident that city was conflicted over the architectural aspects of the fist.
Three aspects will be analyzed, Detroit’s “rise and fall” during this time, racism and the
distinguishing factor between the artist’s view and the public’s view of public art in
relation to African American representation such as the fist, and the location. This paper
will analyze African American representation in public art in predominantely Caucassian
regions. More specifically, the discussion will focus on how the fist was an example
depict
ng that representation created for the sake of cross-racial healing often causes the
very social divisions that it wants to fix.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Joe’s Louis’s image in public was often
ambiguous due to the racial tension of the time. Under the ambiguity though, Louis was a
symbol of hope for African Americans and a hero admired by whites.
1
 Some years after
he passed away the 1967 Riots occurred and the rate of homicides in Detroit shot up. The
rate of homicides was particularly high in 1987, the year after the sculpture of Joe Louis’s
fist was created. There was an unsettling atmosphere that enveloped the city of Detroit.
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Quaife, Milo Milton, and Will White.
This Is Detroit: 250 Years in Pictures, 1701-
1951
. Detroit: n.p., 1951. 128-29. Print.