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Learning about Flint’s history of housing discrimination, from a bike

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Studying about Flint’s historical past of housing discrimination, from a motorcycle

After Emily Doerr accomplished her first summer season offering excursions of Flint via her firm, Flint Metropolis Bike Excursions, she obtained some priceless suggestions: folks wished extra particularly themed excursions.

“I realized final summer season that folks truly need to be extra targeted,” Doerr mentioned. “My first summer season of excursions was extra common. Individuals preferred it, however they wished extra particular matters like structure or artwork or historical past. You will get extra nuance while you’re targeted on only one particular factor.”

Doerr already had a singular tour targeted on the more than 100 murals that Flint Public Art Project has brought artists to town to create. This summer season, Thomas Henthorn, a school member within the Division of Historical past on the College of Michigan-Flint approached her with an concept: a motorcycle tour targeted on Flint’s neighborhoods and the historical past of housing discrimination and redlining within the metropolis.

“A variety of the tour is said to analysis I am doing proper now on residential segregation and neighborhood planning within the early a part of the twentieth century, and in addition simply analysis on Civic Park basically,” Henthorn mentioned.

Doerr and Henthorn partnered to do the tour twice this summer season, and with greater than 30 riders collaborating, it was her hottest tour. Individuals make six stops alongside the tour, and find out about how varied neighborhoods have been developed, who they have been developed for, and the way discriminatory practices have been used to exclude teams of individuals, first non-Caucasion European immigrants within the early twentieth century, and later Black Individuals who have been migrating to Flint from the southern United States.

“It’s not a fairly historical past,” Doerr mentioned. “It’s one thing we have to aggressively and proactively battle in opposition to. However the best way Professor Henthorn presents the data, it is vitally research-based and gives an excellent clarification to assist folks perceive how institutional racism works.”

The tour begins at Berston Fieldhouse and, among the many stops, are Oak Park, Civic Park, and Metawanee Hills. Whereas the members on the excursions realized about Flint’s historical past, in addition they acquired to work together straight with residents.

“Individuals wish to see of us out driving, they wave to you, you get quite a lot of nice reactions from the parents within the neighborhoods,” Henthorn mentioned. “Our final bike tour, we have been joined on the finish by a few guys who have been simply out driving their bikes and requested the place we have been driving to and went together with us.”

Henthorn additionally famous that, together with educating a few of the historical past of Flint, the excursions offered an excellent alternative to indicate folks that there’s a lot of magnificence in Flint’s neighborhoods.

“It’s actually essential that we give attention to the neighborhoods themselves right here,” he mentioned. “A part of the tour is drawing consideration to the challenges, however you additionally see that there are quite a lot of nice issues occurring and nice individuals who stay right here.”
Proceeds from the tour additionally went on to the City Renaissance Middle in Civic Park.

This summer season, Doerr additionally featured a brand new Haunted Flint tour of town’s historic cemeteries, based mostly on a book by Roxanne Rhoads and Joe Schipani. The COVID-19 pandemic restricted Flint Metropolis Bike Excursions plans to do greater excursions over the summer season, however Doerr is trying ahead to working with extra group members or teams sooner or later to create custom-made excursions on particular matters.

Though the Journey the Purple Line tour is accomplished for the summer season, Doerr and Henthorn each plan to proceed it subsequent summer season. Doerr additionally mentioned that, relying on climate cooperation, the Haunted Flint tour may add some dates in late September or October.

“If now we have respectable climate, it might be cool to do Haunted Flint in October when persons are actually entering into Halloween,” she mentioned.

Details about Flint Metropolis Bike Excursions is available on its website.


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