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Image of Bob Bury

© Gilles Perrin http://www.gilles-perrin.com/

Bob Bury
Executive Director, Detroit Historical Museum

I was born and raised here and have lived here all my life. Detroit is really a fabulous city. Detroit has a really proud history, and one of the things that I think we can do better is utilize Detroit’s history to help inform and educate the future. Detroit has certainly had a lot of challenges, but it really has been the home in many ways to what has happened in American culture . . . a whole variety of innovations, both manufacturing innovations and social innovations.

Detroit has its share of challenges, education and poverty, and the gap between the people who have achieved and have not achieved is big and is growing, and you know those are all issues that you can’t ignore, they certainly have to be addressed, but if you look at Detroit’s history, there’s precedent for solving all of those. Back in the 1800s one of the mayors of Detroit, Mayor Pingree, had an innovative plan to give vacant land to poor citizens that didn’t have jobs so they could farm the land, and we’re thinking about doing the same thing today. Some of those things are not without precedent, and in the end Detroit will be a stronger, very different city than it was in the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s.

From June 13, 2012, interview