Archive for January 2008
An amazing photoset on Flickr: The Detroit Public Schools Book Depository/ Roosevelt Warehouse
This is a building where our deeply-troubled public school system once stored its supplies, and then one day apparently walked away from it all, allowing everything to go to waste. The interior has been ravaged by fires and the supplies that haven’t burned have been subjected to 20 years of Michigan weather. To walk around this building transcends the sort of typical ruin-fetishism and “sadness” some get from a beautiful abandoned building. This city’s school district is so impoverished that students are not allowed to take their textbooks home to do homework, and many of its administrators are so corrupt that every few months the newspapers have a field day with their scandals, sweetheart-deals, and expensive trips made at the expense of a population of children who can no longer rely on a public education to help lift them from the cycle of violence and poverty that has made Detroit the most dangerous city in America. To walk through this ruin, more than any other, I think, is to obliquely experience the real tragedy of this city; not some sentimental tragedy of brick and plaster, but one of people.
“Read them and weep”, I think, is the only appropriate comment here. This is just tragic – as one of the commenters on Sweet Juniper says, “There is a guy in Detroit, wearing a nice suit, that is responsible for this. He gets to go home smiling, well paid, and nothing will be done about it.”