Photograph by Gordon Young.
It’s an annual tradition: my hometown of Flint Michigan is ranked #1 most violent city in America by the FBI (with all that per capita stuff thrown in).
You might think Flint is basically so bad if you visited, you’d be killed within 5 minutes.
It’s more like 10.
Really, Flint is a hard-working amazing little town that works hard and plays hard. Just watch Gung Ho or even better Blue Collar or best read Rivethead: Tales From The Assembly Line for real insights on the place. Or of course any of the Michael Moore films except Sicko which has no Flint stuff in it.
I was born and raised there, and grew up during the crack-era 80′s. Perhaps the scariest night of my life was my father tackling a very crazy crackhead/dealer in our backyard. I thought for sure he was going to shoot and kill my Dad. What a lovely childhood memory. We put our house up for sale in 1986; it took over three years to sell it and we left the only home I’d ever known. We moved to the suburbs that summer of 1989, the year Fight The Power came out by Public Enemy.
1989/a number/another summer/sound of the funky drummer
In reality, Flint has its pockets of gangs, drugs, and crime like any other city; Flint just has more of it. Blame greedy General Motors. They did it. No other reason exists.
I took this photograph one recent summer in Flint. People know there is crime, gangs, murder and rape, yet still they dance. It seems someone forgot to tell them Flint is the most dangerous city in America.
Keep on dancing Flint.
Buick City was one of the first signs that General Motors first the massive auto complex in my hometown of Flint Michigan. Dating back to 1904, it built almost all the Buicks in existence. Look at those cars in relation to the sheer size of this this thing. It’s larger than Central Park, and its a building.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that there isn’t much of General Motors left in Flint, except large empty lots. These empty lots are being reclaimed by nature. Where once brick and steel stood, now whisps of grass, plants, and vegetation.
But even then, here at the gate of the empty lot that once was Buick City, nature reminds us that death is an all but too certain reality.
I found the metaphor profound.
Photographs by Gerry Godin. Used with permission.
For more on Buick City check out the must-see blog All Things Buick.