Over the River
Returning home to Flint

Manning, Richard
Publisher:  Harper's Magazine
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22974

Author Richard Manning returns to his childhood home of Flint, Michigan and recounts the city's decline from thriving industry into an economic depression, from which the city has never recovered. Flint is left with an eroded infrastructure, neighbourhoods rife with crime and public health emergencies, and the decades old question of how will it ever recover.


Excerpt: My destination was not much of a house, not even when it was new, just one cracker box among many in the old neighborhood of Mott Park. A few blocks northwest of downtown, Mott Park was designed in the Twenties as a workers' paradise: each street curbed and sidewalked, a bungalow in every lot, patches of lawn to mow, and trees that yielded leaves for raking. Returning after sixty-five years, I noticed first the empty spaces, like gaps in a hockey player's grin. Flint's main public-works project these days is razing a thousand houses a year, a number limited only by available funds. The supply of abandoned houses delivered by the collapse of the auto industry, the financial crisis, and now poisoned water has, at least, created work for bulldozers. Most of the houses not yet razed are falling in or filled with trash, or have been gutted by fire. Some have been boarded up against squatters, but hardly any people remain here, in this treacherous part of a city routinely ranked among the most dangerous in the country.
Insert T_CxShareButtonsHorizontal.html here