This Week on American Black Journal:

COVID recovery, chronic absenteeism, and a $700 million building campaign: DPSCD Supt. Dr. Nikolai Vitti discusses district’s future

In the decades before Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti was hired, Detroit had one of the most challenged school districts in America. In his first three years, Vitti was able to make major improvements to turn the district around, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, sidelining much of the progress being made. 

Now in his sixth school year, following a three-year contract extension through June 30, 2025, how does Vitti plan to steer the district back on course and into a prosperous future? One Detroit contributor Stephen Henderson sits down with Dr. Nikolai Vitti for a wide-ranging conversation. 

Coming to viewers live from the School at Marygrove, Vitti talks with Henderson about COVID-19’s impact on chronic absenteeism and student achievement, how the district will spend an unprecedented $700 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on building infrastructure, and what the future holds for the district’s students and staff. 

Forgotten Harvest CEO Kirk Mayes announces his resignation, talks about future entrepreneurial plans

Forgotten Harvest CEO and community leader Kirk Mayes has announced he’s stepping down from his role as CEO of the Oak Park-based food rescue nonprofit at the end of this year. The news comes shortly after Forgotten Harvest moved into a new 78,000-square-foot building on Eight Mile Road, more than doubling its footprint and capacity for serving the community. Mayes recently received the Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award from the Detroit Free Press. 

Kirk Mayes joins BridgeDetroit Engagement Director Orlando Bailey at the new Forgotten Harvest warehouse facility, at 15000 Eight Mile Road, for an exclusive, wide-ranging conversation. They talk more about Mayes’ decision to step down and the impact he’s had at the organization since he started there in 2014. 

RELATED: Watch Forgotten Harvest CEO Kirk Mayes full extended interview with Orlando Bailey

Plus, as Mayes rounds out his time with Forgotten Harvest, he talks with Bailey about his future aspirations as a consultant, speaker and author, as well as potential plans to visit Africa and establish his roots there. 

Detroit’s Black fraternities and sororities: A tour of their history, contributions

What is the history of Detroit’s Black fraternity and sorority houses? And what contributions have they made to Detroit, one of America’s largest majority-Black cities? In conjunction with acclaimed documentarian Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s new PBS documentary, “Making Black America: Through the Grapevine,” “American Black Journal” continues to look at Black Greek Letter Organizations from a local perspective. 

City of Detroit Historian Jamon Jordan and producer Marcus Green come together for a report on the historical houses and contributions of some of the Detroit chapters of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities. 


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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.