This Week on American Black Journal:

Wayne State receives $6 million grant to fund Detroit Center for Black Studies, 30 new faculty positions

Wayne State University has received a new $6 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to further invest in studies about the Black experience. The grant funding is being used to hire 30 new humanities faculty whose interests and research focus on the Black experience as well as create the Detroit Center for Black Studies. 

The faculty will focus on exploring the issues that affect the Black experience — race, racism, inequality, creating more inclusive criteria for students, and engaging in service with the Black community. The goal for the Detroit Center for Black Studies is to bring together Michigan’s Black studies scholars from multiple disciplines to discuss their work. The grant funds help advance Wayne State’s efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable university.  

Wayne State University President Dr. M. Roy Wilson joins “American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson to share all the details of this unprecedented funding opportunity. They talk about the importance of expanding Black studies in Detroit, where nearly 80% of the population is African American, and the impact the funding will have on promoting diversity and inclusion within the university. 

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II on the administration’s investment in downtown Detroit

As Michigan ushers in a Democratic-controlled state government for the first time in 40 years, what could that mean for the state’s ongoing investments in Detroit? And what could Detroit’s resurgence mean for the rest of the region and state?

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II sat down with “American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson on the Motor City Casino Hotel’s Sound Board stage at the 2023 Detroit Policy Conference, hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber, for a conversation about what’s happening in downtown Detroit and the administration’s economic plans for investing in the city’s future.  

They talk about Lt. Gov. Gilchrist II’s childhood growing up just east of downtown Detroit, in the Elmwood Park area, the evolution of Detroit over the years and the importance of having a vibrant downtown, and about the state’s partnerships that are investing in transportation infrastructure, a stronger technology ecosystem, and spaces for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Plus, Lt. Gov. Gilchrist II shares whether he may run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Debbie Stabenow next year. 

Closing the wealth gap for Black-owned businesses. Can it be done in Detroit?

Less than 10% of the businesses downtown are Black-owned, and even less than that, 2% of the buildings downtown are Black-owned. In a city with a majority Black population, how did we get here? BridgeDetroit Engagement Director Orlando Bailey sits down with Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance President and CEO Charity Dean, at the 2023 Detroit Policy Conference, to talk about how downtown Detroit can invest in and empower Black businesses.  

They talk about the racial wealth gap that exists in downtown Detroit, Southeast Michigan and across the state, and the history of discriminatory laws and practices that paved the way for these disparities. 

Plus, Dean shares how members of the Black Business Alliance must navigate a lack of access to capital and how corporate America can be part of the solution. She talks about reparations for descendants of Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood, the origins of the Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance, and the policy changes the alliance is advocating for in 2023. 

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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.