Motown Woes to Wins

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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick couldn't have stated the major problem facing the city any better than when he said: "We've got to get off our asses and stop being so woe-is-me" ["Summer in the City," July 23-30].

If you want to foster progress, you've got to change your attitude. Be part of the solution and not the problem. And there is a heck of a lot to do. One of the answers to Detroit's problems: educate, educate, educate. In 1998, the Department of Education estimated that 47 percent of the residents of Detroit were functionally illiterate. That is a travesty, a blatant example of discrimination. The Detroit community as a whole can work on the problem of this serious lack of literacy and help solve it. Every Detroit resident with free time and who can read should spend some time every week reading to preschoolers, tutoring a high school student, or teaching an adult to read. There's so much more we can do.

William C. Plumpe


I was born and raised in detroit, graduating from high school in 1967. The riots turned the city upside down, and it has never recovered. It was a blue-collar town with a lot of pride. The city provided services that were good in quality and quantity. My dad was a supervisor for the Department of Sanitation. The streets and alleys were clean and free of debris. There was a good public school system, with quality education. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and retired in 1993, but the Detroit then and the one that I grew up in were a world apart. On my return visits to my hometown, I have seen parts of Detroit that were in worse condition than some Third World countries I have been in. I have fond memories of growing up in Detroit. That pride can return if the homeowners again take pride in their homes and surrounding community.

Bryan Balow

Ayden , N.C.