Sometimes discrimination is systemic. Sometimes it’s emotional. And sometimes, it’s made of brick and mortar. The Eight Mile Wall in Detroit, also known as the Birwood Wall and the Wailing Wall, was built in 1941 to separate Black and white residents in what is now known as the Wyoming neighborhood.
Erin Einhorn is an NBC News national reporter based in Detroit. She recently teamed up with Olivia Lewis, a reporter and editor for the local nonprofit newsroom Bridge Detroit to outline the creation of this half-mile-long wall, financed by one of the city’s most prominent families, and its impact on Detroit residents.
One of those residents is Rose McKinney-James, a clean energy consultant. She’s based in Las Vegas now, but grew up in Detroit. Rose’s grandmother, Burniece Avery, was a community activist who fought against the wall and other forms housing discrimination.
And they spoke with Teresa Moon, a retired city employee and long-time resident of the Eight Mile neighborhood. Teresa grew up with the wall literally in her backyard, and is now one of the neighborhood’s biggest cheerleaders.
Trymaine Lee sits down with Erin and Olivia to learn about the history of the Eight Mile Wall. And he speaks with Rose and Teresa about the legacy the wall left on their families.
For a transcript, please visit https://www.msnbc.com/intoamerica.
Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at [email protected]
Further Reading and Viewing:
- Read the NBC News special report by Erin Einhorn and Olivia Lewis: Built to keep Black from white
- Documentary: A Detroit neighborhood stands in the shadow of a segregation wall built 80 years ago
This is a show about politics, about policy, and the power both have over the lives of the American people. It sheds light on the candidates and the president they are running to unseat. It connects the dots between policies and voters across the political spectrum. Hosted by Trymaine Lee. Featuring the journalists of NBC News. This is how America sounds. This is Into America.