“Love Thy Neighbor”

April 27, 2014

8 Mile Wall in Detroit, MI.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Last weekend was the Easter weekend, and no, this is not a post about religion as such.  The sentiment expressed in the above mural is, however, a virtue expressed in many religions in one form or another.  In this particular context, that statement is quite poignant indeed.

8 Mile Wall in Detroit, MI.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

In 1934, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was created and later came to be utilized to assist GIs returning from World War II with the purchase of a house-this program was the model for housing loans that is still in use today.  Written into the FHA code was a set of standards for determining which neighborhoods would be eligible and which would not.  Please be sure to read this link as it provides a concise history of the development and implementation of this program.  It is important to understand the degree of systemic racism that was built into the process, which came to be known as “red-lining”.  Walls were literally built to provide a point of demarcation to separate the red-lined neighborhoods from those determined to be more acceptable and thus supported by the program.

8 Mile Wall in Detroit, MI.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The photographs here are of 8 Mile Wall, and it is located in Detroit, Michigan.  It is also known locally as “The Wailing Wall”, and it now stands as a form of monument for remembrance of that era.

8 Mile Wall in Detroit, MI.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The wall is 6 feet high and 2 feet thick.

8 Mile Wall in Detroit, MI.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

One side of the wall contained the neighborhoods designated for whites (the “acceptable” neighborhoods) and the other side of wall was for people of colour (the “red-lined” neighborhoods).  Black GIs, who had also been relegated to serving in segregated units during WWII, were often denied loans when they returned home.  It is now illegal to openly, specifically, discriminate when it comes to housing.

8 Mile Wall in Detroit, MI.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

After all, how does one demonstrate care and concern and develop a sense of togetherness and community, if not love, for one’s neighbor when a literal wall has been constructed specifically as a means of separation?

Figuratively, such barriers remain and are reinforced in many ways in popular culture.  Just for a moment Star Wars fans, think about the clothes Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader wear.  Who is the “good” guy?

Take care.

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One Response to ““Love Thy Neighbor””

  1. Renuka Says:

    This is such a well written article and the pictures are fabulous Kevin! It is crazy that so much has changed in our world, yet things such as racism and other things still exist. It is unfortunate. If we really start truly loving our neighbors, no matter what capacity, large or small, I can just imagine what a dynamic shift we can make. Can’t we all just get along? Let us help spread love and kindness!!!!


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