Detroit’s Corktown celebrates the history of Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. From Irish immigrants in the 1840s to urban pioneers of the 21st century, this community has beckoned to the restless of spirit, the adventurous, and those who have sought to escape poverty and oppression to make a new life in America. While the city of Detroit has undergone tremendous change over the years, Corktown has never forgotten the solid working-class roots established by brave pioneers in the mid-19th century. Many of their shotgun homes are still occupied, and many commercial buildings have served the community for decades. Today the neighborhood is the scene of increasing residential and commercial development and has attracted attention throughout the region. No longer exclusively Irish, the community has also been important historically to the large German, Maltese, and Mexican populations of Detroit. Today it is a diverse and proud community of African Americans, Hispanics, working-class people of various national origins, and a growing population of young urban pioneers. It is still the sentimental heart of the Irish American community of metropolitan Detroit, and the Irish Plaza on Sixth Street honors the city’s Irish pioneers and their 600,000 descendents living in the region.
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Armando Delicato is a retired teacher of history and a media specialist. He is the author of Italians in Detroit. Julie Demery is an active member of four organizations in the Irish community in Detroit. The Worker’s Rowhouse Museum is a memorial to early settlers and, by extension, to all the pioneers who created modern Detroit. This book has been inspired by the museum, and the authors’ royalties will go to the museum.
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