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At the Lorenzo Cultural Center: Learn about the heroes, visionaries, leaders and scoundrels who helped make Michigan what it is today

– Thursday, April 9, 2015 12:00AM

Presentations explore figures including Liuzzo, Hoffa, Young as part of ‘101 People, Places and Things that Made Michigan’ program series  

History is made by unusual people and ordinary people who do unusual things. Some are great, some are notorious and many possess a combination of good and bad qualities that lead to passionate debates about their legacies. Michigan’s history is full of people like that. A series of presentations at the Lorenzo Cultural Center will tell some of their stories.

The presentations are part of the center’s 101 People, Places and Things that Made Michigan, program series, which continues through May 9:

  •  Viola Liuzzo: Passionate Undertakings, April 11, 1 p.m.: Michael Placco, professor of history,  Macomb Community College, discusses Detroit activist Viola Liuzzo, her impassioned involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, her tragic murder and the subsequent legal proceedings.
  • 20 Famous Detroiters You’ve Never Heard Of, April 16, 11 a.m.: Joel Stone, senior curator at the Detroit Historical Society, recounts the histories of heroes and geniuses, teachers and merchants, drunks and scoundrels, who had a lasting impact on our state, but for some reason have been swept into the historical dust bin.
  • Killing Jimmy Hoffa—40 years later, April 17, 1 p.m.: Filmmakers Al Profit and Scott Burnstein will present a 52-minute cut of their documentary film “Killing Jimmy Hoffa,” telling the story of Hoffa’s disappearance and probable murder.
  • Two Technocrats and The Rouge: Henry Ford and Diego Rivera in Detroit, 1932–33, April 19,
    2 p.m.: John M. Staudenmaier, University of Detroit Mercy, shares how Edsel Ford brought Diego Rivera to Detroit to paint his famous murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts and how Rivera was welcomed by Edsel’s father Henry Ford, despite Rivera’s communist politics and Henry’s increasing reclusiveness.
  • Coleman A. Young: His Life and Legacy, April 22, 11 a.m.:  Patrina Chatman, curator of exhibitions, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, details the life and legacy of the first African-American mayor of the city of Detroit.
  • Stevens T. Mason: The Boy Governor, April 23, 11 a.m.: Don Faber, author and former editor of the Ann Arbor News, highlights the state’s first governor, Stevens T. Mason, who received a presidential appointment at the age of 19, prepared Michigan for statehood, fought a war with Ohio, but eventually died in disgrace.
  • The Michigan King of Beaver Island: James Jesse Strang, April 23, 1 p.m.:  Don Faber tells the story of James Jesse Strang, who lost the leadership of the Mormon Church to Brigham Young before taking his followers to Beaver Island and crowning himself “king,” took plural wives and served in the legislature.

All presentations are free to attend, but pre-registration is required. Register by phone by calling 585.445.7348 or online at The cultural center is located on Macomb Community College’s Center Campus, 44575 Garfield Road (at Hall Road), in Clinton Township.

About the Lorenzo Cultural Center
The Lorenzo Cultural Center ( explores the influences and experiences that shape our community's heritage, examining topics from a variety of perspectives and creating interactive opportunities for learning, celebration and entertainment. The cultural center is adjacent to the Macomb Center for Performing Arts.

About Macomb Community College
Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 48,000 students annually.  Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges.  The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Media Contact: James Melton, 586.445.7271,