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Lorenzo Cultural Center explores The 1940s: Through the War and Beyond

– Tuesday, February 16, 2016 12:00AM

March – May series includes presentations, performances, film and exhibits that trace America’s transition to the modern era

The 1940s was a decade of tension and transition.  While the decade began with the world still at war and millions of Americans away from home, it concluded with Americans focusing on home life – from education to careers and family. Macomb Community College’s Lorenzo Cultural Center, on Center Campus in Clinton Township, presents The 1940s: Through the War and Beyond, offering nearly 40 presentations, films and performances, as well as exhibits.

The 1940s were not only a decade of radical transformation in areas such as gender roles, technology and economy; it also was a decade in which southeast Michigan played an out-sized role in the transformation.  The themes explored throughout the programing include southeast Michigan’s emergence as the Arsenal of Democracy, race relations and the changing role of women. 

On Thursday, May 5, 7 p.m., frequent History Channel commentator and historian H. W. Brands will explain how the victory in WWII established the power of the U.S., influencing American life and world relations for the next 50 years in Victory and Its Echoes: From FDR to Reagan.  The series features several interactive programs, including Tin Can Army, Thursday, March 10, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., depicting how children got involved in the war effort, such as taking part in scrap metal drives;  Knit Your Bit, Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m., and Thursday, March 31, 1 p.m., tells how home front knitters supported the war effort  and guides participants in making a scarf that will donated to a veteran; and Plant a Victory Garden, Wednesday, April 6, 11 a.m., explores how Americans grew their own food to ease shortages and encourages participants to plant seeds to take home and start their own gardens.

The evening of Saturday, April 16, the Rhythm Society Orchestra will recreate a World War II-era USO Dance, complete with period costumes.  Doors open at 6 p.m., with a dance lesson at 6:30 p.m. and open dancing at 7 p.m.  Individual tickets are $15 and available by calling 586.286.2222 or online at  

For a complete program series schedule, visit

Exhibits in the cultural center’s 8,500-square-foot Discovery Hall will include a 1944 M20 armored vehicle and 1940s movie theater vignette, as well as:

  • 1943 Detroit Race Riot: Examines some of the underlying causes of the rioting that broke out in Detroit during the summer of 1943 using artifacts, photos and text.  From the Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society.

  • Koppitz Beer:  Showcases examples of the Detroit brewing company’s patriotic artwork, which featured illustrations on the labels of their beer bottles of defense vehicles and other wartime innovations paid for by war stamps and bonds. From the Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society.

  • Fighting on the Home Front: Propaganda Posters of World War II: Features posters used to promote things such as war bonds,  growing and canning food and taking defense jobs to aid the war effort. From the Detroit Historical Society.
  • A Few Good Women: Women in the Military During the Second World War:Highlights the contributions of Michigan women in all phases of the war effort through text, video, audio and images. From the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame.

The series concludes with Stories of Service on Saturday, May 7, 1 p.m. A panel of World War II veterans will share their experiences of war and homecoming, facilitated by Brian Louwers, staff writer at C&G Newspapers, and John Lind, director of the Detroit Arsenal of Democracy Museum.

Except for the dance on April 16, admission to The 1940s: Through the War and Beyond is free, but pre-registration is required for all presentations and performances. To register, call 586.445.7348 or visit  The Lorenzo Cultural Center is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Thursdays. School and group tours are available. 

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. Located on Macomb Community College's Center Campus, Hall and Garfield roads in Clinton Township, 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 and is the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. 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,