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Lorenzo Cultural Center examines changing race relations in the 1940s

– Tuesday, March 1, 2016 12:00AM

As part of its program series The 1940s: Through the War and Beyond, a series of presentations at the Lorenzo Cultural Center explore changing race relations during the 1940s.

  • The Horror that No One Wanted to Remember: Detroit’s Race Riot of 1943, March 5, 1 p.m.: Jack Lessenberry, commentator on WUOM–FM, columnist for the Metro Times and head of the journalism faculty at Wayne State University, takes a look back at Detroit’s vicious 1943 race riot, which was eventually stopped only through the intervention of the U. S. Army.
  • Dr. Ralph J. Bunche: Early Civil Rights and Peace Pioneer, March 9, 11 a.m.:  Barbara Jones of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State University profiles the life of Detroit native Ralph Bunche, the first African-American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Bunche was a scientist, academic and diplomat who spent his life aiding oppressed people in the United States and abroad.
  • Jackie Robinson: Making it Around the Bases, April 2, 1 p.m.: Michael V. Placco, professor of history at Macomb Community College, talks about the life and times of Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson, who broke major-league baseball’s “color barrier” when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and is remembered as an American sports hero and civil rights pioneer.
  • The Detroit Tigers during World War II and Subsequent Integration of Baseball, April 27, 11 a.m.:  After the U.S. entered World War II, many of baseball’s best players left to join the armed forces and teams adapted. Baseball historian William M. Anderson discusses this fascinating period in the sport’s history, as well as the later integration of the major leagues, which began when Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
  • Making Jobs Just: The FEPC Reshaping the American Workplace in World War II, April 29, 11 a.m.:  Elizabeth Faue, chair of the history department at Wayne State University, explores the origins, establishment and impact of the Fair Employment Practice Committee. The committee, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was charged to investigate complaints and take action against employment discrimination in the defense industry.

The 1940s opens March 2 and continues through May 7, offering nearly 40 presentations, performances and films, as well as exhibits, exploring this decade of radical transformation.  The exhibits in the cultural center’s 8,500-square-foot Discovery Hall are also free to view and don’t require pre-registration to visit.  Exhibits include 1943 Detroit Race Riot, from the Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society, which uses artifacts, photos and text to examine some of the underlying causes of the rioting that broke out in Detroit during the summer of 1943. 

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.  The center is located on Macomb Community College’s Center Campus, 44575 Garfield Road (at Hall Road), in Clinton Township. For more about The 1940s, visit

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,