Flyers about 'white integration' distributed in historic Detroit neighborhood stir controversy

intergration flyer.jpg
Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 08:16:57-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A flyer distributed around the west side of Detroit is causing concern. Is it racist? Is it real? Is it reversing Detroit history?

"What is this about, it seems like (you're) a racist? Right!" says Rhonda J. Smith, the organizer of this community meeting.

She says she deliberately wrote the flyer to hit some nerves. She's lived in the Russell Woods-Sullivan neighborhood for more than 20 years and is seeing a change with more white people moving into homes.

"I was tired of hearing the same story about the white gentrifiers and the black victims," Smith said. "I wanted to see if there is another angle I can approach."

She's a fellow with the Detour Detroit online newsletter.

Smith says some of her black neighbors have complained to her about new white residents walking their dogs and messing up their yards. And another neighbor said they are coming in and taking over but they didn't exactly say what that means.

Race is always a hot issue in Detroit. "White flight" happened for decades in the city. This neighborhood is not far from where the 1967 riots broke out.

This discussion will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Eleos Coffee House as 12041 Dexter Ave., and there may be more community conversations in the months ahead.