Oakland University
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kresge Library Welcomes Charles Pugh

 Kresge Library Welcomes Charles Pugh
Oakland University proudly welcomed Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh to Kresge Library on February 3, 2011. The event was designated as one of several hosted by OU during African-American Celebration Month.

Pugh began speaking in retrospect of the plight of African Americans and their indomitable spirit, that though “their hands worked in slavery, their hearts and minds stayed firmly focused on freedom.” He elaborated about the many lessons to be learned from the past and how important it is for future generations to embrace this history.

Further reinforcing the value of educating our youth about history, Pugh spoke of the life changing impact it had on him. By the age of seven he was living in the care of his grandmother, who passed down history the lessons that gave him the tools he would need to avoid a life confined to the projects of west Detroit. “History helped me recognize that I was greater than the poverty I grew up in,” Pugh said. “We don’t know where we’re going until we know where we have been.” His education and career attest to the success he achieved, and now he’s giving back to the city of Detroit.

Before concluding, Pugh referenced the names of so many influential African Americans—Frederick Douglas, W. E. B. DuBois, Barbara Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Barak Obama—evoking the changes in history that accompanied their legacies. Pugh said
that should our children ever need inspiration or motivation, we should teach them of the heroes of yesterday and today. “Everyday history is still being made. Let us continue to make history so our kids can change it,” Pugh said
Dialog About Detroit:

Detroit’s City Council President addressed the audience’s questions about Detroit. Charles Pugh offered several great facts about the Motor City, as well as some of the plans that will be implemented to restore it:
  • Detroit covers 140 square miles
  • It is meant to house over 2 million people
  • Only 900,000 people live in Detroit
  • The city boundaries of Detroit could house the land of Manhattan, Boston, and San Francisco combined
Imagine how hard it would be to clear snow from the streets, adequately police the sprawling city, or provide emergency help in a timely manner. The physical enormity of Detroit makes those things incredibly challenging.

Detroit is offering more incentives for people to relocate within city boundaries, as well as move in from the surrounding suburbs. Though mistakes have been made, local authorities are working to rectify them:
  • Residents are receiving incentives to relocate (Ex: a house of equal or greater value, with tax incentives for moving)
  • More innovative initiatives (Ex: shopping or dining discounts)

Interim Dean Frank Lepkowski presents a book to be added to the collection for Charles Pugh.

Created by Sarah Brooks (sjbrooks@oakland.edu) on Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Modified by Sarah Brooks (sjbrooks@oakland.edu) on Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Article Start Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2011