About this episode:
Sometimes discrimination is systemic. Sometimes it’s emotional. And sometimes, it’s made of brick and mortar. The Eight Mile Wall in Detroit, also known as the Birwood Wall or the Wailing Wall, was built in 1941 to separate Black and white residents in what is now known as the Wyoming neighborhood.
Erin Einhorn is an NBC News national reporter based in Detroit. She recently teamed up with Olivia Lewis, a reporter and editor for the local nonprofit newsroom Bridge Detroit to outline the creation of this half-mile-long wall, financed by one of the city’s most prominent families, and its impact on Detroit residents.
One of those residents is Rose McKinney-James, a clean energy consultant. She’s based in Las Vegas now, but grew up in Detroit. Rose’s grandmother, Burniece Avery, was a community activist who fought against the wall and other forms housing discrimination.
And they spoke with Teresa Moon, a retired city employee and long-time resident of the Eight Mile neighborhood. Teresa grew up with the wall literally in her backyard, and is now one of the neighborhood’s biggest cheerleaders.
Trymaine Lee sits down with Erin and Olivia to learn about the history of the Eight Mile Wall. And he speaks with Rose and Teresa about the legacy the wall left on their families.
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Find the transcript here.