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Oakland Community College Politics Through Technology Discussion

Oakland Community College Politics Through Technology Discussion


Can citizens explore politics through technology? That is one of the main questions that drive this assignment. The primary activity includes reading, critical thinking and writing as you explore and respond to three content-based exercises below and upload your answers to D2L (in the Assignment section) by the due date specified in your syllabus (worth 75 points).

The primary activity consists of answering three content-based exercises below and typing out your answers–and then please upload your answers to the Assignments section in D2L by the date or week specified in your syllabus. The three content-based exercises are focused on Detroit politics in the 1920-1960 period, Congress and the Presidency, and two important bureaucracies of government (the CBO and the OMB). Please do not email me your answers or hand in hard copy in class, as I am asking for your typed responses (hard copy form) to be uploaded to the Assignments section in D2L on the date noted in the syllabus. Please make sure that you are using a format (i.e. MSWord/docx, pdf files) that I can read, so if you are using a MAC make sure you upload a file type that I can read on my PC (save it as a pdf, .doc or .docx file).

Content area #1: Dr. Ossian Sweet and Detroit in the 1920s: Exploring civil rights and relationships between local, state and the national government, and re-exploring federalism in the USA (25 points)

Here is a link to a brief overview of the Ossian Sweet case, occurring in Detroit in the mid 1920s:

Another great resource comes from the Detroit Historical Society. Here is a direct link to the Detroit Historical Society archive on Paradise Valley and the larger area known as Black Bottom (named for the rich soils in the region). Note: Paradise Valley was next to (some would say in) the area called Black Bottom, historically a farming zone with excellent soil. For additional information see

The website ( ) covers lots of issues about the Detroit Metropolitan area (and is run by Reynolds Farley, a research scientist from the University of Michigan), while the detroithistorical.orgwebsite is an excellent archival resource too. While the basic questions below can be answered just via these resources, searching the JSTOR database at the OCC Library would generate lots of additional and credible resources (the link above gets you to the login prompt at the library and directly to the research data based called JSTOR.

While reading the overview of the Dr. Ossian Sweet case from the website, click any of the links (they are in blue or purple) to check out some other related civil rights themes from the Detroit metropolitan area (especially the “wall” and “Paradise Valley“). In order to obtain the entire 5 extra-credit points, make sure at the least that you know:

1) the basics of the Sweet case, with emphasis on why the case is a significant civil rights case in a historical sense (so discuss the circumstances leading up to the trial, the outcome of the trial(s), and why it is generally considered one of if not the most important civil rights case of the 1920s).- 9 points

2) what the “wall” is, but focus your answer on why it (the Birwood wall) was constructed 8 points

3) what was Paradise Valley (during the late 19th and mainly early-mid 20th century), and what happened to this historic neighborhood? 8 points— For this part, please discuss why this neighborhood was so important not only for African-American communities in Detroit, but in broader (national and global) terms as well. Also, please discuss the specific ways in which the neighborhood was destroyed.

Note: Paradise Valley was next to an area called Black Bottom, historically a farming zone with excellent soil. As noted above, for additional information make sure you check out and read the link below and also do some additional searching at the Detroit Historical Society website (Paradise valley, the wall, Dr. Sweet):

If the Dr. Ossian Sweet case, the Birwood wall, or Paradise valley interests you, Google (i.e. search) “Ossian Sweet” and the other terms and do some additional research to get some differing perspectives and more information about the case and any related themes from this time period, but please use your own words to answer the three questions. The questions can be answered just from the links provided, but feel free to explore differing resources, especially the JSTOR archive at the OCC Library. Your typed responses must be in your own words and at a minimum, should address the three themes above. As a guideline only, each question/answer can be addressed in about 2-3 strong paragraphs. Please try to stick to the questions asked though, as many themes are explored when looking at Metropolitan Detroit historically. Important: When you directly cite something from any external source, please give that source proper credit (i.e. cite the source please). For an extra-credit point, at the end of your answer, explain the role of the government, if any (local to national) in each of the three main themes (Dr. Sweet, the wall, Paradise Valley). You have to get the role of government (and the relevant levels) for all three issues: The Sweet cases, the Birwood wall, and the demise of Paradise Valley. Here is the first documentary Two Societies: 1965-1968

Here is the second documentary Keys to the Kingdom: 1974-1980

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