“On the east side of Detroit, on a fence facing Woodlawn Avenue, there are more than twenty poster-size memorial portraits of people who once lived in the neighborhood. Bill, who lives on Woodlawn, does not like the display of mostly young bloods who “lived the fast life.” One of those memorialized, Big Pope, was loved in the neighborhood and remembered for dressing like Santa Claus at Christmas. His poster, at the center of the display, is decorated with yellow plastic flowers.”
I came across this fence a couple years ago, forgot to record where it was, and couldn’t find it again until I stumbled across it in Camilo’s new book of Detroit photography. The yellow flowers Camilo mentioned below Big Pope were not present, apparently, when Bing drove past in 2014.
He’d heard stories of ruin and blight, but that didn’t prepare Oliver Kearney for what he saw:
Prostitutes roaming the streets at 8 a.m., rubble-strewn parking lots overrun with weeds, buildings taken over by bright pink graffiti, the message scrawled on blackboards in deserted schools: “I will not write in vacant buildings.”