The Transcript

"I want to thank Council President (Carl) Levin and Mayor (Roman) Gribbs for their kind words, for the pledge of support they have offered my new administration. I will need all of their help and more. I am gratified that we have a new Common Council which I feel shares as deep a belief as I personally feel for the necessity for moving forward. 

The first problem that we must face as citizens of this great city, the first fact that we must look squarely in the eye, is that this city has too long been polarized. 

We can no longer afford the luxury of hatred and racial division. What is good for the black people of this city is good for the white people of this city. What is good for the rich people of this city is good for the poor people of this city. What is good for those who live in the suburbs is good for those of us who live in the central city. 

It is clear that we have a commonality of interests. The suburbs cannot live without the city. The white population of this city cannot live while its black people suffer discrimination and poverty. 

And so I dedicate myself - with the help of the Common Council, and more basically with your help - toward beginning now to attack the economic deterioration of our city, to move forward the significant first step that has been made since the Renaissance Center, to deal with the problem of rebuilding our city economically. 

I recognize the economic problem as a basic one, but there is also a problem of crime, which is not unrelated to poverty and unemployment, and so I say that we must attack both of these problems vigorously at the same time.

The Police Department alone cannot rid this city of crime. The police must have the respect and cooperation of our citizens. But they must earn that respect by extending to our citizens cooperation and respect.

We must build a new people-oriented Police Department, and then you and they can help us to drive the criminals from the streets.

I issue a forward warning now to all dope pushers, to all ripoff artists, to all muggers: It's time to leave Detroit; hit Eight Mile Road.

And I don't give a damn if they are black or white, of if they wear Superfly suits or blue uniforms with silver badges: Hit the road.

With your help, we shall move forward to a new and greater Detroit. We must first believe in ourselves. We must first do for ourselves. Yes, we will demand our share of revenue from Washington and from Lansing, but the job begins here and now with us.

Ladies and gentlemen, the time for rhetoric is past - the time for working is here, the time for moving ahead is upon us. Let's move forward together."

Wilbur Rich: "In this 1974 inaugural address, the new mayor invited the criminal element to "hit the road". As the band played, singer Diana Ross performed, Judge Damon Keith spoke, and the crowd cheered for Young's success, the city was reacting to the recession of 1974. The first black mayor of Detroit had inherited a politically rich city but an economically poor one."

Useful Links

Wilbur C. Rich Coleman Young and Detroit Politics