Historical museum will enrich the community in many ways

On behalf of People’s Community Services, I would like to express our support for the development of a Hamtramck Historical Museum.

Hamtramck is a small city but it is a city with a wonderful heritage. This is a heritage, which must be preserved and passed on to our children. Study after study shows that American children are not being taught their heritage and do not understand in any meaningful way the unique story of the American struggle for freedom and self-determination.

This should change not only at the national level but right here in our own hometown. A community historical museum will help to strengthen our children’s understanding of the history of our city. In doing this, we are building their commitment to our city, a commitment, which will last their lifetime. In the end, this will build a stronger city for us all.

In addition, the history of Hamtramck is rich in the proud exploits of the labor movement. Our workers and citizens were heroic leaders in the founding of the UAW and other unions. Now more than ever in these hard economic times, their stories need to be told and passed on to the next generation, so they are not forgotten.

If one goes to the Veteran’s Monument in Veteran’s Park and counts the names of the residents who gave their lives for our country, one can only be amazed at how such a small city could make so great a sacrifice.

A community historical museum will be able to highlight the greatness of these young men so as to inspire both our children and adults. The residents who made the ultimate sacrifice will no longer be names on a marble stone but can in a sense come back to life in a section of the museum dedicated to residents who have served in the armed forces.

Our city is named after a great American hero, John Francis Hamtramck and is honored to be his final resting place. But who in the city really knows his story, how he left Quebec as a teen to join his destiny to our new nation?

How many of us know that he fought all through the American Revolution and was one of the officers who helped lead the charge at Yorktown that won the Revolution?

How many of us know that at the Battle of Fallen Timbers he helped free Michigan from the British and then became the first American Commander of Detroit?

A museum will change that by helping to tell the story of this great hero.

Finally a Hamtramck historical museum will highlight the story of our people and the journey they made to come here from all around the world. African Americans, Poles, Ukrainians, Albanians, Yemeni and other Arabic people, Bosnians and Bangladeshi all have found their way to Hamtramck. This is truly a great story, which can and must be told. A Hamtramck community museum will strengthen us both as individual ethnic groups and as the one people we are.

One final way a historical museum will assist the city is in economic development. Hamtramck has been home to many families and individuals who have a great love for the city. In addition it is such an outstanding example of diversity that there is a real regional and even national interest in it. A community museum will have a multiplying effect by bringing in new visitors and former residents who will eat at our restaurants, shop at our stores and may even decide to live here.

A community historical museum is a small investment, which will pay off in so many ways. It is our hope that the City of Hamtramck will make a Hamtramck Historical Museum a reality.

Thomas Cervenak

Executive Director
People’s Community Services

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