Detroit’s Lost Renaissance and Found Bankruptcy


By now, the financial tragedy of Detroit has probably been heard about all around the country. But, it’s not the story that many people had been expecting, as Detroit was supposed to be a turnaround success story, lead from peril by visionary leaders and an urban renaissance.

For a brief interval, that was the story in Detroit. Mayor Dennis Archer held office in the city for eight years, from 1994 to 2002. In that time, he made it look like Detroit had hope yet. He brought the city’s bond rating up with more than one upgrade from bond-rating agencies per year.

Though things in the city went uphill while Archer was in charge, he was replaced with the notorious Kwame Kilpatrick, who ended up in a federal penitentiary over a sex scandal, perjury, obstruction of justice, fraud, and almost two dozen more felonies. As a result of some of these crimes, Kilpatrick had to resign in 2008, but the damage was already done.