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April 11, 2007 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-11

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T M - d i

WenedyAri 1,207 Th. Mci SnDal

Confronting the racismin Michigan's history
Our Back Pages I History Column
By Chris Zbrozek

China Gate
Best Chinese food

Red Hot Lovers
Best hotdog and Best fries

We like to tell ourselves
stories that make us feel
good about ourselves.
That can be a difficult task, though,
when confronting ugly periods of
our past. The Michigan Historical
Museum in Lansing, for instance,
deals with slavery in the most flat-
tering terms possible. The exhibit
stresses that Michigan was a free
territory under the terms of the
Northwest Ordinance of 1787, and
it lauds the efforts of Michiganders
who took part in the Underground
The museum's account is techni-
cally accurate, but it leaves out a few
undesirable details. In the 1700s,
both blacks and Native Americans
were held as slaves on Michigan
soil under the initial French and
later British settlers. In his 1943 his-
tory of Detroit, "City of Destiny,"
George W. Stark writes that before
the transfer of control from the
British to the Americans, Detroit's
population of slightly more than
2,200 included 178 black and Native
American slaves. Even after the
Northwest Ordinance, a 1796 treaty
allowed British subjects living in
Michigan to own slaves legally, and
spotty law enforcement on the fron-
tier meant that despite Michigan's
status as a free territory, some peo-
ple were forced to be slaves into the
In a similar fashion, there's a

clean narrative about the Univer-
sity's treatment of black students
- and then there are facts that don't
quite fit that story.
Speaking at a University sympo-
sium in 1990 commemorating the
20th anniversary of the 1970 Black
Action Movement strike, Hen-ry
Vance Davis said that after the Civil
War, a racial egalitarianism of sorts
prevailed in the North,ensuringthat
blacks were admitted to the Univer-
sity "without argument, without
publicity, and without any official
record of the fact." Not everyone
was happy about their admission,
however. An old pre-Michigensian
yearbook now in the Bentley His-
torical Library even lists a chapter
of the Ku Klux Klan as being a stu-
dent group on campus one year.
As the relative respect for civil
rights that prevailed after the Civil
War eventually faded, so too did
opportunities for black students on
campus. A black student, George
Henry Jewett II, was a member
of the football team in 1892. After
Jewett, there wasn't another black
player until 1932. Meanwhile, some
members of the faculty.advocated
some curious views: History Prof.
Ulrich Bonnell Phillips praised the
humanity and "civilizing" effects
of plantation owners' treatment
of their slaves, while biologist A.
FranklinShullwas firmlyconvinced
of white genetic superiority.

Black students felt the need to that things could be any other way,
form groups to defend their inter- revealed one participant.
est long before the first Black Action Local businesses as well as Uni-
Movement strike. They formed a versity bodies discriminated against
group called the Colored Students black students. A dozen years after
Club in 1902 to provide help and the Negro Caucasian Club's unsuc-
support. One of the club's support- cessful meeting with Dean Effinger,
ers noted, "I am surprised at the a group of students filed a lawsuit
amount of ill-feeling which there is against a local bar, the Pretzel Bell
here against Colored students." (which stood where Champion
House is today), over its refusal to
serve black patrons. The suit went
nowhere, and inthe summer of1940,
The Ku Klux then-University President Alexan-
der Grant Ruthven asked some of
Klan was once the students involved not to return
to campus - essentially expelling
a student group them over their political activity
- ina purge of "student radicals."
These efforts had relatively little
success ending discrimination on
campus. As University alum and
former Assistant Attorney General
Another organization formed Roger Wilkins recalled in the Win-
in 1926, the Negro Caucasian Club, ter 2004 issue of the Virginia Quar-
sought to bring black and white stu- terly Review, when he was a student
dents together to abolish discrimi- here in the late '40s and early '50s,
nation against the roughly 60 black he couldn't use the barber shop in
students in the student body, which the Michigan Union, and the Pret-
then numbered around 10,000. zel Bell was-still off-limits.
Black students weren't allowed to Off-campus housing was another
use the University's swimming pool area where black students faced
or attend dances. When the group unequal opportunities. Concerned
sought a meeting with the Univer- about the unsuitable housing for
sity administration in 1928 to dis- black women students, the Univer-
cuss the racial climate on campus, sity sought to establish a segregated,
Dean John R. Effinger "seemed to off-campus League House in 1928.
think we were demented," to think Protests against the idea of seg-

regated housing forced it to back
down, but as Ruth Bordin wrote in
her history of women at the Univer-
sity, a segregated League House was
opened in 1931 on East Ann Street,
and it was used for several years.
Housing discrimination contin-
ued unabated for decades, neces-
sitating a city-wide debate over a
fair housing ordinance in the early
'60s. Around this time, Bunyan
Bryant - who is today a professor
in the School of Natural Resources
and Environment - sought to rent
an apartment at 1020 Arbordale
Manor, a privately-managed com-
plex owned by the University. He
was told the apartment he sought,
which he knew was available, had
been taken. The next day, he asked
a white woman to inquire about
the apartment; she was told it was
unoccupied. Bryant, who is black,
then returned to ask if anything had
opened since the day before; he was
told no. A white male acquaintance
who asked about the apartment a
few minutes later was, of course,
told he could see it.
Despite these anecdotes of unfair
treatment, there may still some-
thing to the narrative of the Univer-
sity as an institution that strived to
promote a diverse, inclusive com-
munity. After all, the University did
go to the Supreme Court to defend
its admissions policies, and our
school wasn't segregated by state
law, as was the case for many public
universities in the South. Nonethe-
less, it's disingenuous - and intel-
lectually dishonest - to present
the University as an institution that
has continually had an unwavering
commitment to the fair treatment of
all its students.
a little store
Red ShOeS.
with a LOT of'heart.

There was a man whose patient
gaze used to preside over all who
stroll along the student shops and
bars of South University. Garbed
in chef's white, he used to stare
out from a fading placard with
the sort of solemnity that would
inspire trust even in casual pass-
erby. Chef Jan's noble visage has
since inexplicably disappeared
from the front window of the
China Gate Restaurant, but his
legend lingers on.
If Chef Jan does remain some-
thing of a minor Ann Arbor celeb-
rity of only because of the store's
display, it's certainly not for his
modesty - China Gate's win-
dow and menu both proudly list
his slew of culinary competition
victories (2001, 1999, 1998, 1997,
1996, 1983) as well as his former
wins as a Michigan Daily favorite
(1998-2001, 2006) and many stop
before the restaurant's bright
facade of red, white and blue to
puzzle over the possibility that a
decorated chef may have actually
set up shop on this student strip.

The accomplished chef himself,
however, is decidedly elusive.
Jan's longtime absence from the
restaurant leaves him as a sort of
emblematic figurehead, a status
which only adds further to his
mythic allure.
Whether or not Chef Jan him-
self really is slinging the beef with
broccolibacktherein ChinaGate's
kitchen, the restaurant remains
Ann Arbor's favorite destination
for Chinese food, an undeniable
step up from East University's
Lucky Kitchen, and miles above
the Union's unfortunate Magic
Wok. China Gate offers a full
array of classic Chinese dishes,
reasonably priced from seven to
12 dollars, as well as what must
be the fastest sit-down service in
town. Conveniently situated near
the heart of campus on the corner
of South University Avenue and
Church Street, China Gate's place
on this year's list of local favorites
continues a long streak of well-
deserved popularity.
- Kristin MacDonald

What draws folks to Red Hot
Lovers on EastUniversity Avenue is
the hot dogs. Plain and the simple,
the joint has the best dogs in town,
proudly claiming a Chicago tradi-
tion of excellence. You don't need
any more hot dog description than
that. What you do need to know is
that there are two other important
reasons why Lovers is as good as it
is: the burgers and the music.
They cook their burgers over an
open flame grill, validating their
"charburger" namesake. The buns
are key. Lovers uses fluffy white
and wheat buns and toasts them to
perfection. Throw in a side of fries
and all that's missing from your
perfect summer meal is a pint.
The music argument is two-
fold. The first part is the selection.
Never have I walked into Lovers
without great music (classic rock)
in the background. The Who, the
Rolling Stones, the Beatles - you
name it. The place is greasy with
barely any sunlight. Couple that
with the iconic Ann Arbor Blues
and Jazz festival posters on the
walls and what you have is a
greasy spoon atmosphere at its
best. Looking up from your meal
(if you can manage) nets an eyeful:
Ray Charles, Charles Mingus -
these guys actually played in Ann
Arbor. Only Lovers is dedicated to
preserving such a hallowed piece
of local memory.
Ever peeked behind the coun-

ter? Facing the kitchen above the
register are dozens and dozens of
tabloid cutouts ranging from alien
Elvis baby clones to the world's
largest mushroom. On the soda
fountain facing the restaurant
are several Far Side comics. Red
Hot Lovers boasts a down-home,
earthy, greasy atmosphere in per-
fect step with its food selection.
It's all there in one package. Not PETER ScHOTTENFELS/Daily
too bad a deal. A meal at Red Hot Lovers is greasy, but
- Andrew Sargus Klein would you have it any other way?

U ofM

From page 8B
College students are often so
busy with school that they have
little time to think of anything

else. During finals week, it's
important to have a relaxed atmo-
sphere that's not as suffocating as
the Grad or the Ugli butwhere you
can still get work done. And while
it's a chain, it's a chain with heart.
- Emily Barton

From page 8B
like Subway and McDonalds, Zing-
erman's is refreshing in its dedi-
cation to the art of preparing and
serving food. What distinguishes
Zingerman's is the high quality of
ingredients and its emphasis on
customer service, said Bill Dever, an
assistant manager at the deli.
Doug Nahabetian, a supervisor at
Zingerman's Next Door, a cafe that
serves desserts and coffee, also said
great customer service is an impor-
tant goal for Zingerman's.
"Every time you're here, we want
to make itan experience for you," he
said. "I'd like to think we're chang-
ing the world one mocha, one sand-
wich at a time."
When I finally visited Zinger-
man's a few weeks ago, I could sense
this dedication to both food and
service. After ordering a number18,
the Georgia Reuben, I observed the
vibrant surroundings. The employ-
ees were always on the move,
sweeping this or slicing that. The
patrons were scuttling about as they
tried to decide what they wanted. A
bottle of agrumato lemon oil or one
of moleon oil from Greece? Pumper-

nickel bread or Jewish rye bread?
This, I thought, feels like a real deli.
Tom Mooradian, a Saline native,
said it's the air of genuine culinary
dedication that brings him to Zing-
"It seems so authentic," he said.
"This is real. This is the way it's
meant to be served."
He paused for a moment.

"Now, I'm going to go eat my
sandwich," he said, already on his
way to the door.
When I got my Reuben, I care-
fully unwrapped it, making sure I
didn't destroy the work of culinary
I took my first bite. It was deli-
- Brian Tengel

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