Even The Dead Don’t Want to Be In a Kwame-Ran Detroit
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Actually it has nothing to do with Kwame but it does speak to the underlying fear many suburbanites have about the City and her inhanitants, therefore I found this article very interesting.
Mt. Olivet is a beautiful cemetery, and it’s a shame people deem it too unsafe to visit.
Charlie LeDuff / The Detroit News
CLINTON TOWNSHIP— At precisely 8:57 a.m., under an overcast sky, Francesco and Francesca Imbrunone were re-laid to rest. A man in a dark suit stood over their remains proclaiming that they “await the resurrection.”
If that promise holds true, then it would be, in a way, the Imbrunones’ second resurrection. As it happens, the couple was buried nearly 50 years ago in Detroit’s Mount Olivet Cemetery on the city’s east side. Then their grandchildren decided to disinter them, move them to the leafier suburbs and bury them again this particular morning.
“He’d complain, ‘Why did you spend the money?’ ” said Francesco’s granddaughter, Gerry Seip. “My grandmother? She’d just cry.”
By now the statistics are as well known in London as they are in Livonia. Detroit has lost half its population since its heyday of the 1950s, and every year the city hemorrhages an estimated 5,000 people more. First it was white flight to the suburbs; then with the city’s continued spiral into poverty and violence, blacks began to flee to those same suburbs. And while census figures show that whites are returning to some of the nation’s largest cities, Detroit is experiencing a flight of a different kind. As the Imbrunones’ second funeral demonstrates, Detroit is experiencing the flight of the dead.
The movement of the dead from the nation’s largest black city to its overwhelmingly white suburbs is a small, though socially symbolic phenomenon, revealing the grinding problems of race, crime and economics that plague both sides of Eight Mile.
From 2002 through 2007, the remains of about 1,000 people have been disinterred and moved out of the city, according to permits stored in metal filing cabinets in the city’s department of health. Looked at in another way, for about every 30 living human beings who leave Detroit, one dead human being follows. Moreover, anecdotal evidence compiled by a Detroit professor suggests the figure may be twice as high, meaning city records may be incomplete and that thousands upon thousands of deceased people have been relocated from the city over the past 20 years.
Moving to Macomb
The practice appears to be most common among families like the Imbrunones: former east side Catholic Detroiters who moved to Macomb County years ago, miles away from their dearly departed. The cemetery that appears to lose the most is Mount Olivet, located in the heart of the wild east side, with about 100 disinterments a year. The destination of choice seems to be Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton Township, which is now home to 11 members of the Imbrunone family.
The granddaughters, being the next of kin, elected to pay the approximately $5,000 to move their grandparents to Macomb County because they wanted to be closer to them. “In our family you don’t forget about your people,” Palazzolo said. “I hope that’s human. It’s at least Italian.”
Love. That was one part of the decision. There is another.
“To tell you the truth, yes, it’s fear,” Palazzolo said. “Have you been to Detroit? I pray the car doesn’t break down. I cringe when I drive down Gratiot. I’m worried for my life. There’s a lot of bad people in Detroit. But to tell you the truth, there’s a lot of bad people out here. But at least we’re closer this way.”
Earlier this summer Peter Cracchiolo, 89, of Grosse Pointe Shores, removed his mother and sister from Mount Olivet and relocated them to Resurrection. Cracchiolo, too, grew up on the city’s east side and his family was part of the great white exodus. His explanation for moving his dearly departed was convenience, though the Detroit cemetery is closer to his home.
“I’ve already got relatives up there,” he said of the suburban cemetery. “I’ve got friends up there. It’s one-stop visiting this way. Me, I don’t forget my people. No sir.”
“What it says to me is that there is a deeply ingrained fear on the part of suburbanites in terms of their attitude toward the city and its hold is very powerful and very deep,” Vogel said. “When they’re afraid to cross Eight Mile to visit a cemetery, it tells you what we’re up against and any solutions are not going to be easy.”
Can you imagine being dug up because your family is afraid to visit your grave? To me it seems extremely disrespectful. Graves aren’t items you can cart around everytime you relocate, they are permanent memorials to lives led before, and to constantly disturb their remains smacks me as gruesome.
*I* think that’s gruesome. What does that tell you?