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The Spirit of Detroit

This November I have a speaking engagement at historic Cobo Center in my native city of Detroit, Michigan. You’ve heard me talk about my early years growing up in the Detroit area—from the foster homes to the university. Forty-two years ago, when Cobo Center was called Cobo Hall, I received my doctorate from Wayne State University in this same downtown events center on the banks of the Detroit River. Even though I was born in Detroit and used to tell my kids that Wayne State was named after me, I’m really only a humble observer of this great American city.

Albert Cobo, who gave his name to the center where I’ll be speaking, was mayor of Detroit when I was a kid. One of my first jobs was distributing flyers about Albert Cobo to the houses in my neighborhood. As for Wayne State University and Wayne County where Detroit is located, both were named for the Revolutionary War general known as “Mad Anthony” Wayne. My kids actually believed my story about the university being my namesake—at least for a while!

From motorcars to music, Detroit has always been a town for innovation and creativity. Now, after decades of economic upheaval, I have heard stories of native Detroiters returning home to help rebuild the city. Empty houses are turning into artists’ studios and empty lots where houses once stood are becoming community gardens. This is love in action. A community is a network of people—family, friends, neighbors—whose lives are connected by shared presence. Love connects us and builds the kind of spirit that we will have with us always.

Lately, I’ve had occasion to think about my connection to Detroit—my brother Dave’s wonderful book about our early years there and the celebration of my mother Hazel’s life, much of it spent living and working in the Detroit area. In November, Dave will be with me at Cobo Center as well as my daughter, Skye. How many other friends and family members will be present in our evening community? If you can make it, I’d love to see you there. I don’t get to Michigan very often these days so this will be a memorable night.

Comments (15)

  • 1.

    October 10, 2012
    11:20 am

    I've traveled to Chicago and Toronto multiple times to see you -- so thanks for coming back home :)

    – Brandie
  • 2.

    October 10, 2012
    8:38 pm

    Hi Wayne. I grew up in nearby Belleville, then moved north to Grand Blanc for high school. If "Mad Anthony" isn't willing to fork-over namesake honors to you, it's only for lack of foresight. Surely your contribution to this world's freedom merits such recognition. So how about if the Straits of Mackinac were re-commissioned Dyer Straits, instead?

    – Dennis
  • 3.

    October 10, 2012
    11:00 pm

    Sorry that I I can not attend because I Iraqi and resident in Iraq and you know the difficulty of entering the Iraqi

    – faiz
  • 4.

    October 11, 2012
    3:15 pm

    West side Detroiter, born and raised. I remember when the downtown waterfront before RenCen and Roman Gribbs and Coleman Young served as mayors. I wish I could be there with you for this homecoming. It has been far too many years since I visited Detroit. It will always be home to me, no matter what it looks like.

    – Mary
  • 5.

    October 13, 2012
    12:38 am

    It is always a good thing to remember and return to your roots. Thank you for being a part of Detroit's cultural heritage and for your contribution to us all. Namaste!

    – Joseph Wadas
  • 6.

    October 19, 2012
    11:16 am

    Dear Wayne, I have so much respeced for you in so many different ways! You have touch me to love myself and that I am worthy of love. I wish I could speak to you personaly. I know you could help me with some of my question I still have. Thank you again for all you do. My hats off to you! Be well!

    – Kelly
  • 7.

    October 23, 2012
    2:28 am

    Dr Dyer - What an inspiration you are in my life - my path that i finally connected with after so many lonely and confusing years - and its all because of YOU! you are truly my mentor - I wish I could see you in person, South Africa is FAR away from Detroit this November - Before my passing, it is truly my dream to meet with you in person.

    – Shana
  • 8.

    October 26, 2012
    12:10 pm

    Great stuff. Your books have changed my life and I quote you frequently in my own writings. I think I've read most of your books and I've watched a lot of your PBS appearances.

    – Ramiro
  • 9.

    October 29, 2012
    9:07 pm

    You're a wonderful soul. Thank you !

    – Shireen
  • 10.

    October 29, 2012
    9:10 pm

    Just watched your interview the one in which you mention Michael Jackson, what a truthful, honest great soul you are ! Thank you for speaking the truth about him, love you for that, I feel so lucky and blessed that I " know" you.

    – Shireen
  • 11.

    November 3, 2012
    5:27 pm

    The character of the housewife that appears in the film "The Change" made me become aware of my feelings. Now I'm painting! I wish I could share with you the fruits of my painting. If you are curious, please look for these keywords in Youtube: The joy of life / La joie de vivre Thank you very much from Spain!

    – Colorsilencio
  • 12.

    November 7, 2012
    5:18 am

    Wayne, I will be with you and your family this evening. I am so excited like a little girl at Christmas waiting for Santa so I can open my gifts. I have been listening to you on cassette tapes...hahaha that has been a while, and CD's and reading your books since 1991 when I got sober at the age of 24 I am 46 today yep 22yrs.. I

    – Michelle H.
  • 13.

    November 7, 2012
    5:19 am

    am especially open right now to a deeper God Consciousness and teaching and healing others. I am open to learning energy healing,chakra balancing and empowering women. I am going in a new direction and your teaching will definitely open my mind to dreaming bigger dreams, and learning my own power,

    – Michelle H.
  • 14.

    November 7, 2012
    5:20 am

    Through God all things are possible. Glad you are near enough for me to come be in your presence. I am hoping to shake your hand and get a picture and your CD Meditating for Manifestation. Love to you and your family. See Ya Tonight Tell Skye I have Her CD and listen to her beautiful voice that brings me peace. I

    – Michelle H.
  • 15.

    November 7, 2012
    12:36 pm

    Dr Dyer I have traveled to Detroit from South Carolina to see you tonight. This past weekend my son Steven qualified for the world ironman in Kona 2013. A child that was told he was too fat the make to soccer team in high school My wishes are fulfilled and I look forward to feeling the positive energy tonight

    – richard h

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