Discover Detroit through its little-known history

Source: UM-Dearborn

Photo from the DIA groundbreaking ceremony. Photo courtesy: Tim Kiska via the Detroit Institute of Arts

From where Miles Davis regularly played to the origins of the DIA, Communications Professor Tim Kiska dives into seldomly shared city history through the Detroit History Podcast. Season six has launched.

Kiska was born and raised in Detroit. He’s a veteran journalist who dipped his fingers in the literal and proverbial ink when he started at the Detroit Free Press in 1970. He won an Emmy in 2023 for his documentary work about Detroit’s WDIV Channel 4 and has written several books about the Motor City.

All this to say: Kiska knows Detroit. But he says there’s still more to learn. And his journalistic senses help him raise questions and discover answers for the Detroit History Podcast, which recently kicked off season six.

Relaying some of Detroit’s unknown or seldom-remembered history is the driving force behind the podcast. New episodes, hosted by Kiska, drop at 8 p.m. Sundays. Always on the lookout for those “I didn’t know that” moments, the podcast tells the city’s history through its cultural, musical, automotive, social and political heritage.

Kiska says he was recently surprised to learn that a public execution took place right across the street from the downtown branch of the Detroit Public Library. That led to a season six episode.

“Right behind the old Hudson’s Building, they built bleachers and gallows for the public to come and watch. It was in 1830. In 1847, the death penalty was abolished in Michigan. We were the first English-speaking government to formally abolish it,” he says. “That’s a relatively short period of time to make such a big change and be the first to do it. So what happened in those 17 years? And what’s happened since?”

Continuing reading…

Back to News + Stories