Hello, Ann Arbor

You really think this is the Cambridge of the Midwest? So where are the three-deckers? Back porches? Clothes lines? The candy factories and machine shops? How come you never hear Portuguese from Cape Verde, Spanish from Puerto Rico or English from the Bahamas on Ann Arbor streets?

You have Cambridge confused with Harvard Yard. Just like you have Earth confused with Academia. But Harvard University, like Academia International, could not exist without the working people of East Cambridge and East Earth. It there were no poor people around the world to make every damn thing you own, where would you get all your stuff? If there were no people to create the profits and pay the taxes, where would corporations, foundations and governments get the money to give you grants?

No, Ann Arbor is not a replica of Cambridge, but an imitation of one thin slice of that real city, an upper crust that couldn’t survive without the support of working people.

So, if Ann Arborites are so smart, why don’t they understand that?

My explanation for their ignorance: Ann Arbor homes have no back porches, therefore no clotheslines, therefore no way to do laundry. So everyone has to go around with their noses in the air and they don’t see the rest of the world.

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Author: Skipper Hammond

Skipper Hammond was born on the edge of Charlotte, N.C. in a time, in a neighborhood where children were free to play. She and her friends ran, biked, rode, explored and read. The entire neighborhood was their stage for the continuing plays Skipper created based on the stories they read. Cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, British and American,Yankee and Confederate armies romped through woods, across fields and creeks, up and down streets until good guys prevailed or softball and hopscotch season arrived.  Then she grew up and went to the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Tar Heel legislators at the time saw no reason to finance economics education for women, but Skipper contrived a major in economics by cobbling credits in business and history. Involvement in a series of strikes by textile workers led to graduate work at Cornell with a masters in Labor Union History and several years of union organizing in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.  After marriage and the birth of her son and daughter, Skipper, then living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, worked at jobs where she could punch out—stitcher, machinist, assembly worker, candy maker, database designer, economics journal editor—and still have the energy needed for the real work of political organizing for social and economic justice.  Her political work took the form primarily of writing and editing for movement publications, and when she moved from Cambridge to a farm in rural north central Florida, she began writing for the Ocala Star-Banner and Gainesville Sun, then founded the Williston Pioneer, where she was publisher, editor, reporter, ad salesperson and janitor. She also raised goats. She currently divides her time, unequally, between Williston, Florida, where she continues playing in the woods, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she invents stories. 

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