Jerome Cavanagh, 1928 - 1979) was the movie star handsome and very charismatic mayor of Detroit, Michigan from 1962 to 1970. In Jerry’s FIRST campaign ever, 33 year old Mayor Cavanagh stunned EVERYONE by defeating incumbent Louis Mariani.
Cavanagh got off to a very popular start as mayor, appointing a reformer to be chief of police and implementing an affirmative action programs. Jerry Cavanagh’s forward thinking was so ahead of it’s time . Jerry welcomed Martin Luther King, Jr. to Detroit, and marched with him in 1963 down Woodward Avenue in the 100,000 strong March for Freedom.
Mayor Cavanagh was successful in getting money from Washington, DC through the "Model Cities" program. New skyscrapers were built downtown. People were very hopeful about where Detroit was going.
Beginning with his election in 1962 until the 1967 riots, Detroit enjoyed a vast African /American middle class. Many of the then Detroit residents were employed by the large automotive plants. Detroit was then seen as a model city and Mayor Cavanagh was credited with implementing many of the best programs to promote business, tourism, education, sports, science and the auto industry. Many thought that Jerry Cavanagh would run for US President but that was not to be.
In 1967 the Detroit Riots erupted and Mayor Cavanagh watched his dreams of the "Model City" burn along with the neighborhoods and businesses of Detroit. Tragic.
The Mayor was once widely praised for reviving the city of Detroit and being an influential spokesman for America's cities, he also bore the brunt of criticism for circumstances surrounding the infamous Detroit riots in 1967. He was one of the most brilliant, influential and controversial mayors in American political history.
Read my story on the Riots of 1967 HERE
Great Video Featuring Mayor Cavanagh HERE
For David Cavanagh