Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route

The Oakland Reconstructed series continues with Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route. The film examines the rise, demise, and contested resurgence of the City of Detroit through the lens of African American mail carrier, Wendell Watkins, and the committed community he faithfully served for thirty years.

Filmmaker Pamela Sporn, mail carrier Wendell Watkins, and Victoria Sawicki and Walter Riley of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute speak after the screening which benefits the work of MCLI. Often called a "Civil Liberties Church," the institute is a center for peace law, an organizer for the right to education, an information clearinghouse on social change, an advocate of government accountability, a training center, and repository of history.

In DETROIT 48202 we take a journey with Wendell along his route, which winds through the center of what was, once upon a time, a vital and thriving city. We listen in on his conversations with his customers – the resilient Detroiters who share stories of resistance: pushing back against racial segregation in housing; challenging industrial and political disinvestment; and living on reduced pensions as a result of the 2014 municipal bankruptcy. Our characters share stories of hope and propose creative ways to re-imagine an inclusive, productive, equitable and re-invigorated city.

The film is urgent, asking will the resurgence of Detroit center on high technology and increasingly white downtown or will it focus on the vast stretches of neglected neighborhoods that continue to deal with a 40% poverty rate, water shutoffs, tax foreclosures, poor transportation, and a school system in crisis?

DETROIT 48202 is an essential tool for teachers and community organizers whose work covers: Detroit • Urban Studies • Urban Planning/Equitable Development/Design • Gentrification/Affordable Housing • African-American Studies • Redlining/Segregation • Labor History • Corporate Disinvestment • Poverty

Date & Time: June 20 • 7:00PM
Location: Red Bay Coffee

Nation: USA
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Director: Pamela Sporn
Length: 82’
Year: 2018

Screening followed by talk with Director Pamela Sporn.


Pam Sporn is a Bronx based documentary filmmaker, educator, and activist. A pioneer in bringing social issue documentary making into NYC high schools in the 1980s, Pam substantively contributed to the growth of the youth media movement. She has received numerous grants and awards including: JustFilms/Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Puffin Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, CUNY Caribbean Exchange, and the Bronx Council on the Arts.