Wendy S. Walters: Interview


Justin Allen in Mosaic:

JA: You write about these murders and the crisis caused by who is known as the Oakland County Child Killer. You also touch on how these murders contributed to racial tension in the area.

WSW: There were other abductions of younger women in towns around us, which were attributed to anonymous Black men. Increasing unemployment in the area gave way to a fear of violence bubbling over from the city.

At the same time, a lot of Black people associated with the automobile industry were moving into the suburbs. These were college-educated people who wanted their kids to be in excellent public school systems. This created another level of anxiety. Sometimes these people were more affluent than the neighbors they were moving in with, which didn’t make sense to those with more provincial ideas about race and class.


Look at them looking like they don’t know
how they look. Why don’t they just stay where they
stay? Or drag sideways across our fields, come
at us zigzag over the rows we cut.
We made a place they know they should not stay
for a reason. They were nothing back when
we started from nothing, or we could not
have worked so hard to be right. They never
do what they need to do to be right. Who
knows? Someone might kill one. We tell them this
if they don’t run. Come on, try us, we say.
A city grows over the rows we cut.
Then they come at us. We stay for reasons.
They don’t understand right the way we do.

More here.