A character in a play?  We were both surprised and entertained when Mike got an e-mail from Aaron Timlin, playwright, WSU law student, member of the student component of the National Lawyers Guild and founding member of the Detroit Broadcasting Company.  Aaron has written a play called Lambert Street which performed to a full house last week at the Hastings Street Ballroom in Detroit.  The story centers on the fictional Johnson family, a take-off on the TV sitcom ‘All in the Family”.


     Mike Hamlin 1972

The script walks the audience through several decades of life in the Johnson family as they make their way through a series of political, racial and economic crises in the city of Detroit, teaching history with comedy.  On the way, they meet a raft of colorful characters including Erma Henderson, Ken Cockrel, Leonard Woodcock, and yes, Mike Hamlin, a 1972 worker from Dodge Main, a ranting militant carrying a picket sign with arms flailing.

Timlin’s purpose in staging the production was to have people come away with a better understanding of Detroit’s radical legacy and why people want to stay here.  Demonstrated by six performances to a packed house, he’s done a great job bringing some of those stories and their lessons to life.

The performance was followed by a panel discussion featuring Mike Hamlin, co-founder of DRUM and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers; Ron Scott, founder of the Detroit Chapter of the Black Panthers who has done significant work fighting police brutality and developing better police community relations in our city; Bill Goodman, famous civil rights and constitutional lawyer; and the Rev. James L. Meyer who was active in the school desegregation fight in Pontiac in the 1970’s.  Moderated by the playwright, the panelists answered questions about their radical histories and how they continue today to work for change in the Detroit community.

Learn more of Detroit’s history from Mike Hamlin’s new book:

A Black Revolutionary’s Life in Labor: Black Workers Power in Detroit    by Mike Hamlin with Michele Gibbs.   Do you have your copy yet?

You may purchase Mike’s book on our website:    To follow our blog, click “follow” on this website.  Visit us on Facebook: Against the Tide Books.

Available locally at SOURCE Booksellers in Midtown Detroit, BOOK BEAT in Oak Park and the Charles H.Wright Museum of African American History.  Also available from and Barnes &

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