The spring following the 1967 Detroit race riots, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chose the contrasting border between the suburb of Grosse Pointe, Michigan and the city of Detroit to address the state of racism in America and its destiny to divide it’s people. The Alter Road border, is today, perhaps the most segregated thoroughfare in America. This line of demarcation was perhaps the impetus for and certainly the platform from which Dr. King addressed the citizens of Metro Detroit at Grosse Pointe High School on March 24th, 1968. The title of his speech "The Other America", confronts the realities of two Americas, one prosperous - the other devoid of real opportunity. Along with his articulate examples, he gave warning: "there is no more dangerous development in our nation than the constant building up of predominantly negro central cities ringed by white suburbs. This will do nothing but invite social disaster". Now, 50 years later, we are able to witness the reality of King’s prediction on the Detroit / Grosse Pointe border.

Alter Road is the real and symbolic dividing line between the city of Detroit and the suburb of Grosse Pointe.  The division between the city and urban enclave is extreme in terms of, but not limited to: race, crime, housing, city services and education. Poor, black Americans on one side. Wealthier, today, mostly white Americans on the other. At Grosse Pointe High School, Dr. King said “Almost forty percent of the Negro families of America live in substandard housing conditions. In this other America, thousands of young people are deprived of an opportunity to get an adequate education.” He spoke of historic lack of land ownership, unemployment and social opportunity in “The other America”; American communities that are segregated by race. A recent increase in black Americans buying property in Grosse Pointe, once unthinkable, does not negate demographics that describe the divide between these two communities.

The reader / viewer is invited to view and interpret the educational and interactive platforms throughout this website, to learn about the divide and explore the photographic and empirical evidence. Was Dr. King correct in his predictions? Statistics are always arguable but this divide is proven physically and visually. Not limited to the contrasting employment and educational opportunities, or the inconsistency of society to equally promote the health and welfare of the two neighborhoods, the landscape is further broken as the photography and interactive displays document.

Originally, there were no constructed, physical barriers preventing residents from socializing or entering shopping and restaurant areas. Originally, it was just psychological and socially constituted divisions, kept the communities segregated. Since the 1980s, physical barriers have been erected by Grosse Pointe’s city planning department to further isolate the suburb in protection from Detroiters. Of the twelve streets that cross Alter Road, connecting Detroit to Grosse Pointe, four have been physically blocked off, three are without direct access into Detroit. Two are one way streets, two run adjacent to the front and rear of the main police station, and the last remaining street is now a roundabout which firetrucks and ambulances can not transverse. As is evident, the city is further attempting to close this street entirely. A continuing physical and psychological segregation at the Alter Road border has been quietly but efficiently implemented.

Over the past years, Katherine has devoted equal time in both communities which straddle Alter Road, creating an extensive archive which includes audio, visual & textual observational material. In addition, through creating charts, graphs and maps, she studies this evolution of "The Other America" at the Alter Road Border.