Michigan’s Walk to Freedom

Hello Monday! It’s the 3rd Monday in January, and here in America we honor a great man, Martin Luther King Jr. It’s also the 18th of January – National Michigan Day. There had to be a way to bring these two National Days together. And lucky for me, there is.

Did you know that Michigan has more shoreline than any of the contiguous 48 states, only Alaska has more. Although a land-locked state, Michigan is surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes. Lake Michigan separates the upper and lower peninsulas of the 26th state to be granted statehood. This separation made Michigan unlike any other state in design. Until 1957, to travel from one peninsula to another, ferries were used to shuttle travelers bath and forth. The Mackinac Bridge connected the two sides. At 26,372 feel long, it is the third longest suspension bridge in the world.

Industry is the backbone of the state. From logging, shipping, rail and automotive, the populations grew with an influx of workers during war and peacetime alike. The sounds of Michigan were explosive as well. The Motown Sound gave the world legendary names in jazz and gospel music and the likes of Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and the Jackson 5.

In June of 1963 two Civil Rights Leaders, Reverend Clarence Franklin and Reverend Albert Cleage came together to organize was became the largest Civil Rights Marches in America, the Walk to Freedom. These men managed to work together despite very different viewpoints and methods of tackling the injustice they saw around them. Reverend Franklin, supported by the NAACP wanted the walk to be open to all, while Reverend Cleage felt only black marchers led by black leaders should be involved. In the end, Detroit’s Walk to Freedom drew an estimated 125,000 people, and although open to all, the vast majority were African-Americans.

The Walk to Freedom was twofold. First to speak out against segregation and the brutality against civil rights activists in the South. Secondly to address the concerns of African Americans in the urban North with inequality in hiring, wages, education and housing. Among those who Walked for Freedom was the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The date that was picked was June 23, to honor the 20th anniversary of the Detroit Race Riot of 1943, when over two dozen people were killed and many more injured. When Reverend King addressed the crowd, he spoke eloquently of his dream of the future. Two months later in Washington DC, with an estimated crowd of 250.000 the Reverend King would once again speak of his dream.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as a Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Oppression is a state of mind. When you realize that, then you can achieve true greatness.

Michigan Inspired Menu
Michigan Sauce Chili Dogs
Shoestring Fries
Blueberry Cobbler


Michigan Sauce Chili Dogs
Michigan Sauce Chili
1 lb. lean Ground Beef
1 cup Warm Water, divided
1 heaping tablespoon Yellow Mustard
1 (5 oz). bottle Franks Hot Sauce
1 (8 oz) can Tomato Sauce with Garlic
3 teaspoons Ground Cumin
3 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 tablespoon dried Minced Onion

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, crumble ground beef. Add 1/2  cup water the meat, mashing together with a potato masher for about 10 minutes. Change to a fork to further mash ground meat to a finer mash for 5 minutes.

Stir in 1 heaping tablespoon Yellow Mustard until it disappears into meat mixture. Stir in Frank’s Hot Sauce, stirring until completely blended.

Add tomato sauce and remaining 1/2 cup of warm water. Season mixture with ground Cumin, Chili Powder and dried Minced Onions.

Let this simmer on low for 1/2 hour. Mash again with potato masher and continue to simmer about another 30 minutes to an hour to develop a thick chili consistency.

When ready keep warm and make the Franks for serving.

Pan Seared Hot Dogs
1 tablespoon Bacon Drippings (or butter)
Water as needed
4 Foot-Long Franks
1 Sweet Onion, chopped
4 Hot Dog Rolls
Colby Cheese as desired, shredded

In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt bacon drippings. Add enough water to barely cover the bottom of the skillet. Take care when adding water, the bacon drippings will sputter.

Immediately place the Franks into the steaming pan. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, until almost all the water has evaporated.

Uncover, continue to cook on medium heat until the skins of the Franks begin to blister, rolling and turned as needed for even crispness.

While the Franks cook, chop onions and set aside.

To serve, split rolls open. Place Franks snuggly into rolls. Top with Michigan Chili Sauce, shredded cheese and diced onions.

Shoestring French Fries
4 Russet Potatoes
4 cups Canola Oil
Seasoning Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Note: Select potatoes that are naturally long and slender.

Warm oven to hold the potatoes. Heat oil to 375-degrees in a deep fryer or deep pot.

While the oil heats, peel potatoes. Cut the potatoes with the shoestring attachment on a mandolin slicer.

Place a handful of the shoestring potatoes at a time the fryer basket and lower slowly into the oil.

Fry for a few minutes, turning occasionally with a wooden spoon until golden brown and crispy.

Remove to paper towels to drain the oil. While still hot, place in a paper bag, season with salt and pepper. Place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven to keep warm.

Repeat until all the potatoes have been cooked.

Try to serve the potatoes once the last batch has been fried or soon after.

Blueberry Cobbler
6 tablespoons Butter
1-1/4 cups Original Bisquick Mix
1/2 cup Sugar
2/3 cup Milk
3 cups fresh Blueberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter, pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the Bisquick Mix, sugar and milk to create a batter. Pour batter over the melted butter.

Sprinkle fresh blueberries evenly over the Bisquick batter. Place in heated oven to bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven, let cool about 20 minutes. Cobbler should be served warm, not bubbling hot.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

4 thoughts on “Michigan’s Walk to Freedom”

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