History of the Detroit Sanctuary Movement


Important Venue Notes

Briggs building, room 317


In the 1980s, average Detroiters took bold political and personal action to raise awareness of U.S. supported repression in Central America by publicly declaring St. Rita’s Catholic Church a sanctuary for Central American refugees. In an era of heightened local and global repression of human rights, there is much to be learned from these Detroit citizens turned activists and how they navigated commitments to their faith, city, nation, and being ethical human beings all within an emerging human rights framework. A Michigan native, Mary Walle is a New York City based educator, artist, and non-profit professional. She earned her B.A. in History with a minor in Community Action and Social Change from the University of Michigan. There she researched and wrote "The Blood Stops Here: Democratic Citizenship, Faith Communities, and the Question of Human Rights in Detroit's Sanctuary Movement," consulting the Carney archive and interviewing area participants. Mary will present her talk twice, once from 2 – 3:15 and once from 4 – 5:15 pm, both in Briggs 317. Also, a companion exhibit in the display cases in the McNichols Library lobby will highlight the history of Detroit’s Sanctuary movement. Students from HIS 4670 Latinos in the U.S. will create the display, drawing upon documents from the Carney Archive. On display from March 30 to April 30, 2017, during library hrs. For more information contact Dr. Gail Presbey at 313-993-1124, or by email at presbegm@udmercy.edu.