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Sterling Heights is a city in the U.S state of Michigan and one of the core suburbs of Detroit. The city has been on a steady growth pattern, and currently it stands as the second largest city in Metro Detroit and the 4th largest city when it comes to Michigan State. Sterling Heights was incorporated as a city in the year 1968. This was after its growth pattern had shown that it was a city, and the population had increased dramatically.
It is of the essence to understand that until the 1950’s, the city was an agricultural area that was devoted to growing different and diverse crops that were then sold in the City of Detroit. This paper is going to describe the City of Sterling Heights, its history as well as its contribution to different factions of the United States economy, culture and justice system (Sterling Heights Public Library).
Prior to being a city in the year 1968, the city was known as Sterling Township. For a brief period in the year 1836 until the year 1838, the city was known as Jefferson Township. There was a small village that was named Sterling in Arenac County, and therefore, the word heights was added to the Township name in order to satisfy a state law that prevented incorporated municipalities from having the same name. It is crucial to note that the word Moravian was a name that was under consideration for the new city in the year 1968.
Role in Civil Rights movement
The City of Sterling Heights played a very important role when it came to the civil rights movement. This is because most persons that were involved in the planning on the Long Walk to Freedom often went to the city to seek refuge (Finlayson, 2003). The 1964 Civil Rights Act is a legislation that is seen by many as a landmark in civil rights in the United States. It outlawed some of the major types of discrimination against ethnic, national, religious and racial minorities, and women. This legislation also ended unequal voter registration requirements application and racial segregation at the workplace, in schools and by other facilities that served the public (or "public accommodations").
Initially, the powers that were given to enforce this act were weak, but were later supplemented in the years that followed. Congress later asserted its power to legislate under a number of different portions of the Constitution of the United States, chiefly its power to control interstate commerce as per Article One (in section 8), its responsibility to guarantee equal protection of the law to all citizens as per the Fourteenth Amendment and also its responsibility to protect the rights of voting as per the Fifteenth Amendment (Finlayson, 2003).
This Act was signed into a law by President Lyndon Johnson, the very same person who later signed the Voting Rights Act to a law. This bill was requested for by President J. F. Kennedy during his speech on civil rights on the 11th of June 1963.
He asked for the making of legislation that would give each and every American the right to receive service in all facilities that are open to the public. These include restaurants, theaters, hotels, retail stores, and other similar establishments. It also gave their right to vote a greater protection (Finlayson, 2003). He gave this speech after protests from the black Americans in the nation, the most recent one being the Birmingham campaign concluded in the month of May 1963. Further, the city of Detroit in Michigan had also experienced riots, and most of these riots were planned in the City of Sterling Heights. Most of the black elite considered the place as a safe haven.
This Civil Rights Act emulated the one from 1875 and made provisions for the bill to ban discrimination and segregation in all public accommodations, and to make it possible for the U.S. Attorney General to take part in lawsuits against any state government that operated a segregated school structure, among other provisions. It, however, did not include quite a number of requirements deemed necessary by civil rights leaders (Finlayson, 2003).
These included protection of the other races against police brutality, the end of discrimination in the private employment sector, and also giving the Justice Department authority to start desegregation and job discrimination lawsuits. For this reason, it can be seen that the city was indeed extremely important when it came to the shaping of the United States history and ensuring equal protection and equal rights for all American citizens.
The city of Sterling Heights sits on two main state highways. The first is the M-53, which is often referred to as the Van Dyke Avenue or the Van Dyke Freeway. These two freeways split inside the city and rejoin to the North. Secondly, there is the M-59 often referred to as Hall Road. It is the main connector between Macomb County and Oakland County. It is of the essence to understand that in Sterling Heights, large areas are often devoted to retail, as well as commercial development. One of the most notable establishments in the area is the Lakeside Mall. This is a Taubman-built regional full line mall that is located in the city.
The mall lies on the M-59 often referred to as Hall Road. The Lakeside Mall is the largest mall in the State of Michigan when it comes to the floor area. It features five anchor stores. The first is J.C Penney, Lord & Taylor, Sears, two Macy’s and the first H&M in all of Michigan States. The mall features over 150 stores that are located on two stories, which includes a food court. The Lakeside Mall opened in the year 1976 with four anchor stores. The Mall can be described as one of the landmarks of Sterling Heights.
Role in construction of the Michigan-Ontario Tunnel
The city of Sterling Heights paid homage to thousands of workers that were working on the Michigan-Ontario Tunnel. The City of Sterling Heights is also credited for producing engineers and other casual laborers that worked on the project. Infrastructure development was part of the industrial revolution since the development of the industries would require a better method of commuting between the two countries of Canada and the United States, and to enhance better development of the industries, good means of infrastructure had to be developed. This is one of the reasons as to why the tunnel was constructed.
Another good reason as to why there was a push to construct the tunnel was promotion of agriculture. This was because the materials would be easily ferried between the countries using a more reliable network for the transport. This in turn would promote the agriculture practice in the countries connected by the tunnel. As earlier discussed, the City of Sterling Heights was a known agricultural area, and most of its products could then be transported to Canada using the tunnel.
Additionally, international trade between the countries was the most important aspect as to why the cross-border tunnel was to be constructed. This is because it was believed that trade would allow the countries to raise revenue. This was confirmed by a prediction made by an architectural company Brinkerhoff and Douglas who said that it was profitable if the tunnel was constructed between the two countries.
Before the construction was started, there was a heated debate amongst the people who argued out that a method of connecting the two countries was important to allow cross-border interaction of the people and to enhance the trade that had become rampant during the industrial revolution. The debate started in the 1860s, and the most practical argument was that a bridge would serve the purpose of connecting the two cities.
However, large water vessels used the waterway and had tall masts; for this reason, it was not possible to construct a bridge high enough to sustain both the water transport and also support the construction of the bridge.
During the summer of 1928, the official construction of the tunnel officially began under an agreement made by the two cities Detroit and Windsor and the Detroit Canada Tunnel corporation where the ownership would be transferred to the two cities after the operation of the company for 60 years. Funding was to be sourced from some of the banks in Detroit who agreed to fund the company that was constructing it provided that the company would carry out the work of designing and constructing the tunnel.
Upon the sourcing of the funding, the tunnel from Detroit to Windsor was constructed by several chartered companies that included Persons, Klapp, Brinkerhoff, and Douglas whereby the executive engineer was A. Burnside and the design engineer was Soren Anton Thoreson. They were half English and half Norwegian (Mason, 1995).
Ole Swing stand was a consultant who aided in the construction of the ventilation system of the tunnel that is one of the best ventilation systems of the world today. Casual laborers came from different parts of Michigan, Sterling Heights, then referred to as Sterling Township also included.
The construction material at this time involved several methods. It involved the use of hydraulic and steam shovels to excavate the mud and sink a trench to the line of the harbor (Mason, 1995). This was done mechanically, and sandhogs were used to dig the earth away and create the shield wall. As it was moved slowly, the steel plates that were electrically welded were placed into position from the back part of the large tube and formed into one long tube.
The use of steam to manipulate the machines was a major cause of the construction delay, and if such construction were undertaken today, the work would be completed early enough.
The nine steel tubes were sunk across the trench and laid at the bottom of the river. The tubes were constructed on the land, and they were water tight and sealed together to form one long tube tunnel. Steel is a heavy metal, and this ensured that the steel made tubes rest on the bottom of the river without a lot of problems.
The materials used at this time were readily available as the industries had evolved from the use of iron as the metal for construction to the use of steel. The concrete was also readily available process by mixing of cement and ballast. For this reason, it can be seen that again, the city of Sterling Heights has been integral in the building of infrastructure in the United States and bringing about a one of a kind tunnel (Mason, 1995).
Demographics of the city
As of the census of the year 2010, there were around 129,700 people that were living in the area; there were 49,451 households and around 34,516 families that resided in the city. The population density for the city was 3,552.4 inhabitants per each square mile.
Racial composition of the city
The racial makeup of the city according to the 2010 National census was 85.3% White, 5.1% African-American or Black, 0.2 Native American and 6.6% Asian. The Hispanic or Latino of any race constituted of around 1.9% of the total population. The median age in the city stands at 40.4 years, and the gender makeup of the city was around 48.5% male and 51.5% female.
There has been a steady rise in the African American population in the city since the year 2000. The median income for a typical household in the city is around $60,495 and the total median income for a family often stands at around $70,150. The per Capita income for the city stood at $27,959. About 5.2% of the city population live below the poverty line including 6.7% of those under the age of 18 years old and 7.8% of those that are aged sixty-five years and over.
The city was rated the 6th safest city in America. The crime rate in the city has been decreasing over the years, and this can be attributed to a robust police system that has to police done with the help of residents. The city has been on a steady pattern in terms of growth and the whole city is often roamed with friendly police officers. In fact, it is of the essence to understand that according to the American Crime Watch, there are some areas of the city where the crime is almost zero. This trend is expected to continue as most people in the City continue to advocate for continued calm and tranquility in the city.
Finlayson, R. (2003). We shall overcome: The history of the American civil rights movement. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co.
Mason, P. P. (1995). Rumrunning and the roaring twenties: Prohibition on the Michigan-Ontario Waterway. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
Sterling Heights Public Library (Sterling Heights, Mich.), & Sterling Heights Historical Commission (Sterling Heights, Mich.). (2005). Sterling Township, 1875-1968. Charleston, SC: Arcadia.
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