Water, Land, and Housing in Detroit MI (ongoing)

Continuing the long-running investigative comics journalism series (previously called Ladydrawers) as a collaborative endeavor, Melissa Mendes and Anne Elizabeth Moore are in the midst of a 15-month series for Truthout that explores water, land, and housing rights in and around Detroit, Michigan. Through in-depth interviews, shoe-leather reporting, deep research, and brilliant, thoughtful graphics, the series seeks to explore challenges to personhood in a contemporary American city.

The water series has now been published in entirety:

  • “Where There Is No Water” offers a look at the Detroit water shut-offs through the eyes of water activist Nicole Hill.
  • “We’re Not Gonna Drink That” describes the Flint water crisis in an interview with researcher and organizer Melissa Mays.
  • “#WageLove” introduces readers to the legal responses these two related crises have spurred, largely at the behest of civil rights attorney Alice Jennings.
  • “Making Us All Sicker” presents recent findings that Detroit water shut-offs are increasing the likelihood of water-borne diseases in the Detroit Metro Area.

The housing series is now complete:

  • “Scenes From the Foreclosure Crisis” follows three individuals as they navigate the complexities of property tax foreclosures in Detroit, a process that has claimed one in four homes in recent years.
  • “House on Junction I” narrates the history of housing rights from the perspective of a single, 110-year-old, single family home in Southwest Detroit up to the mid-1960s.
  • “House on Junction II” concludes our story from the Southwest Detroit home of Joseph Bates, partially demolished while he was still in residence.
  • BLIGHT!“offers a close investigation into this little-understood—and surprisingly profitable, for some—housing designation.

The land series will begin publishing in December.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.