The Poletown Struggle for Survival against "the powers that be".
On one side you had General Motors, political leaders of Detroit and Hamtramck including Mayor Coleman A. Young and the City Council of Detroit and the City of Hamtramck with the exception being City Council member Kenneth Cockrel, the Archdiocese of Detroit including Cardinal John F. Deardon with the whole power of the Catholic Church behind him and sorted and various business interests and people of fear that saw their tax base eroding.
On the other side you had the Poletown neighborhood with Immaculate Conception Polish Roman Catholic Church "the beacon of resistance" fighting against the destruction of this community. The church’s spiritual leader The Reverend Joseph Karasiewicz a lifelong resident of the Poletown neighborhood with roots in St. Hyacinth Polish Roman Catholic Church his childhood parish and a graduate of St. Mary’s Polish Seminary with Fr. Joe’s flock following him in his struggle for their survival.
It was money, power and business interests against people and faith the typical David and Goliath scenario. What the Bible teaches us is to not lose faith in the face of massive odds and opposition. What else can an institution of faith do but to lead us on with faith and hope? These are wonderful qualities and often times in life all we have left is faith and hope but what the Bible doesn’t tell us is that Goliath wins over David much more than David wins over Goliath. But, we have to strive for that 1 in 1,000 chance to defeat Goliath in our titanic struggle with the forces of opposition in our world.
So, Fr. Joe and his parishioners meet all the powers mentioned above on the plains of their Sokho, Immaculate Conception Polish Roman Catholic Church in Poletown in a battle for their very existence. Unfortunately, there was no Biblical prophecy driving the force of this resistance. Awesome and overwhelming forces crushed the people and the church right where they stood after a valiant struggle by some with Fr. Joseph Karasiewicz pouring his heart and soul into the struggle for the survival of his parish and parishioners even against the orders of the Detroit Archdiocese under the auspices of Cardinal John F. Deardon that was shocked at the disobedience of one of his priests.
At the expense of being a cynic we know what the outcome was even before it was an outcome but there is much in history books, newspapers and the internet describing the demise and fall of this kind struggle. Besides, it is too sad to discuss at any length, now. But, what I want to share with you are some photos of Immaculate Conception Polish Roman Catholic Church that might elicit some beautiful and tender memories of something so good and intransient in our collective and individual memories.
Click on the thumbnails and a larger image will come up so you can look at the detail in the photos of the inside, outside and the Memorial to Polish Christianity of Immaculate Conception Polish Roman Catholic Church.