Likewise the population of Detroit has been cut in half from what it was in the 50s (I think they went from 1.5 million to 700,000 now), yet they still maintain two safe black congressional districts from Detroit (one of whom is the mother of disgraced former Detriot mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and the other Detriot Congressman, Conyers, has managed to stick around since 1964. I'd love to see how they redesigned his district over the years).
Just goes to show you how RAT voters in the urban areas, no matter what race they are, have no shame when it comes to electing crooks to lifetime positions. I'm sure it's just as bad in Nashville and Memphis (or Atlanta for that matter). What a lot of freepers don't get is that America isn't so much divided between northern and southern culture as it is between urban and rural.
As for Dingell I'm amazed he's still in office at the age of 83 and has no plans to retire anytime soon. Alot of these Washington insiders won't leave office until they're carried out feet first. When John Dingell is finally out of office, I expect the "family seat" to be bequeathed to his son Chris Dingell without a murmur of protest from his gullible constituents.
Many urban districts have been considerably altered or augmented over the years (at one point, IIRC, Manhattan alone had something like 10 districts alone, either mostly or partly within it, now it really could only hold enough for a bit over 2), so obviously IL-1 has been expanded as a result since it first elected Oscar De Priest back in 1928 (although it was a solid GOP district already, since Martin Madden, the House Appropriations Chairman, had held the seat since 1905, and under effectively the same lines. De Priest was the substitute choice when Madden died after he had been renominated for the following Congress. I can’t recall how that played out, or if there were attempts by White Republicans to put in their own man. I’m also not sure if the district became majority Black under Madden or if it was a plurality).
You’re right that they’ve certainly gotten creative keeping 3 Black members given the population (it really should only be 2), and that’s been the same number since 1982 (when Gus Savage displaced White ethnic Morgan Murphy).
Regarding Detroit, the population drop has been even greater than you cited. The population in the city was just under 2 million(!) in the 1950s. The Census Bureau “estimate” for 2008 is just over 900,000, however, having closely followed the yearly release of figures, something smells rotten. The numbers have “magically” either held or grown (I saw figures a few years ago down in the 800s, and frankly, it may very well be in the 700s range), and there’s absolutely nothing to substantiate how Detroit, with its epic unemployment levels, worse-than-3rd world crime, can hold at such a number while other cities in similar circumstances would be in free-fall. I can’t even see illegals roosting there, because with no jobs, they don’t come. Seeing those “numbers” has me very concerned about cooked numbers for 2010.
Yesterday, I was going through a pile of papers and saw an incomplete letter I wrote to the editor of our newspaper calling them out on erroneous census figure estimates for Nashville (and this was in 1996). I did a double-take when I saw my “guestimate” for 2000... I almost nailed the figure exactly when the 2000 census came out. I said 569,000 and that was what it was (I actually got the first 3 digits right and the last digit, so just missed two). This, ironically, was for undercounting rather than overestimating (I criticized them, stating they only believed we added a very small amount of people in the ‘90s when they were off by 50,000 people).
Detroit had about 6 districts wholly or partly within the city after about 1932, and the lines effectively stayed unchanged until 1964, when they had to accommodate a new district for Conyers (to border that of Charlie Diggs, who arrived in 1954). With the drastically reconfigured districts, it forced Dingell to run against John Lesinski, Jr. in an adjacent district. Dingell and Lesinski were very similar (to a degree). Both their dads won neighboring districts in 1932 (when Detroit acquired about 4 new districts). Lesinski, Sr. died in 1950 and was succeeded by his son in a special, and then Dingell, Sr. died in ‘55, followed by his son. Lesinski, Jr. was about a decade older (and I believe more socially Conservative).
Prior to the 1964 remap, the central Detroit districts stretched out like fingers in a northwest angle away from the Detroit River to the Oakland County line, with larger districts abutting into the suburban areas to the west and northwest and northeast. The upper northeast corner (which included the wealthier areas, such as the Grosse Pointes) were represented by Harold Ryan, a Dem who won a special in 1961. In the adjacent 1st directly to the west, the easternmost of the finger strips, was represented by Lucien Nedzi, also elected in a 1961 special. This included some of the heavily ethnic Polish areas (where a Pole had represented it as early as 1924, and continuously from 1932-onward). Nedzi saw his district sawed in half, and he couldn’t run in the new 1st (created for Conyers), so he ran against Ryan in the 14th instead, and beat him in the primary. Nedzi stayed until 1980 (he’s still alive at 84) when he voluntarily retired.
Next to the 1st was the “middle strip”, the 13th, the Black central core, represented by Charlie Diggs since 1954. It actually had gone Republican as recently as 1946 (Diggs’s father tried running for office unsuccessfully as a Republican in the ‘40s). Dingell had the westernmost of the three strips with the western side of Detroit, which was still Caucasian. The 2 other districts were Martha Griffiths’ 17th district, which was the NW area of Wayne (which I believe included the periphery of Detroit), which had been GOP until 1954 (Griffiths almost 3 decades later as an old lady was Jim Blanchard’s Lt Governor), and the 16th, the central and southern/SW part of Wayne/Downriver was all Lesinski’s.
With the ‘64 remap, it technically “added” more districts to Wayne overall, even as Detroit was declining. I mentioned the 1st and 14th were moved together, with the southernmost (Black) areas lopped off, and Nedzi won over Ryan. The 12th (a Macomb-based district) was extended slightly into part of the old 14th. The lopped off area of the 14th and 1st was adjoined to Diggs’s 13th (while the north end of his district was eliminated), where it became a squarish shape along the Detroit River covering the central core. The north end of the former 13th district above the central core up to the Oakland/Macomb County line became the new 1st, Conyers’s new district (and heavily Black). That new Black 1st gobbled up half of Dingell’s old 15th district, so Dingell was forced to move south and west into Lesinski’s, which was the 16th, and that district was one that lopped off the west end of Wayne County and was exclusively the west end of the city and a chunk of downriver all the way to Monroe County. Dingell prevailed over Lesinski in the primary despite Lesinski having represented the bulk of it (and IIRC, it was a brutal primary). A new 15th was created, consisting of half of Lesinski’s old district all the way to the Washtenaw County line, and it was won by Bill Ford (a Dem), who would serve for the next 30 years.
Griffith’s 17th was chopped in thirds, with her taking the easternmost section nearest Detroit (where Dingell ostensibly could’ve run). The new 19th (the middle half of the old 17th) was GOP-leaning, but a Dem won it, Billie Farnum, because of the LBJ landslide, but Farnum was swept out by a Republican in ‘66 (Jack McDonald). The 2nd (which took in a huge area outside of Wayne, also took the westernmost corner of the old 17th), was also won by a Dem, but it was also a GOP district and returned to the GOP column in ‘66.
Remarkable that even as Detroit plummeted, they still virtually held the same lines for 1972 (with the sole substantial change was moving the GOP 19th entirely out of the Wayne area with the 2nd taking over its remaining areas). By 1982, it was almost impossible not to take a toll in the representation, but they took it out of the White Democrats in the Detroit delegation. The 14th (NE corner) had to be expanded into Macomb (represented by Dennis Hertel). The 13th (by then represented by the elderly Black Communist George Crockett, who succeeded Charlie Diggs when he went to prison in 1980) had to cut more into Dingell’s district as it expanded downriver. Conyers’s 1st had to expand in every direction because of its massive losses, both eastward into the 14th, gobbling up half of the 17th, a chunk of the 1st, and even into Dingell’s seat well out. The GOP 2nd still kept the extreme NW corner of Wayne, but the 17th became this irregular strip along the city edge. William Brodhead, who had succeeded Griffiths in 1975, a Dem, just threw in the towel and bailed out. Sander Levin took the reconfigured district, which extended into Oakland. Dingell’s 16th had to grow dramatically with its being gobbled up by a declining Detroit, so he was shifted further downriver and all the way into Monroe County and the Ohio border. Only William Ford’s 15th kept the essentially the same lines within Wayne County, although it essentially became a good chunk of Washtenaw County.
Flash forward to 1992, and the lines were having to extend out of Wayne/Detroit just to hold onto as many as possible. Conyers’s 1st was removed to the Upper Peninsula and renumbered the 14th, the former NW corner district (and Conyers had to extend more in different directions, taking in none other than the Grosse Pointes, so his district became a bit Whiter). The old 14th (Hertel) was merged with the 17th (Sander Levin), becoming the new 12th, which went well into Macomb/Oakland (so much so that Levin had trouble holding it against Republicans in the ‘90s). Hertel just conceded it to Levin because of his overdrafts in the House check-kiting affair. Bill Ford’s 15th stayed the same, but was renumbered the 13th, but the district was really more regarded as an Ann Arbor-based. Dingell’s 16th stayed the same number, but was all of Monroe County and the central 3rd of Wayne County (but almost completely excised of Detroit). This left the 15th, the former 13th, which had a turnover from the Communist Crockett to the openly racist moonbat Barbara-Rose Collins to Kwame’s mommy, Carolyn Kilpatrick (and she had still that Southern strip of downtown, up to part of the Grosse Points and the old ethnic Polish areas).
By 2002, the districts became so enlarged that it was starting to resemble the 1920s in Wayne/Detroit again, before its population explosion. Levin’s 12th was wholly removed from Detroit/Wayne. Conyers’s 14th district, which like in decades before, gobbled up nearly all of Dingell’s remaining Wayne County holdings (and a few decades ago, the lines Conyers now serves under were regarded as suburban !). Kilpatrick’s once-compact district, the 13th, which had been the same numbered-district prior to 1993, now essentially is the entire eastern strip of Wayne County, from the Detroit River up to Macomb County (for which at one point until ‘64 had 4 or 5 districts partly or mostly within it !). The NW corner of Wayne was a newly-drawn GOP 11th district seat for Thaddeus McCotter, but also took in a good chunk of Western Oakland. The last remaining sliver of SW Wayne, all of Monroe, and most of Washtenaw, now firmly an Ann Arbor district, saw the face off between Dingell and Lynn Nancy Rivers, who succeeded Bill Ford, so Dingell’s old 16th was essentially deleted and adjoined to the 15th. Rivers should’ve had a better shot at holding it, but she was beaten by the old warhorse Dingell, to the horror of the Ann Arbor liberals, who thought Dingell so working-class and uncouth.
As it stands (and even Barone wrote that the Detroit figures of a million 20 years ago were “probably cooked”), Detroit proper should just be effectively one member (Kilpatrick), and the rest of Wayne carved up. The 13th and 14th districts (as of 2000) were each only about 60% Black (down from 65% and 68% in the districts in ‘90 that Conyers and Barbara-Rose Collins respectively represented... and way down from 76% and 71% in the late ‘60s).
Anyway, hope I didn’t put you to sleep with those stats. I had a chance to look at my massive Congressional Atlas with the district lines from the past.