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Archer, Dennis 1942–

Dennis Archer 1942

Attorney, politician

Up From the Farm

Dedicated to Detroit

Voted Mayor in 1993 Elections

Made Significant Changes in Detroit

Sources

Promising an administration that would be distinguished by such qualities as openness, accessibility, and cooperation, Dennis Archer became the mayor of the city of Detroit on January 3, 1994. Archera prominent local attorney and a former justice on the Michigan State Supreme Courtwas elected Detroits mayor after a campaign in which he promised better city services, a tougher stance on crime, and increased incentives for business in the city. Poised and soft-spoken, Archer succeeded the popular but volatile Coleman Young, who ran Detroit for twenty years. Dennis Archer is certain to transform the Detroit mayors office, southeast Michigans most important political job, wrote Bill McGraw in the Detroit Free Press. Judicious, restrained and conciliatory where Young is blunt, charismatic and confrontational, Archer represents a new generation and a fresh style.

Archer won Detroits 1993 mayoral race by earning 57 percent of the vote against a strong candidate, Sharon McPhail, who had received Coleman Youngs endorsement. In a long and sometimes bitter campaign, Archer found himself accused of elitismof catering to white interests rather than caring about the serious problems besetting black Detroiters. Archer, who grew up poor himself, answered the charges by promising to build coalitions of all races, creeds, and economic levels to produce real improvement in the troubled city of one million. He told the Detroit Free Press: Let it be clear that I stand ready to work with anyone within our city and beyond our city borders in an effort to redeem our city and to build a better future. After two terms, Archer returned to the private sector, becoming the first African-American president of the American Bar Association.

Up From the Farm

A better future was always a goal for Dennis Archer. His early life was one of numbing poverty, made bearable only by his parents assurance that education would help him improve his lot in life. Archer was born in Detroit on New Years Day in 1942. While he was still a baby, his family moved to a ramshackle farmhouse in Cassopolis, Michigan, a rural community in the far southwestern part of the state. Archers father had a third grade education and was permanently disabled by the loss of an arm in an automobile accident. He worked the Cassopolis farm as best he

At a Glance

Born Dennis Wayne Archer on January 1, 1942, in Detroit, Ml; son of Ernest James and Frances Carroll Archer; married Trudy DunCombe, June 17, 1967; children: Dennis Wayne, Jr., Vincent DunCombe. Education: Attended Wayne State University, 1959-61, and Detroit Institute of Technology, 1961-63; Western Michigan University, B.S., 1965; Detroit College of Law, J.D., 1970.

Career: Public school teacher, 1965-70; Gragg & Gardner (law firm), Detroit, attorney, 1970-71; Hall, Stone, Allen, Archer & Glenn, partner, 1971-73; Detroit College of Law, associate professor, 1972-78; Charfoos, Christensen & Archer, partner, 1973-86; Wayne State University Law School, adjunct professor, 1984-85; Michigan State Supreme Court, justice, 1986-90; Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman, partner, 1991-93, chairman, 2002; mayor of Detroit, 1994-01.

Member: International Society of Barristers; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, life member; National Bar Association, president, 1983-84; American Bar Association, pres-elect, 2002, pres, 2003; State Bar of Michigan, president, 1984-85; American and Michigan Trial Lawyers Associations; U.S. Conference of Mayors, former pres; Compuware, bd member, 2001-.

Selected awards: Named one of 100 Most Influential Black Americans, Ebony magazine, 1984; one of 100 Most Powerful U.S. Attorneys, National Law Journal, 1985; distinguished achievement award, Detroit NAACP branch, 1985; voted most respected judge in Michigan, 1990; several honorary degrees.

Address: Office 500 Woodward Avenue, Suite 4000 Detroit, Ml 48226-3425.

could and also did odd jobs for a store owner in nearby South Bend, Indiana. The farmhouse in which the Archer family lived had no insulation to block the winter winds and no indoor plumbing. It was so close to a railroad track that it shook when trains passed. An Ebony magazine contributor noted that the only suit Archer owned was his marching band uniform.

Archer credited his parents for convincing him that schooling would be his escape from Cassopolis. He graduated from Cassopolis High in 1959 and washed dishes to put himself through college, graduating from Western Michigan University in 1965. At that time, it was his dream to be a school teacher. After earning his bachelors degree, he moved east to Detroit and joined the public school system, where he worked with emotionally disabled youngsters. There he met another young teacher, Trudy DunCombe. Unlike Archer, Dun-Combe had grown up in relatively affluent circumstances in one of Detroits historic neighborhoods. Unlikely as the match might have seemed to their families, the two married in 1967 and began a long journey of mutual support and encouragement.

It was Archers wife who persuaded him to attend law school. He began taking night courses at the Detroit College of Law and earned a degree in 1970. Shortly thereafter, he passed the Michigan bar and moved from teaching into the law firm of Gragg & Gardner. After only a year there he moved to Hall, Stone, Allen, Archer & Glenn, where he was made a partner. His success established in a new field, he encouraged his wife to attend law school as well. Theirs was a busy life with careers, two young sons, and continuing education, but they still had time to enter the political arena as volunteers for area candidates.

Archer told Ebony that his financially secure, high-profile lifestyle sometimes amazed him. When I was growing up in Cassopolis, I did not envision that I would ever become a teacher, he said. I never thought Id even be a lawyer. I wouldnt even have thought enough to dream about being on the Michigan Supreme Court. Now, I find myself privileged to serve our citizens as the next mayor of Detroit. That is something that was beyond my comprehension.

In the 1970s Archer and his family moved to a comfortable home in the stylish Palmer Woods neighborhood of Detroit. Archer became quite active in Democratic politics in southeastern Michigan, directing campaigns to re-elect Coleman Young as mayor of Detroit in 1977, Shirley Hall for city clerk in 1981, and George Crockett, Jr., for congressman in 1982. The affable lawyers ties to such important political figures inevitably widened his own sphere of influence. He was a partner in the law firm of Charfoos, Christensen & Archer until 1986, when he was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court as a justice by then-Governor James Blanchard.

Dedicated to Detroit

The state supreme court appointment seemed to signal an end to Archers political career. It was a prestigious posting that could be expected to continue indefinitely. Indeed, he was only two years away from a guaranteed annual pension of $50,000, when he decided, in 1990, to step down from the bench, return to the private practice of law, and seek the mayoralty of Detroit. Archers choice to re-enter politics was a momentous decision. He found support from his wife, who had by that time become a district court judge herself, and his sons, who were nearing college age. Support from Detroits formidable political machinery was far more problematic. In December of 1990 Archer met privately with Mayor Young and told him, as quoted in the Detroit Free Press,"Id like to emulate what youve done. Young, who was in his seventies and suffering from emphysema, remained noncommittal, in part because at the time he was still considering a possible sixth term as mayor.

As the months passed, Archer made it plain that he planned to run for mayor of Detroit even if it meant facing Coleman Young in a race. It was an audacious decision. Despite his failing health, Young remained wildly popular in Detroit. He was perceived as a fiercely independent politician who could guard the city against hostile forces in the predominantly white suburbs. From the moment of his formal announcement in November of 1992, Archer forged a more conciliatory approach as his campaign tacticand he fearlessly blasted Young for his style of government. The days when a handful of politicians can sit in a back room and carve up this city are over, Archer told the Detroit Free Press. It is time for opening the windows and letting fresh air into City Hall.

Predictably, that comment angered Coleman Young. Once Young decided not to run himself for a sixth term, he endorsed a rival candidate, Sharon McPhail. Detroit Free Press correspondent Patricia Montemurri wrote: Youngs backing gave McPhail an instant organization and within days, at least $250,000 through a $5,000-a-head fund-raiser attended by many city officials or businesspeople who were investing in their jobs or city contracts. But it also played into Archers hands, linking McPhail to a tired city government that was short on services and battered by a reputation for cronyism and corruption. Youngs endorsement [of McPhail] helped Archer crystallize the race as a contest between new and old, change and more of the same.

The 1993 campaign for mayor of Detroit was punctuated by each candidates attacks on the other. Montemurri saw it this way: From the outset of his campaign, Dennis Archer had been troubled by what he called the drumbeat. It began as a whisper. Archer was upper-crust, elitist, distant by choice from the middle and lower-class blacks who made up the bulk of Detroit. After he had lunch with Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, the embodiment of mean-spirited suburban racism to many black Detroiters, Archer was labeled a lackey of some vague, white power brokers who wanted to reclaim the city. Archer, in sum, wasnt black enough to be mayor of a city that was about eighty percent African American. McPhail turned the whisper to a roar, playing the race card early and often.

Possibly the worst blow to Archer in this respect came just a month before the November of 1993 election. A well-known and highly respected black clergyman, Reverend Charles Adams, told an audience at a McPhail fund-raiser, as reported in the Detroit Free Press: They want a nice mayor. They want a mayor to shuffle when hes not going anywhere, scratch when hes not itching and grin when hes not tickled. Adams was referring once again to Archers perceived courtship of white interests in Detroits suburbs.

Archer was genuinely wounded by this line of attack. He told the Detroit Free Press: I wasnt born wearing the kind of clothes Im wearing. I wasnt born driving the car Im driving. I wasnt born making the money Im making. What kind of message does that [campaign tactic] send our children? Does that mean you have to turn your hat around backward and call somebody names in order to be considered worthy of being part of the community? Archer continued to stress that he wanted to work with anyoneand everyonewho was interested in improving Detroit, be they black, white, Arabic, Jewish, suburban, or city-dweller.

Less than a week after making his statement about Archer, Reverend Adams phoned Archer to apologize. Some weeks later, just prior to election day, Archer was invited to address Adamss congregation at the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church. According to reports in the Detroit Free Press, Archer took the pulpit and told the audience: It has been said throughout this campaign that they want to take the city back and that they have a candidate. I hope to let you know who they are and who I represent. I represent the people who cant get their garbage picked up on time their streetlights to stay on all night their phone calls answered at city hall. I stand before you representing children who are more concerned about surviving the school day the homeless, the disenfranchised and the working poor who want affordable housing, and a clean and decent place in which to live. At the close of his speech, Archer received a hug from Reverend Adams.

Voted Mayor in 1993 Elections

Archer won the November of 1993 election by a 57-43 percent margin. Exit polls revealed that Archer received ninty percent of the votes by white Detroiters but only 47 percent of the black voteto McPhails 52 percent. The outcome was nonetheless gratifying for a candidate who had run on a Detroit for All, All for Detroit platform and who had promised to invite media scrutiny on every level of his government. I dont think theres any question that this has been a bitter and divisive race, Archer told the Detroit Free Press at the post-election party in his honor. But Ive got faith in our community. We have a real strong capability of coming together and doing so rather quickly, because what we want is for the common good of all of our people in this city.

Archer was sworn in on January 3, 1994, in an emotional ceremony that included a heartfelt introduction by his oldest son. Immediately upon entering office, he began an aggressive agenda aimed at improving city services, increasing the number of policemen on the streets, and opening city government to suggestions from citizens and scrutiny from the media. Its clear that Michiganfor the moment at leastsimply adores the new mayor of Detroit, wrote Hugh McDiarmid in the Detroit Free Press just weeks after Archer took office. He is Mr. Good Guy who can do no wrong.

The early days of the mayors term were marked by a media blitz surrounding the attack on U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan at Cobo Hall in Detroit. According to an Associated Press report, the incident didnt help [Archers] efforts to rid the city of its reputation as an unsafe place, but his smooth handling of the situationalong with the discovery that the assault had been planned by outsidershelped the city to rebound from the negative press.

Detroit remained in the spotlight for the rest of the winter of 1994, largely because the city played host to the G-7 Job Summit, an international event in which representatives from seven nations met to determine the most effective ways to increase global employment opportunities. Once again, Archer dazzled the mediaand even left President Bill Clintona close friendwinded after a brisk jog on neighboring Belle Isle. Archer told Ebony that he realized he faced enormous obstacles in his quest to improve Detroit, but he still contended that with the help of other motivated citizens, he could make a change.

Made Significant Changes in Detroit

Once in office Archer made improvements in Detroit. During his tenure, Archer attracted new business$11 billion of industrial and commercial projectsto Detroit, including computer giant, Compuware. Many also attribute this success to Detroits being one of the first cities to receive $100 million for an Empowerment Zone. Archer also began negotiations for the Detroit Tigerss new baseball stadium, Comerica Park. It opened in 2000. He laid the foundation for the Detroit Lionss return to the city with a new football stadium. The Lions moved from Pontiac, Michigan, to the new Ford Field in the fall of 2002.

Many may consider Archers most defining moment as the day when voters okayed three casinos in the city limits. The road to opening day for each casino was marked with many potholes. The battles began with bids coming from all over, including the Mirage and MGM Grand as well as investor groups that included pop icon Michael Jackson and the first African American casino owner, local business owner Don Barden. In the end, licenses were awarded to MGM Grand, Atwater/Circus Circus (MotorCity Casino), and Greektown/Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Greektown Casino). Each casino opened in temporary buildings while the mayor and the city council waged war over where to place each permanently. The dispute raged well into the summer of 2002.

Though his detractors still harassed Archer, including trying to get enough signatures to push for a recall, he continued to strive to change the economic and social climate of Detroit. Crime was down and so was the unemployment rate. But two terms were enough for Archer. He announced in 2000 that he would not seek a third term. I love this city. But I also realize that I have no life, he was quoted as saying in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Archers return to the private sector disappointed many. He was considered a well-respected elder statesman by the members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He also served as president of the association. He accepted the chairmanship position at former employer Dickson Wright Law Firm. One week after leaving office, Archer was appointed to Compuwares board. He is the first African American to serve on the board in company history.

Though there was some speculation that he would take a position in federal government, Archer continued to make history. He became the first African American named as president of the American Bar Association. In 2002 he was picked as the new president-elect and will serve for one year as president in 2003.

Sources

Periodicals

Detroit Free Press, September 16, 1993, p. A-10; November 3, 1993, p. A-1; November 4, 1993, p. D-1; November 22, 1993, p. B-1; January 3, 1994, p. A-1; January 4, 1994, p. A-1; January 16, 1994, p. H-1; January 20, 1994, p. C-1.

Detroit News, April 1, 2002, p. 06; August 8, 2002, p. 10.

Ebony, February 1994, pp. 92-94.

The Financial Times, February 28, 2000, p. 2.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, April 18, 2001; June 22, 2001; November 29, 2001; January 8, 2002.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, January 24, 1996; August 20, 2002.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 18, 2001, p.04.

Purchasing, August 15, 1996.

The Record, (Bergen County, NJ), August 14, 2002, p. A14.

San Francisco Business Times, February 18, 2000, p. 12.

On-line

http://www.dickinsonwright.com/f_offc.htm

http://www.metrotimes.com/news/columns/18/jl/42.html

http://www.publicsectorconsultants.com/PSR/Periscop/1998/031398.cfm

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained from an Associated Press wire report, May 1, 1994.

Anne Janette Johnson and Ashyia N. Henderson

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Archer, Dennis 1942–

Dennis Archer 1942

Attorney, politician

At a Glance

A Dedication to Detroit

Elected Mayor in 1993 Elections

Sources

Promising an administration that would be distinguished by such qualities as openness, accessibility, and cooperation, Dennis Archer became the mayor of the city of Detroit on January 3, 1994. Archera prominent local attorney and a former justice on the Michigan State Supreme Court was elected Detroits mayor after a campaign in which he promised better city services, a tougher stance on crime, and increased incentives for business in the city. Poised and soft-spoken, Archer succeeds the popular but volatile Coleman Young, who ran Detroit for 20 years. Dennis Archer is certain to transform the Detroit mayors office, southeast Michigans most important political job, wrote Bill McGraw in the Detroit Free Press. Judicious, restrained and conciliatory where Young is blunt, charismatic and confrontational, Archer represents a new generation and a fresh style.

Archer won Detroits 1993 mayoral race by earning 57 percent of the vote against a strong candidate, Sharon McPhail, who had received Coleman Youngs endorsement. In a long and sometimes bitter campaign, Archer found himself accused of elitismof catering to white interests rather than caring about the serious problems besetting black Detroiters. Archer, who grew up poor himself, answered the charges by promising to build coalitions of all races, creeds, and economic levels to produce real improvement in the troubled city of one million. He told the Detroit Free Press: Let it be clear that I stand ready to work with anyone within our city and beyond our city borders in an effort to redeem our city and to build a better future.

A better future has always been a goal for Dennis Archer. His early life was one of numbing poverty, made bearable only by his parents assurance that education would help him improve his lot in life. Archer was born in Detroit on New Years Day in 1942. While he was still a baby, his family moved to a ramshackle farmhouse in Cassopolis, Michigan, a rural community in the far southwestern part of the state. Archers father had a third grade education and was permanently disabled by the loss of an arm in an automobile accident. He worked the Cassopolis farm as best he could and also did odd jobs for a store owner in nearby South Bend, Indiana. The farmhouse in which the Archer family lived had no insulation to block the winter winds and no indoor plumbing. It was so close to a railroad track that it shook when trains passed. An Ebony magazine contributor

At a Glance

Born Dennis Wayne Archer. January 1, 1942, in Detroit, MI; son of Emest James (a laborer) and Frances Carroll Archer; married Trudy DunCombe (a district court judge), June 17, 1967; children. Dennis Wayne, Jr., Vincent DunCombe. Education: Attended Wayne State University, 1959-61, and Detroil institute of Technology, 1961-63; Western Michigan University, B.S., 1965; Detroit College of Law, J.D., 1970.

Public school teacher in Michigan, 1965-70; Gragg & Gardner (law firm), Detroit, MI, attorney, 1970-71; Hall, Stone, Allen, Archer & Glenn (law firm), Detroit, partner, 1971-73; Charfoos, Christensen & Archer (law firm), Detroit, partner, 1973-86; Michigan State Supreme Court, justice, 1986-90; Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman (law firm), Detroit, partner, 1991-93; mayor of Detroit, 1994. Associate professor, Detroit College of law, 1972-76; adjunct professor, Wayne State University Law School, 1984-85.

Member: International Society of Barristers; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (life member); National Bar Association (president, 1983-84); American Bar Association; State Bar of Michigan (president, 1984-85); American and Michigan Trial Lawyers Associations.

Selected awards: Named one of 100 most influential black Americans, Ebony magazine, 1984, and one of 100 most powerful U.S. attorneys. National Law Journal, 1985; distinguished achievement award, Detroit NAACP branch, 1985; voted most respected judge in Michigan, 1990; several honorary degrees.

Addresses: Home Manoogian Mansion, Detroit, MI. Office Office of the Mayor, 1126 City County Bldg., Detroit, MI 48226.

noted that the only suit Archer owned was his marching band uniform.

Archer credits his parents for convincing him that schooling would enable him to escape from Cassopolis. He graduated from Cassopolis High in 1959 and washed dishes to put himself through college, graduating from Western Michigan University in 1965. At that time, it was his dream to be a schoolteacher. After earning his bachelors degree, he moved east to Detroit and joined the public school system, where he worked with emotionally disabled youngsters. There he met another young teacher, Trudy DunCombe. Unlike Archer, DunCombe had grown up in relatively affluent circumstances in one of Detroits historic neighborhoods. Unlikely as the match might have seemed to their families, the two married in 1967 and began a long journey of mutual support and encouragement.

It was Archers wife who persuaded him to attend law school. He began taking night courses at the Detroit College of Law and earned a degree in 1970. Shortly thereafter, he passed the Michigan bar and moved from teaching into the law firm of Gragg & Gardner. After only a year there he moved to Hall, Stone, Allen, Archer & Glenn, where he was made a partner. Once Archer became established in a new field, he encouraged his wife to attend law school as well. Theirs was a busy life with careers, two young sons, and continuing education, but they still had time to enter the political arena as volunteers for area candidates.

Archer told Ebony that his financially secure, high-profile lifestyle sometimes amazed him. When I was growing up in Cassopolis, I did not envision that I would ever become a teacher, he said. I never thought Id even be a lawyer. I wouldnt even have thought enough to dream about being on the Michigan Supreme Court. Now, I find myself privileged to serve our citizens as the next mayor of Detroit. That is something that was beyond my comprehension.

In the 1970s Archer and his family moved to a comfortable home in the stylish Palmer Woods neighborhood of Detroit. Archer became quite active in Democratic politics in southeastern Michigan, directing campaigns to re-elect Coleman Young as mayor of Detroit in 1977, Shirley Hall for city clerk in 1981, and George Crockett, Jr., for congressman in 1982. The affable lawyers ties to such important political figures inevitably widened his own sphere of influence. He was a partner in the law firm of Charfoos, Christensen& Archer until 1986, when he was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court as a justice by then-Governor James Blanchard.

A Dedication to Detroit

The state supreme court appointment seemed to signal an end to Archers political career. It was a prestigious posting that could be expected to continue indefinitely. Indeed, he was only two years away from a guaranteed annual pension of $50,000, when he decided, in 1990, to step down from the bench, return to the private practice of law, and seek the mayoralty of Detroit. Archers choice to reenter politics was a momentous decision. He found support from his wife, who had by that time become a district court judge herself, and his sons, who were nearing college age. Support from Detroits formidable political machinery was far more problematic.

In December of 1990 Archer met privately with Mayor Young and told himas quoted in the Detroit Free Press Id like to emulate what youve done. Young, who was in his seventies and suffering from emphysema, remained non-committal, in part because at the time he was still considering a possible sixth term as mayor.

As the months passed, Archer made it plain that he planned to run for mayor of Detroit even if it meant facing Coleman Young in a race. It was an audacious decision. Despite his failing health, Young remained wildly popular in Detroit. He was perceived as a fiercely independent politician who could guard the city against hostile forces in the predominantly white suburbs. From the moment of his formal announcement in November of 1992, Archer forged a more conciliatory approach as his campaign tacticand he fearlessly blasted Young for his style of government. The days when a handful of politicians can sit in a back room and carve up this city are over, Archer told the Detroit Free Press. It is time for opening the windows and letting fresh air into City Hall.

Predictably, that comment angered Coleman Young. Once Young decided not to run himself for a sixth term, he endorsed a rival candidate, Sharon McPhail. Detroit Free Press correspondent Patricia Montemurri wrote: Youngs backing gave McPhail an instant organization and within days, at least $250,000 through a $5,000-a-head fund-raiser attended by many city officials or businesspeople who were investing in their jobs or city contracts. But it also played into Archers hands, linking McPhail to a tired city government that was short on services and battered by a reputation for cronyism and corruption. Youngs endorsement [of McPhail] helped Archer crystallize the race as a contest between new and old, change and more of the same.

The 1993 campaign for mayor of Detroit was punctuated by each candidates attacks on the other. Montemurri saw it this way: From the outset of his campaign, Dennis Archer had been troubled by what he called the drumbeat. It began as a whisper. Archer was upper-crust, elitist, distant by choice from the middle and lower-class blacks who made up the bulk of Detroit. After he had lunch with Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, the embodiment of mean-spirited suburban racism to many black Detroiters, Archer was labeled a lackey of some vague, white power brokers who wanted to reclaim the city. Archer, in sum, wasnt black enough to be mayor of a city that was about 80 percent African American. McPhail turned the whisper to a roar, playing the race card early and often.

Possibly the worst blow to Archer in this respect came just a month before the November 1993 election. A well-known and highly respected black clergyman, Reverend Charles Adams, told an audience at a McPhail fund-raiser, as reported in the Detroit Free Press: They want a nice mayor. They want a mayor to shuffle when hes not going anywhere, scratch when hes not itching and grin when hes not tickled. Adams was referring once again to Archers perceived courtship of white interests in Detroits suburbs.

Archer was genuinely wounded by this line of attack. He told the Detroit Free Press: I wasnt born wearing the kind of clothes Im wearing. I wasnt born driving the car Im driving. I wasnt born making the money Im making. What kind of message does that [campaign tactic] send our children? Does that mean you have to turn your hat around backward and call somebody names in order to be considered worthy of being part of the community? Archer continued to stress that he wanted to work with anyoneand everyonewho was interested in improving Detroit, be they black, white, Arabic, Jewish, suburban, or city-dweller.

Less than a week after making his statement about Archer, Reverend Adams phoned Archer to apologize. Some weeks later, just prior to election day, Archer was invited to address Adamss congregation at the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church. According to reports in the Detroit Free Press, Archer took the pulpit and told the audience: It has been said throughout this campaign that they want to take the city back and that they have a candidate. I hope to let you know who they are and who I represent. I represent the people who cant get their garbage picked up on time their streetlights to stay on all night their phone calls answered at city hall. I stand before you representing children who are more concerned about surviving the school day the homeless, the disenfranchised and the working poor who want affordable housing, and a clean and decent place in which to live. At the close of his speech, Archer received a hug from Reverend Adams.

Elected Mayor in 1993 Elections

Archer won the November 1993 election by a 57-43 percent margin. Exit polls revealed that Archer received 90 percent of the votes by white Detroiters but only 47 percent of the black voteto McPhails 52 percent. The outcome was nonetheless gratifying for a candidate who had run on a Detroit for All, All for Detroit platform and who had promised to invite media scrutiny on every level of his government. I dont think theres any question that this has been a bitter and divisive race, Archer told the Detroit Free Press at the post-election party in his honor. But Ive got faith in our community. We have a real strong capability of coming together and doing so rather quickly, because what we want is for the common good of all of our people in this city.

Archer was sworn in on January 3, 1994, in an emotional ceremony that included a heartfelt introduction by his oldest son. Immediately upon entering office, he began an aggressive agenda aimed at improving city services, increasing the number of policemen on the streets, and opening city government to suggestions from citizens and scrutiny from the media. Its clear that Michiganfor the moment at leastsimply adores the new mayor of Detroit, wrote Hugh McDiarmid in the Detroit Free Press just weeks after Archer took office. He is Mr. Good Guy who can do no wrong.

The early days of the mayors term were marked by a media blitz surrounding the attack on U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan at Cobo Hall in Detroit. According to an Associated Press report, the incident didnt help [Archers] efforts to rid the city of its reputation as an unsafe place, but his smooth handling of the situationalong with the discovery that the assault had been planned by outsidershelped the city to rebound from the negative press.

Detroit remained in the spotlight for the rest of the winter of 1994, largely because the city played host to the G-7 Jobs Conference, an international event in which representatives from seven nations met to determine the most effective ways to increase global employment opportunities. Once again, Archer dazzled the mediaand even left President Bill Clinton winded after a brisk jog on neighboring Belle Isle.

Archer told Ebony that he realizes he faces enormous obstacles in his quest to improve Detroit, but he still contends that with the help of other motivated citizens, he can make a change. In the year 2000, Detroit will be the in place to live, to raise a family, to open a business and to experience cultural diversity, he said. [In that] year, the City of Detroit will have received an award as the most improved city in the decade of the 90s.

Sources

Detroit Free Press, September 16, 1993, p. A-10; November 3, 1993, p. A-1; November 4, 1993, p. D-1; November 22, 1993, p. B-1; January 3, 1994, p. A-1; January 4, 1994, p. A-1; January 16, 1994, p. H-1; January 20, 1994, p. C-1.

Ebony, February 1994, pp. 92-94.

Additional information for this entry was obtained from an Associated Press wire report, May 1, 1994.

Anne Janette Johnson

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Archer, Dennis 1942–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Archer, Dennis 1942–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/archer-dennis-1942

"Archer, Dennis 1942–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/archer-dennis-1942