Jerome P. Cavanagh Photographs and Other Material
Scope and Content
- 1960 - 1979
- Majority of material found within 1960 - 1969
- Cavanagh, Jerome P. (Person)
Language of Materials
Rules for Use of Archival Materials.
Cavanagh practiced law in Detroit from 1955 to 1962; he was a member of the law firm of Sullivan, Romanoff, Cavanagh & Nelson. His only governmental service before becoming mayor was as a member of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors and the Detroit Metropolitan Airport Board of Zoning Appeals, but he had for years been active in politics. In 1949 and 1950 he served as chairman of the Wayne County Young Democrats and on several occasions as a delegate to county, state and national Democratic conventions.
At age 33 Cavanagh won an upset victory over incumbent Mayor Louis C. Miriani and became one of the country's youngest big-city mayors. He won a second four-year term in 1966 by an overwhelming majority. He was unsuccessful, however, in his 1970 race for the Democratic Senatorial nomination and in a 1974 race for the office of Governor of Michigan.
During his eight years as Mayor of Detroit, Cavanagh was nationally recognized as an outstanding urban leader. In 1966 he became the first person ever to serve simultaneously as president of the nation's two leading organizations of municipal officials, the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
In 1963 the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce honored Cavanagh as one of the country's ten "Outstanding Young Men." Life magazine named him as one of the 100 most important young men in the country, part of the "take-over" generation. Newsweek named him urban America's "most articulate spokesman" in 1967.
Cavanagh was mayor during the Detroit riot of 1967. He worked to rebuild the city, obtaining federal assistance and positioning Detroit as the first Demonstration City of the federal Model Cities Program he helped formulate.
Cavanagh's accomplishments as mayor of Detroit were numerous. They included the definition of urban problems as a national problem. After the riot he established the New Detroit Committee to help reshape the city. He also set up the Mayor's Development Team, an attempt to make municipal government more responsive to the people's needs. Two of his most controversial efforts were the establishment of the Tactical Mobile Units in the Police Department and the implementing of strong measures for a better racial balance in the Police Department.
He also installed new management techniques, accelerating the conversion to computer systems, expanded and instituted programs for senior citizens, modernized the water system and updated the Detroit City Airport. He expanded the Cultural Center by implementing federal grants for additions to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Main Library and the Historical Museum as part of a new master plan for a 200-acre cultural complex and he originated numerous summer activities throughout the city, with emphasis on special events to attract people to the downtown area.
Cavanagh stimulated an unprecedented convention boom in Detroit by correcting major flaws in the operation of Cobo Hall, the city's convention facility; he expanded the city's tax base by successfully proposing a city income tax; he launched the Urban Corps program of placing college students in special municipal assignments; and he initiated job programs for the hard-core unemployed and for city youth from underprivileged families. His interest in laboring people was evidenced in his official support of the United Farm Workers' national grape boycott. He originated the family community center concept, in a number of Detroit neighborhoods.
President John F. Kennedy appointed Cavanagh to The National Advisory Committee on Area Redevelopment in 1962. After the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, Cavanagh was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the National Citizen's Committee for Community Relations. In 1964 he was named to serve on a presidential panel preparing legislative recommendations to meet the needs of metropolitan areas.
Other appointments included: Special Advisory Commission to President Johnson on Manpower Problems; Advisory Committee to President Johnson on the Youth Opportunity Program; Public Official Advisory Council for the Office of Economic Opportunity; and Governor's Special Commission on Urban Problems.
Cavanagh helped to establish the National Urban Coalition. He served as Chairman of the Citizen's Advisory Committee for Wayne County Community College. He was Crusade Chairman of the Michigan Division of the American Cancer Society for 1972. Cavanagh also served on the Board of Directors of the Sickle Cell Detection and Information Program, on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Chapter of the American Red Cross, and on the Advisory Board of the United Foundation. He was also one of the first ten Americans selected as an Honorary Fellow of the Kennedy Institute at Harvard University
Cavanagh married Mary Helen Martin in 1952, and with her had eight children: Mark, Patrick, David, Mary Therese, Christopher, Philip, Jerome Celestin, and Elizabeth Angela. The Cavanaghs separated in 1968, while he was Mayor, then divorced. In 1973, Cavanagh married Kathleen Disser, and there was another child, Katie. He remained close to all his children (many of whom lived with him) until his death.
After his term of office as Mayor he worked for the law firm of Cavanagh & Toohey. He taught at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he then made his home, as Professor of Public Policy. He also was President of Urban Synergistics, Inc., an urban consulting firm which he formed with former Mayor of New York City, Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Cavanagh died at the age of 51 on November 27, 1979.
9 Linear Feet ((9 MB, 4 OS, 59 negatives, 16 slides).) : Photographic prints, memorabilia, publications, film negatives, and positive Ektachrome transparencies.
10.25 Gigabytes (351 TIFFs)
- Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
- City planning
- Civil Service
- Civil rights
- Democratic Party (U.S.)
- Detroit (Mich.)
- Detroit (Mich.) -- Politics and government
- Detroit (Mich.) Fire Department
- Detroit (Mich.)--Race relations
- Detroit (Mich.)--Riot, 1967
- Detroit (Mich.). Police Department
- Girardin, Ray
- Humphrey, Hubert H., 1911-1978
- King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
- Labor movement
- Merrill-Palmer Institute
- Michigan -- Politics and government
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- Reuther, Walter, 1907-1970
- Urban renewal
- Wayne State University
- Young, Coleman A.
- Guide to the Jerome P. Cavanagh Photographs and Other Material
- In Progress
- Processed by Talia Hofacker. Partially reprocessed by Deborah Rice on 2017-09-06.
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