One Day in Detroit

Profile Spotlight: Walter V. Marshall

Who are you and what is your profession?
My name is Walter V. Marshall and I am a filmmaker and videographer.

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?
I was born and raised in Detroit. My childhood education was shaped in Detroit Public Schools. Unfortunately, all of my schools are now either closed or renamed. My high school, Crockett, was known for its career training in medicine, arts, and cosmetology. I chose the arts path, which led to my study of photography. After a few semesters, my instructors noticed potential and suggested my name for a workshop with Gordon Parks.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
The meeting of Gordon Parks was my first moment of inspiration, but I would have to say there have been many special moments along the way.

Who or what do you most admire?
Alex, I will go with Jesus for $800 and the daily double for Grandfather and Gordon Parks.

What do you love about Detroit?
I love Detroit's work ethic. While working on a farm in Medon, Tennessee, my grandfather got word of a better life in Detroit, Michigan. He didn't allow his middle school education to get in the way, or even that his wife was pregnant with my father at the time. He knew what he wanted. He courageously took the exodus on faith, the same northern journey many Detroiters traveled in search of a better life.

What do you fear most for Detroit?
My fear for Detroit is the current process of gentrification. Everyone does not need a four-year degree for employment. My grandfather provided for a wife and six children on a middle school education. Times have changed, but the passion of Detroiters perseveres. As new jobs are brought to Detroit, I pray that able, willing Detroiters are not overlooked.

What do you hope for Detroit in the next 20 years?
In the next 20 years, I hope for new industries to emerge. We have been known for automotive, healthcare, and manufacturing, but in the next 20 years I hope for an explosion in the arts, transportation and tourism areas of Detroit. I believe growth in these areas will afford anyone an opportunity for employment.

In addition to the growth in the workforce, I hope for racial reconciliation to take place in Detroit. I long to see diversity throughout Detroit and not just downtown. 

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