History of Detroit Class

For history buffs, new citizens living in the Detroit area, as well as long-time Detroiters, this is a ten week course, one night per week, two hours each class., 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., every Wednesday. Classes will be held at the International Institute, 111 East Kirby, Detroit, Michigan, across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts.


Tuition is $200.

Week 1:       Pre-historic to early French settlement

Week 2:       Early Industry and Trade to the Evolution

                     of Transportation

Week 3:       Detroit’s Auto History

Week 4:       Detroit Military History

Week 5:       Detroit’s Architectural History

Week 6:       Detroit’s Hospitality and Leisure

Week 7:       Detroit’s Art; Mass Media; Crime; Detroit’s Suburbs

Week 8:       Detroit’s Ethnic and Religious Groups; the Civil Rights Movement; Labor Unions

Week 9:       Detroit’s Sports History

Week 10:     Detroit’s Institutions – Hospitals, Universities, etc.; Parks; Businesses; Notable



$200 payable to “International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, Inc.”

Please mail or deliver to 111 E KIRBY, DETROIT, MI 48202.

Please indicate that the check is for the History of Detroit Class. Please include on a piece of paper your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

The Instructor: Robert E. Sullivan, Jr.

Robert E. Sullivan Jr. has taught the History of Detroit course as an adjunct professor at Macomb Community College and here at the International Institute. He has a deep interest in the history of Detroit, as his roots go back six generations in Detroit, before his earliest ancestors emigrated from Ireland. He has been actively involved with the Detroit Historical Society, where he participated on a committee that authored publications to commemorate Detroit’s 300th birthday, in 2001. He similarly served as a member of the History Advisors’ Committee of the Detroit Tricentennial Commission (Detroit 300). He is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Smithsonian, the Detroit Historical Society, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and the Henry Ford (Museum and Greenfield Village). He is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the Wayne County Council for the Arts, History, and Humanities.

Mr. Sullivan received his undergraduate degrees in political science and sociology from Monteith College, at Wayne State University. He received his master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan, College of Architecture and Urban Planning (Ann Arbor). He also studied architecture and urban planning at Oxford University and the University of California-Berkeley. He received his juris doctor degree from the University of Detroit School of Law. He has been a licensed attorney in Michigan since 1984, and is also licensed in the District of Columbia and various federal courts, up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court. He has been a litigator for many years, representing businesses, professionals, cities (including representing the City of Detroit as a Special Assistant Corporation Counsel for many years), and individuals in civil litigation. He also served as Managing Editor of the State Bar of Michigan’s Corporation, Finance & Business Law Journal.

Mr. Sullivan is a Charter Member of the American Planning Association and is a certified city planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He served as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Detroit and Vice-Chairperson of the Planning Commission, where he participated in planning and architectural reviews for proposed developments, participated in the creation of a new master plan, and made recommendations for changes to the zoning map and code. He is also a former long-time Professional Affiliate member of the American Institute of Architects. 

Mr. Sullivan currently serves as General Counsel and Career Development Director at the International Institute. For information on the History of Detroit Series, please contact Robert E. Sullivan, Jr. at resulliv@umich.edu