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A product of Montrose, Michigan, Dan Severn was an absolute legend in the Flint area. Known as the “Baddest of The Bad Asses’ he stood as a man among boys in one of the toughest sports in the world.His amateur wrestling career started in high school and according to many was an "absolute machine" at 191.5 pounds. Dan won both sports' national championships in 1976 and was named the "Outstanding High School Wrestler in the entire United States". Before his 18th birthday, he was already ranked top six in the nation in the open division and placed in the Olympic trials. He was also a two-time NCAA Division 1 All American, and Olympic alternate on the United States wrestling team in both  1984, and 1988. He won a gold medal at the 1985 National Sports Festival, and a berth on the U.S. World team.  He also held the US national record for victories by pin for an incredible 16 years,  from 1976 to 1992. Severn was inducted into Arizona State University's wrestling hall of fame at the end of his collegiate career.His professional career took him to the Mixed Martial Arts where he found equal success. Severn is also a legend to to all fans of the fighting sports all around the world. He is a UFC Hall of Famer, the sports only Triple Crown Champion, and a 2 time NWA Champion.  He also pursued a career in the World Wrestling Federation, and ultimately he became an actor appearing in numerous feature films, and television programs.There is just way too much to list about this man's list of accomplishments, so you’ll have to listen to the episode where Dan and Fish throw down in the Aquarium (figuratively-- not literally--luckily for Fish!!)You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
Tredale Kennedy has been on “Fish and The Flint Chronicles” several times, and each time it’s a different topic. But in fairness, he’s never been on board to participate in a story quite like this one. It’s close to home too, because it involves a close friend, fellow North Ender, and Flint Central Indian Michael Gatewood. In fact Gatewood and Fish go back almost as far, from their early days as 12 and 13 year olds at Whittier Junior High (where Gatewood challenged Fish to a daily wrestling match in gym class). But there was a big interlude after high school when everyone went their separate ways, and during that time Gatewood found himself making some very bad decisions, landing himself in a federal penitentiary.What transpired there led to his transformation in to a cross country community leader in both Denver, Colorado and his hometown Flint, as well as being a highly acclaimed pastor and member of the T.D. Jakes national ministry and organization. His literal ‘Come to Jesus’ moment in the penitentiary would be an incredible story on its own merits if it only involved a seismic personal change. But the fact that it involved two of the leading members of American organized crime with the last names of Gotti and Gambino take the story to an entirely different level.It’s another day of incredible storytelling in The Aquarium of “Fish and The Flint Chronicles.” Believe us when we tell you that you will not want to miss this one!You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
Growing up in Flint, Kevin Conroy was offered the opportunity to experience diversity on a scale most kids in America never get to know. That was all an elemental part of his early years at Civic Park Elementary, and exploring the neighborhoods of the city. Not only did he get the chance to participate in sports at a high level, he met kids from backgrounds as wide as the city limits and beyond.This exploration informed forays in to the competitive landscape of Flint in the late 1970’s. And that ultimately led him to compete in athletics with and against some of the city's very best in a variety of endeavors. This included the ultra competitive Flint youth soccer leagues alongside Fish while a member of the Flint Heddy Decorators Soccer Club, and then on to his high school career at Flint Carman High School. From there, he took his estimable academic talents on to Michigan State University, and prepared to take on the world in the same manner he took on and embraced his own youth growing up in Flint and Genesee County.To say he did so with tremendous success would be to understate the reality by magnitudes of order. Conroy is now the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Exact Sciences. You might not recognize that name, but you will likely recognize the product that his team developed: Cologuard. You've probably seen the walking, talking box on the ubiquitous TV commercials. If you’re of a certain age you most assuredly have some familiarity with the product. And if you don’t know, understand that it is a vanguard product that is the very first medical device or diagnostic to receive simultaneous FDA approval and national Medicare coverage. Since that approval in 2014, millions of Americans have used Cologuard to screen for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of death in the United States.That’s an incredible achievement and  legacy, and one that was propelled forward with maximum velocity when Conroy became CEO in 2009. His tight knit team transformed Exact Science in to the premier world class cancer diagnostic company it is now, with more than 6500 employees worldwide.The early detection of cancer has been a major driving force and passion in Conroy’s executive and leadership career.  Before taking over at Exact Sciences he was CEO and President of Third Wave Technologies, a molecular diagnostics company that developed a breakthrough cervical cancer screening test before being acquired by Hologic in 2008.In many ways Conroy is like several super successful business stars from Flint. He’s surely reminiscent of William C. “Billy” Durant who saw a problem with transportation and created a solution first with carriages and then with automobiles by creating General Motors, Chevrolet, and reinventing Buick. Durant then did the same thing with keeping food fresh and healthy when he created Frigidaire. Durant was laser-focused on making average people’s lives much better. In many ways large and small, so is Kevin Conroy.Like a true Flintstone he is doing it with focus and grit, and like so many of our cities favorite sons, he remembers where is from and the city and community that helped craft him in to the kind of a man that can leverage his unique gifts and talents to improve our world. Today he is telling that fascinating and dramatic story with Fish in the Aquarium on “Fish and The Flint Chronicles!”Originally aired on 6/15/2022You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
It’s a truly epic day in the Aquarium!  Flint has produced so many incredible athletes in virtually every sport, and we’ve had a ton of them on “Fish and The Flint Chronicles” over the years. However, we rarely have more than one at a time, and only occasionally two. But today we have a truly special moment. We’ve brought four of the GOAT’s together for one show today. This is pure Flint sports history at its finest! Jo Lake – Arguably the greatest ladies high school coach in Michigan high school history.  A genuine ground breaker, pre Title 9 pioneer, she led teams at both Flint Kearsley and Flint Holy Rosary to multiple state titles in three sports (Basketball, Volleyball, and Softball). The story of Jo Lake’s life is the stuff great screenplays are made of though. Her journey from mom and housewife, to nursing school, to becoming one of the most prolific coaches in Michigan High School athletics is one that can only be labeled as unlikely and amazing.  Her stat line includes leading Holy Rosary and Kearsley to eight state high school championships. In the 1975-76 school year, her Holy Rosary teams incredibly won state Class D titles in basketball, volleyball and softball. She also had two more state titles in each of those sports at Holy Rosary and two state Class A volleyball titles at Kearsley. In 1979, Lake was named National High School Volleyball Coach Of The Year. Sue Novara Reber - One of America’s greatest female cyclists, she was Senior Woman’s National Sprint Champion in 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980.  In 1982 she won the Senior Women’s Road National Championship. She also won three silver and four bronze medals in the Senior Women’s National Championships. She won seven Amateur Woman’s Sprint Championship medals: two gold, four silver, one bronze. She also served as coach of the USA Women’s National Team from 1986 to 1988. She was inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1991. Pam Stockton Brady - She is a member of the United States Badminton Hall of Fame, elected in 1981.Brilliant in every aspect of the game, she won twenty United States National Championships  between 1972 and 1985; four in singles, eleven in women's doubles, and five in mixed doubles.  She represented the USA in team matches including Uber Cup which was the women's world team in '71-'72, '77-'78, and '80-'81.  In 1981 and 1982 she teamed with husband Danny Brady, to win The United States national mixed doubles titles in 1981 and 1982. She only failed to win a National Championship once between 1965 and 1983 and that was 1975 when her daughter was born. It’s a run that has included dominating performances around the world in addition to the states, Canada, and South Africa including England, Germany, France, Denmark, Peru, Bermuda, Japan, New Zealand and many others. Linnell Jones McKenney- Flint’s first female professional basketball player, Senior Olympic Champion, local legend, and Italian athletic folk hero for scoring 84 points in a game in Italy, Jones-McKenney is a ground breaking, barrier shattering, positive force of pure energy. In 1980, Jones-McKenney qualified for the U.S. Olympics, but it was boycotted that year so she couldn’t compete. After college, she was drafted fourth overall in 1980 by the St. Louis Streaks of the Women’s Basketball League. She was named the Italian league’s Most Valuable Player three times, earned five All-Star nods, and scored 84 points in a single game.Although each has been on the show individually the synergy of all four in the same room, at the same time is nothing short of magic. It’s another one of those incredible moments that only happen in the Effervescent Aquarium of “Fish and The Flint Chronicles”!8/31/22You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
Growing up on Indiana Avenue on Flint’s East Side, Pete Flanders couldn’t have known that he would one day be a key associate of the Godfather of Soul James Brown. But he was.He couldn’t possibly have known he would be on the vanguard of Rock and Roll, Pop, and R & B music. But he was.​He couldn’t have known that he would enter his name on to the Mt. Rushmore of Flint radio. But he most certainly did. Pete’s time in radio included time at urban format WAMM in Flint, and an epic stint with WTAC when they were on the vanguard of the greatest rock and pop stations in the entire country. His personal work included time spent with Jackie Wilson, The Temptations, The MC5, and Flint’s own Rock and Roll Hall of Famer radio Kingpin of WTAC and WWCK Peter C. Cavanaugh. Pete also weighs in on the legendary story of Keith Moon of The Who and the ‘limo in the pool’ story. A longtime Flint businessman, Pete has owned Musical Memories on Dort Highway for years. He has more stories than we could possibly hope to fit in to a year of shows, so we tried to pick some of the best for his time in The Aquarium of Fish and The Flint Chronicles!​ Although we can only tell one chapter today…he shall return! This episode originally aired on October 26, 2022You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
He’s back! The ultimate “Fish and The Flint Chronicles” guest, Ernie Gilbert is back for another swim in the Aquarium. This time he’s right here on the bricks of Saginaw Street doing the show with his signature hat and grin. Ern is in town as the star attraction for a huge gig he’s doing at Churchills in Downtown Flint, so it’s a big Flint week for him.For those who don’t know our favorite guest, he’s a true blue Flintstone, born and bred on the East Side of Flint. He attended Washington Elementary, Whittier Junior High, and Flint Central High School. All schools now abandoned, which makes Ern’s visit all the more poignant. Not only is he a product of those schools, but he also stuck around and graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint just for good measure.Ernie’s success with shows like Nickelodeon’s Fairly Odd Parents, TUFF Puppy, and Puppy Dog Pals, are a sterling testament to his unique band of creativity, humor, and artistry. But despite all of this he surely hasn’t forgotten his roots. He gives a lot of shout outs to the important people in his life who helped elevate his self confidence to help him ascend to the top of a very tall mountain top in the entertainment industry.Among those names are a science teacher named Jack Wagner, and a theater and drama teacher named Martin Jennings. Getting his start as a ‘singing and dancing apprentice’ in the Flint Central production of “Babes in Arms’, a mere 40 years ago (EGAD!) was the catalyst to a whole lot of fun and success. There is plenty of fun in this episode including a one in a million break down of The Wizard of Oz that will be rank among the all time hits of “Fish and The Flint Chronicles”. As always it’s an eclectic, fun and ever - interesting cannonball in to the deep end of the Aquarium with Fish and Ern!This episode originally aired on April 20, 2022You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Vladamir Klitchko, Larry Holmes, George Foreman, and  Tyson Fury. Legendary names in sporting history. They come from different eras, races, creeds, religions, and nationalities. What they have in common is one thing- they were all boxings Heavyweight Champion of the World. The baddest man on the planet, and the most celebrated title in a sport that dominated the upper echelons of the world of athletics for most of the last century. That is a pretty unique group of men. And one of their members is a Flintstone. His name is Chris Byrd and he is a two time World Heavyweight Champion. He won his first WBO championship in 2002 over the undefeated Vitali Klitschko. Then in 2002 he beat Evander Holyfield for the IBF Heavyweight title for his second reign as world champ. He defended that title four times and was ranked in the top ten in the world from 1996 to 2003.​As an amateur fighter Byrd represented the United States at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games where he won the silver medal as a middleweight division. Beyond this he is also a three-time American National Champion , winning the light middleweight title in 1989, and the middleweight title in 1991 and 1992.In short, Chris is one of the greatest fighters America has ever produced with both multiple world titles, national championships, and an Olympic medal to boot.Undersized compared to most of his competition, Byrd’s body took a beating in the heavyweight division. After his career ended he faced a myriad of physical and mental challenges that exploded in Los Angeles one fateful day. His focus and drive as well as his innovative spirit lit the way to redemption and recovery. Today he works to help others grappling with outsized challenges. After all he did the same repeatedly and emerged as the greatest in the world. A true Flintstone story of toughness, resilience, and the attitude and heart of a champion. Former World Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd graces the Aquarium with his personal brand of power in this hard hitting episode of “Fish and The Flint Chronicles.”This episode originally aired on 9/21/2022.You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
Jim Abbott Olympic Gold MedalistPan American Games Gold MedalistSullivan Award WinnerGolden Spikes Award Winner3rd place in the Cy Young VotingFormer Major League Baseball PlayerNo Hit pitcher for the New York YankeesJimmy Abbott is back for a return visit with Fish and The Flint Chronicles. He was the very first guest on the show back in 2018, and it’s perfectly fitting to have him back again to talk about what he’s been up to and revisit some old stories. Fish and Jim go back to 1978 when they were playing baseball in Burroughs Park, Jim as a 10-year-old and Fish at 12. Literally no one could imagine how the rest of that baseball career would play out for Abbott. Jim’s story is well known to most Flintstones. He started playing Midget baseball with Grant Hamady at Kearsley Park, and quickly established himself as a premier pitcher. This was not unusual in the least. The fact that he was doing it with only one hand was. Born without a right hand, Abbott was already becoming a sensation. He followed that up by making Whittier Junior High’s baseball team as a 7th grader where he was playing with Fish again, backing him up in Centerfield, and was the teams fourth string pitcher. By 8th grade he was the starter, and a budding star in 9th grade. He made Flint Centrals varsity squad as a sophomore and was the star pitcher. By his senior year at Central he was hitting homers as a first baseman/pitcher, and throwing in the 90’s. He was virtually unhittable. Just for good measure he quarterbacked the Flint Central varsity football team in the the Michigan Class A State semi-finals narrowly losing (on a horrific officiating call no less). After high school he was offered a chance to play pro ball or go onto college, he chose the University of Michigan where he had a storied career. See the bullet points above for a quick rundown of all that he achieved after college. His career arc culminated with a no hitter in Yankee Stadium. Abbott co authored a terrific book about his life Imperfect: An Improbable Life, and a movie follows “Set Apart; The Jim Abbott Story” directed by fellow Flint Central Indian Mike Ramsdell. Both are outstanding. Jim is back to chat with Fish about some of those things, and a lot more. It’s a legends day here in The Aquarium of “Fish and The Flint Chronicles!”This episode originally aired on 11/3/21You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
“I was a 29-year-old heroin addict who had taken barbiturates and quaaludes like daily vitamins since I was in my teens, and I had done cocaine, LSD, and MDA hundreds of times. I had been a prostitute and a member of an Arizona biker gang, a member of a Chicago street gang, and a drug dealer. I had ridden in limousines and stayed in the finest hotels. I was an accomplished thief and a con artist, had beaten or outrun every charge ever made against me, gamed every system I came up against, and loved every minute of it.”            ----Angalia Bianca from her book, In Deep​If that first statement is eye opening, just know it’s only part of the story. Angalia's father was connected to the Chicago mob, “The Outfit”, she had a job on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and a then had a stint as a groupie staying with The Who and drummer Keith Moon, arguably the greatest rock drummer of all time.  She ran an internet porn empire from inside prison, conducted scam after scam, and witnessed two boyfriends shot to death right next to her, while another was nearly killed, and one was probably executed.  Through it all, she lived life wild, insane, but not on the edge. No, Angalia Bianca kept redefining what the edge even meant. Then she didn’t just cross it, she leaped over it,  did a double axel upside down spin move, and landed sideways in the abyss, then came up for more.Still, somehow she survived.If that was the whole story it would be a shocking one...but it’s not. Because she had an epiphany during one of her prison stays. When her dad died she realized that no one would mourn her death. She had done nothing for others. She had not earned that mourning. And with that understanding she never did another drug. She ended all scams and criminal activity. She got out of prison, and dedicated her life to helping others. She says, “I lived the first 50 years of my life for myself. I am living the rest of for everyone but myself.”To achieve this she is a dedicated violence interrupter, rehab expert, and life changer. This has been her life for the last 15 years. Her efforts have saved countless lives. Among her many accolades are recognition by Illinois state representative Kelly Cassidy for “ invaluable contributions to the community and the fight against violence.” Along with this is recognition from the Change Nations Global Leadership Award for her “exemplary leadership to empower all of mankind.”, appointment as a goodwill ambassador for the Golden Rule International, honorary ambassador to Burundi and representative to the United Nations. Angalia has been presented an honorary doctorate of philosophy in humanities, the Community Leadership Award from the Jane Addams College of Social Work and Policy Change for her “transition from prisoner to world crusader for youth.” She was also named National Association of Social Workers Public Citizen of the Year in 2017. Along the way she has stared down gang bangers, stopped murders, and personally intervened to save lives.Angalia travels worldwide to teach and reach people in fields as diverse as anti terrorism, trauma outreach, and especially addiction and recovery. This is what she is doing now in Flint, as well.We have told many tales in the Aquarium story factory production line of Fish and The Flint Chronicles, but few can ever rival the true life of Angalia Bianca. It’s one you won’t soon forget.This show originally aired on July 28, 2021.You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
Taylor is a champion. Yet, he's no ordinary champion. Sure, he's a boxing national title holder, and he has his sights set on a WBC World Title, currently ranked 13th in the world. But his fight is a lot bigger than that.​Taylor is a heroin addict. In fact, he's a already won the battle that few will ever win - he beat death. Not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times. Four times his heart has stopped beating from a heroin overdose. Four times he was clinically dead. Four times he was brought back to life. He has no fear in the ring, because as he puts it, he's "...already beaten death, and what's scarier than that?"Not only is this unlikely scenario part of his story, it's also part of a larger story of opioid addiction in America. It's a story that's been largely put on the back burner, time and again. There is always something more pressing, more urgent, more critical to the national dialogue than the opioid crisis. 2018 data shows that every day, 128 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total "economic burden" of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. ​From 1999–2018, an incomprehensible 450,000 people died from an overdose involving an opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids.Duerr has lost more friends from this scourge than most can grasp. It just isn't part of the normal human experience for most young, fit, athletic Americans. It's completely aberrant, except for those addicted or whom care for people who are. For them, it's just a typical circumstance. That’s an appallingly common tale that is told with consistent regularity among those who grapple with opioid addiction. In this episode, Duerr joins Fish and the crew to tell his story, and to offer hope and encouragement to those struggling, or have family or friends facing down an addiction. He's on a mission to let people know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it doesn't have to be a train. The reality is that the fight never ends for himself or others in the clutch of opioids. It respects neither race or class, age or fitness. Left unchecked it will kill you. It will ruin the lives of those who love you the most. To further publicize the depth and breadth of the crisis, Duerr’s life is being documented in an upcoming film by acclaimed filmmaker, Michael Ramsdell.  The film, titled ‘We Can Be Heroes,” is near completion.  Duerr hopes it will further awareness, and offer some real solutions, sympathy and understanding that can lead to change.In a world of heroes, there can be no greater heroic act than to salvage the life of someone you don't even know. Whether or not Taylor becomes a World Boxing Champion remains to be seen, but in telling his story, and living to fight this fight another day, he can do just that. In the end, a hero is as a hero does. We can all be heroes in this battle by taking action and helping where we can. Hopefully, this episode of "Fish and The Flint Chronicles" can reach at least one person currently in the ring with this killer, and make a difference. Here's a link to more information and assistance in Michigan: episode originally aired on January 22, 2020You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
Segment three of Fish's two hour show on Flint's music scene is an explosion of energy coming like a blow torch out of California in the persona of the legendary Peter C. Cavanaugh, Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame radio deejay. Cavanaugh's ebullient personality filled the airwaves of the Flint area for two decades.  Like a ringmaster, he hosted wild and infamous concerts held at local sites like Atwood Stadium, Sherwood Forest and Mt. Holly.  Acts that he worked with read like a who's who of rock 'n roll royalty included The Who, Grand Funk Railroad, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, KISS, and George Clinton with Parliament and the Funkadelics.  It's CRAZY.  His unbelievable and colorful stories keep you wanting more!  TIME IS WAAAAY TOO SHORT with Peter C.!"In Flint it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission."  --Peter C. CavanaughThis episode is one of the show's earliest, recorded at WFNT radio station in Flint, Michigan.  Fish is joined by co-host, Jim Hargrove, "The Voice of Reason".   Original air date March 13, 2019.You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
A real live Motown-to-Flint connection visits the studio! Flint's very own Norma Fairhurst, of the Velvelettes, dishes with Fish about Motown "in the day", Little Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Berry Gordy, and more, and how the Velvelettes got their start, and kept Motown in business early on.Norma went to both Flint Central and Southwestern, graduating from Southwestern.This is one of our earliest shows recorded at WFNT radio in Flint.  Fish is joined by co-host, Jim Hargrove, and a guy drilling on the roof.  Audio quality is a little suspect...This episode originally aired on January 16, 2018.You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
Kim Crawford discusses his book "The 16th Michigan Infantry", and it's a classic. Kim was here previously to talk about Jacob Smith, the first white settler and generally acknowledged founder of Flint, Michigan. Now, he moves us forward about 50 years to the American Civil War, and the role the 16th played. The story includes soldiers from around the state, but it all starts with Flintstone Colonel Thomas Stockton. It's a fascinating look at this incredibly historic unit, fighting a war whose outcome would shape the next century and a half. The characters in this drama represent some of the major players: Rebel Colonel James Longstreet, Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, American General U.S. Grant, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and President Abraham Lincoln. The story also includes some of the seminal events in American history, including the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, battles at Malvern Hill, and Fredricksburg.  Most famously of all all the battles they participated in, though, was a place called Gettysburg, on a hill called Little Round Top, where the fate of the Republic hung in the balance and relied, in part, on the actions of the Flintstone-founded men of the 16th Michigan. After the battle, President Lincoln delivered perhaps the great speech in American history, at an event commemorating the battle: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."It's almost too big to wrap your head around, but Kim does it with skill, grace, and a true historian's gift for story. It's a monumental tale, and book, and the storyteller is a 30-year veteran writer of The Flint Journal, Flint, and most especially our heritage. Fish and Kim break it down in an unforgettable way on this episode of "Fish and The Flint Chronicles". This episode originally aired on November 19, 2019You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
Growing up on the Eastside of Flint, David Blight never knew he would some day receive the literary world's highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize.  Now that he has, it all seems to make sense.  David learned how to tell a great story, understand different perspectives, and above all, keep it very real, while learning the ropes of life in Flint. He attended Potter Elementary, Lowell Junior High School, and Flint Central High School.  As a member of the the Flint Central basketball and baseball teams, he played with and against some of the best athletes the country had to offer.  He was good enough in baseball to warrant a full-ride scholarship to Michigan State University.​However, as fate would have it, education, not athletics, would be the future for David.  He started out by teaching at Flint Northern High School, while attending graduate school.  He later went on to earn a graduate degree, moving on to Amherst College, which then carried him on to his current role as Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University.  Along the way, he has authored seven books, participated in another, and garnered seven major writing awards.  No decoration was higher, however, than the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for History, earned for his most recent work, the magnificent "Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom". One of the narratives that Flint has, which is among the most cherished, is the idea that you can rise from nothing and achieve great things.  Humble backgrounds are no impediment to achievement, and in fact, often fuel success.  Resilience and determination alone are omnipotent among the legendary success stories of Flint's greatest achievers.  After being kicked out of GM, Billy Durant took his business back by inventing a new company from scratch (Chevrolet) which then purchased General Motors.  When Grand Funk Railroad’s music legend, Mark Farner, had only had his first six guitar lessons, his music teacher shot his own foot off in a hunting accident, forcing Farner to teach himself to play.  Major League pitcher, Sullivan and Golden Spikes Award winner, Olympic Gold medalist, and New York Yankee no hit pitcher, Jimmy Abbott, was born with only one hand. Boxer Anthony Dirrell overcame both cancer and a potentially career ending motorcycle accident to become the World Super Middleweight Champion. David was no exception to the “Flint Resiliency Factor”, as I call it. David came up at a time when a job in the 'shop' seemed like the logical choice, and growing up in a trailer park (American Trailer Park on Branch Road), on the Eastside wasn’t in the procedure manual for "How to Win The Pulitzer and Become a Yale History Professor” (well, frankly, is still isn’t).  In fact, it took a ton of determination to pursue his advanced degrees while simultaneously teaching in Flint during a tumultuous time (a time he still considers among his greatest accomplishments).  But he did it. His book on Douglass isn't just an historical masterwork, it's also an eminently readable and sublime example of superlative storytelling.  Given his accolades, there can be little doubt of the quality of his narrative and history telling sensibilities, but what's less known is the background that fed the talent.  Like most people who have grown up in Flint (and certainly for all alumni of the Old Eastside), he has a certain no-BS grit that breathes life in to his work.  If you're from here you know.  Now, because of people like Blight, millions of others around the world will know what that brand of art and talent looks like.  This show originally aired on June 19, 2019You can also visit this episode at Fish's website:
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