Looking back at Nelson Mandela's Detroit visit - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Looking back at Nelson Mandela's Detroit visit

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(12/05/13) - It was a moment in Michigan's history, a rare chance to see Nelson Mandela in person more than two decades ago.

Those who were part of it say hearing him speak was a moving, powerful experience. And hundreds from Flint and Saginaw piled onto buses to see him in Detroit and hear his inspirational speech.

In 1990, Mandela stopped in Detroit. He chose the motor city for its rich union history. Mandela also had the chance to meet civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

He also said the sounds of Motown inspired him during his time in prison.

"This is probably the most moving, the most electrifying thing, most fulfilling event I've experienced in all my life," said Representative Woodrow Stanley, in 1990 at Tigers Stadium at Mandela's speaking event.

More than 200 people made their way to Detroit from mid-Michigan to see Mandela speak.

"Brother, brother, there's far too many of you dying," said Mandela in 1990, quoting Marvin Gaye.

Mandela said the sounds of Motown inspired him during his 27 years in jail.

In Flint, we sat down with Pastor Lewis Randolph, head of Concerned Pastors for Social Action.

He says he often draws inspiration from Mandela in his sermons.

"He was an inspiration to all men, his fellow country men, even here in America," Randolph said.

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