Warren, G. C., Katz, C., & Heynen, N. (2019). Myths, cults, memories, and revisions in radical geographic history: revisiting the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute. Spatial Histories of Radical Geography: North America and Beyond, 59-85.
The power of myth to take on important political meaning while at the same time obscuring embodied historical geographies lurks everywhere. The mythic status of John Henry, when mobilized by Pete Seeger for instance, was used as a symbol for labor struggles across the U.S. Given the positive portrayal of his racialized might and power, so rarely valorized in mainstream U.S. culture, John Henry’s strength and perseverance were mobilized symbolically in the freedom marches of the civil rights movement. This chapter shows how myths about radical praxis can play tricks with history and geography, wherein some people and places acquire cultish status while others are eclipsed with profound impacts on our understanding of the discipline and its community engagements. It focuses on the basics of the popular, mythological, version of the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute and Fitzgerald as has been articulated within radical history. The DGEI.