In 2022, the City of Hamtramck celebrates its centennial. On January 1 of that year, it also inaugurated a Yemeni immigrant as its first mayor who is not of Polish descent, as well as a completely Muslim city council, including a Polish American convert to Islam. Written by the last Polish mayor in that nearly hundred-year succession, this article combines history and personal experience while looking at the Polish dominance of local politics beginning with the ethnically charged decision to incorporate, continuing through the decades of Polish rule in relation to other ethnic and racial groups in the city, and chronicling the gradual unraveling of that power. While Hamtramck's experience is not unlike that of other former Polonian strongholds, it is also unique in its longevity and the symbolic significance it has come to embody through its very public demographic and political trajectory. This overview of the competition for elected office in Hamtramck provides a lens through which to view the ongoing transition of the city's civic identity.

You do not currently have access to this content.