This Americana

is a series of speakers and conversations centered around history, culture, and the ideas that shape us as a community. The War Memorial presents both nationally-known and local speakers, exploring the important issues facing our families and region.


Suicide: The Silent Epidemic. What Do We Know? What Can We Do?

Featuring the documentary film Death is Not the Answer

September 27, 2017

Free; registration is required

Join The Family Center and Kevin's Song as we present the documentary film Death is Not the Answer, directed by award-winning filmmaker Keith Famie and inspired by and executive produced by Kevin's Song, a charitable organization for suicide awareness and prevention started by Grosse Pointe residents, Gail and John Urso, who lost their son, Kevin, to suicide.

The film delves deeply into the complex and often misunderstood world of depression and suicide. It unearths the roots of depression and explores the reasons for suicidal tendencies through personal stories, as well as through scientific reasoning.

A panel of film members will discuss suicide awareness and answer questions from the audience following the film.


Richard Allison

Begging for Chocolates: A Story of WWII Italy

Veterans Day
November 11, 2017

11am, followed by a book signing
Free — pre-registration is requested
Copies of Begging for Chocolates will be available for purchase

Italy, 1944. The Allies are bogged down in mud, snow, and ice before the formidable Nazi Gothic Line — and the Italian natives are desperate. Richard Allison uses previously unpublished letters, journals, and other sources to tell the story of the military, political, and espionage efforts by the Western Allies that culminated in the early surrender of Axis forces in all of Italy on May 2, 1945.

Mr. Allison is a Navy JAG captain and retired bank trust lawyer, who started his reserve military career in 1968 as a line officer aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid.


Dr. Gary Dorrien

The Radical King: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Social Gospel

December 2, 2017

12:30pm VIP reception
2pm main event
General admission: $25

VIP admission: $50, including a reception with Dr. Dorrien, a hosted bar, and hors d'oeuvres
Both ticket levels include open seating at the main event

The Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s left a lasting impact on how our society addresses racial injustices. With noteworthy leaders such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the helm, the movement has influenced generations of social justice advocates. But what influenced the Civil Rights Movement?

Renowned social ethicist  Gary Dorrien explores this theme in his appearance at The War Memorial. The Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University, Prof. Dorrien is an Episcopal priest, lifelong athlete, and the author of numerous books and articles that range across the fields of ethics, social theory, theology, philosophy, politics, and history. Philosopher Cornel West — who appeared at The War Memorial last April — describes him as “the preeminent social ethicist in North America today.”