Flint Michigan: True Stories from the Toughest Town in America

By David Fleet
Brandon Twp. — Gary Fisher is on a mission of truth about Flint.
“Louis Chevrolet was a real man and lived on Root Street in Flint; Billy Durant lived in Flint and really did invent General Motors; Kelly Johnson is the second most important person in aviation and he did attend Flint Central High School,” said Fisher. “That’s not my opinion, that’s just the way it is. It’s true.”
From 6:30-7:30 p.m., Oct. 16, the Brandon Township Public Library, 304 South St., will host True Stories from the Toughest Town in America by Gary Fisher, the President of the Genesee County Historical Society. Registration is required.
Flint is often perceived negatively in the headlines but the realities of the city are so much richer and more valuable than the tales of bad water and crime will ever explain.
Fisher is not out to combat closely held negative beliefs about Flint, he said.
“There’s no reason to attack it, it’s a waste of your time,” said Fisher. “That’s the way it is in America today. So when it comes to Flint, all I have to do is to tell the truth, that’s how you combat the negativity. And when I do, it really blows people’s minds.”
Fisher says the truth about Flint is not rooted in ideology at all, or in his perception of the truth, rather it’s factual. While historically Flint’s past includes a plethora success stories, today’s chapter continues.
“When I view the City of Flint, it’s not just a snapshot in time, it’s about where the people have lived, worked in or passed through, for better or worse that have contributed to the betterment of the community, state, country or world. It’s not about getting in the weeds, rather the goal is to create a positive perception and you can do that by telling the truth.”
Those truths are on several spheres and it’s not just General Motors, or manufacturing, rather it’s across a very large spectrum of human endeavors and the impact Flint has played is massively positive, he said.
People often just know part of the story, it’s often the negative side too, he said.
Fisher aims to convey a new and better understanding about a really important community with many local connections, a different perspective, and a better understanding of how a relatively small community can have such an influence on the world.
“Today, Flint is a story of innovation,” he said.
Fisher provided examples of leaders from Flint including one of the world’s top animators, Ernie Gilbert from the east side of Flint; Kevin Conroy, the chairman and CEO, Exact Sciences, (Cologuard) is a Flint native and the CEO of Lear Corporation Ray Scott is from Flint, just to name a few.
“The influence continues today,” he said. “At the end of the day, you can’t complain about people getting the narrative wrong if you don’t correct the record. Then people can decide for themselves. It’s not to rehabilitate the things that occurred over the last six months or five years ago, it’s more about the big picture. How important this area has been to the world on so many levels.”

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