About The Film

DETROIT 48202: CONVERSATIONS ALONG A POSTAL ROUTE explores the rise, demise and contested resurgence of America’s “motor city” through a multi-generational choir of voices who reside in mail carrier Wendell Watkins’ work route. 


Archival footage and oral histories convey the impetus behind the African-American migration up north to push against the boundaries of racial and economic segregation. The testimonials of Wendell’s neighbors and friends shed light on the impacts of redlining and the fight for housing justice, the legacy of industrial and political disinvestment, the fragility of Black home-ownership as impacted by the mortgage and financial crisis, and a confluence of events and failed policies that resulted in Detroit’s bankruptcy.  Legendary labor organizer, General Baker, Historian Thomas Sugrue, and Urban Planner June Manning Thomas,  provide additional analysis and historical context…


Pam Sporn

director & producer

Pam Sporn is a Bronx based documentary filmmaker, educator, and activist. She loves listening to people tell stories about standing up to injustice in their own unique, subtle, and not so subtle, ways. A pioneer in bringing social issue documentary making into NYC high schools in the 1980s and 1990s,..


DETROIT 48202: CONVERSATIONS ALONG A POSTAL ROUTE will be featured in the Better Cities Film Festival which runs from October 8 – 11, 2020. Originally scheduled to take place in Detroit in collaboration with Cinema Detroit, the festival is now virtual. Unfortunately we won’t physically be in the “D,” but now more people can see Wendell and friends during the 4 days of the festival. For tickets, click here.

And, remember to check out the 89-page Detroit 48202 Teacher’s Guide, that includes 13 chapters with short readings, maps, graphs, and activities to accompany the film. You can access the Teacher’s Guide on the Resources page of this website. For classroom use, educator’s should order the film from New Day Films.

Wishing all safety and health.




Film Stills