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,..


We received tremendous reviews after the encore broadcast of DETROIT 48202 on America Reframed on Jan. 11. One viewer tweeted: “Best movie about Detroit I ever saw.” Another said: “Wonderful. Wendell is so infectiously positive, generous, and smart. He did something really important with this film.” In an email, a viewer wrote: “…my heart is full, my spirit is moved, I’m feeling pangs of righteous anger.” The person continued: “I’ve downloaded the incredible, thorough Teachers’ Guide. What a gift it is.”

To order the film for classroom or public event use, visit our distributor: New Day Films. DETROIT 48202 is also available on Kanopy and Vimeo VOD.




Film Stills