|Birth: ||Jun. 16, 1928|
|Death: ||Nov. 27, 1979|
Jerome P. Cavanagh, born in Detroit, June 16, 1928, was the Mayor of Detroit from 1962-1970. The victory was a complete upset against the incumbent, Louis Miriani, and at the time, Cavanagh was the youngest person to ever be elected to this office at only 33 years of age. In 1966, he ran for US Senator but lost to G. Mennen Williams in the primary. Williams, himself a former governor and Ambassador, subsequently went on to lose to Robert Griffin in the general election. During his Administration, Mayor Cavanagh was featured across the country in many publications, including Time, Newsweek and Life, and he also appeared on numerous national television programs, including "Meet the Press", for his expertise in urban affairs. He was dubbed one of the "Outstanding 100 People in the US" and many experts thought he might become President some day. Mayor Cavanagh had close friendships with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and with members of Congress. He used those relationships as a means for acquiring considerable financial help to rebuild and develop Detroit into what was soon to be called the "Model City". Detroit became the benchmark for cities across the country and demonstrated that urban renewal was, in fact, extremely doable and successful in restoring vibrancy to urban areas.
In addition, having secured the overwhelming majority of the black vote in his first election, it was natural that this very affable and unprejudiced man would later become the first national Mayor to not only allow, but join Martin Luther King, Jr. in staging a March in a major city. It was held in 1963 and led down Woodward avenue, the largest avenue in the city. He was also the first Detroit Mayor to appoint blacks to his administration, hiring Alfred Pelham, a Harvard educated black, as the City Controller, and many others afterwards and was a first in all matters, too many to enumerate, concerning racial equality. Despite the successes his programs achieved, he was still not able to stem the riot that engulfed Detroit in 1967. Despite his pleas for immediate help from the Federal government, politics delayed the sending in of troops until the riot was well under way. By that time, it was too late to stop it from becoming one of the worst race riots in US history.
Following the end of his second term in 1970, he maintained a successful law practice in Detroit. In 1974, he again ran for political office, running for Governor, but was unsuccessful. Health problems and the crushing experience of seeing all of his effort "go up in smoke" in the catastrophic riot in 1967, eventually led to his early death in 1979 at the age of 51 while visiting a law client in Lexington, KY. During the days following his death, flags were flown at half staff and his funeral was one of the largest in Detroit history. He was later posthumously honored by having the North Wing of the Detroit Institute of Arts named after him.
At the time of his death, he left a wife, their adopted child, and eight children from his first marriage to Mary Helen Cavanagh, nee Martin.
Mount Elliott Cemetery
Created by: Marcus Aurelius
Record added: Jul 07, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14849524