Trapped Between Pain and Agony

When Coleman Alexander Young laughs, as he often does, his face crinkles into a wide grin and his shoulders shake gently. But Detroit's Democratic mayor has little to be cheerful about these days. Hit by one of the deepest recessions since the 1930s, the Motor City has an unemployment rate of 16% and faces a deficit of $120 million this year. Admits Young, 63, with typical bluntness: "Detroit is in deep trouble."

The city already seemed beyond redemption in 1973 when Young, pitted against a white law-and-order Republican in a hard-fought campaign, squeaked into city hall with only 12,000 votes to spare....

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