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The Papa WAS Project and Detroit Bass Day

August 27, 2022

On August 27, 2022, Detroit Bass Day celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Motown hit "Papa was a Rollin' Stone." A number one hit by The Temptations in 1972, the song features an immortal and driving bass line, which 50 bassists played on the Motown Museum Plaza. The song's powerful narrative about family responsibility has inspired the Papa WAS project, which invited participants to share their perspectives, personal narratives and spoken word poetry about fatherhood. The project continues to collect and post stories about fathers; the story collection is archived on the ENGAGE website. "The Bass Day celebration demonstrated the power of music to build community. The spoken word poetry was epic - weaving history, memory and emotion into a tribute for the contribution fathers make to their families. It was a joy and a privilege to have been a part of this amazing cultural event," said Professor Richard Tolman.

"I believe that the greatest challenge living through our culture and society is ontological. That is understanding ourselves in relation to systems aimed at denying the most fundamental parts of who we are. Until we understand these systems, we will inevitably transmit pain to the next generation, including our children." said Markus Hicks, MSW student.

The Papa WAS project is spearheaded by Professor Rich Tolman and sponsored by the School of Social Work.

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