Louis Miriani

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Louis Miriani
Louis Miriani Mayor of Detroit.jpg
63rd Mayor of Detroit
In office
September 12, 1957 – January 2, 1962
Preceded by Albert E. Cobo
Succeeded by Jerome Cavanagh
Personal details
Born January 1, 1897
Detroit, MI
Died October 18, 1987(1987-10-18) (aged 90)
Pontiac, Michigan
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Vera M. Miriani
Children Dolores Jean Deziel
Carol Abigail Miriani
Alma mater University of Detroit
Profession Lawyer, Politician

Louis C. Miriani (January 1, 1897 – October 18, 1987) was an American politician who served as mayor of Detroit, Michigan (1957–62).


Miriani graduated from the University of Detroit Law School.[1] He was chief counsel and later director of the Detroit Legal Aid Bureau.[1] He was elected to the Detroit City Council in 1947, and was council president from 1949–1957.[2] He became Mayor in 1957 after the death of Albert Cobo,[3] and was elected in his own right shortly afterward by a 6:1 margin over his opponent.[4] Miriani was best known for completing many of the large-scale urban renewal projects initiated by the Cobo administration, and largely financed by federal money. Miriani also took strong measures to overcome the growing crime rate in Detroit.[5] The United Automobile Workers (UAW), then at the height of its size and power, officially endorsed Miriani for reelection, stressing his conservative "law and order" position. However, Blacks disagreed with the UAW about Miriani and generally opposed him.[6][7]

He served until he was defeated for reelection in 1961 by Jerome Cavanagh, in an upset fueled largely by African-American support for Cavanagh.[8] Under Miriani's administration, Detroit's Cobo Hall and other parts of the Civic Center were completed, and the city's infrastructure was expanded.[1] He was again elected to the City Council in 1965.[1]

In 1969, Miriani was convicted of federal tax evasion of $261,000 and served 294 days in prison.[1] He retired from politics after his conviction.[1]

Miriani died after a long illness on October 18, 1987 in Pontiac, Michigan.[1] To date, Miriani remains the last Republican mayor of Detroit.

Political offices
Preceded by
Albert E. Cobo
Mayor of Detroit
September 12, 1957 – January 2, 1962
Succeeded by
Jerome Cavanagh


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Louis C. Miriani, 90, Former Detroit Mayor". New York Times. October 21, 1987. 
  2. ^ "Detroit City Council, 1919 to present". Detroit Public Library. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Detroit's Mayor Cobo, 63, Dies of Heart Attack". Ludington Daily News. Sep 13, 1957. 
  4. ^ "Detroit Elects First Negro". Ludington Daily News. Nov 5, 1957. 
  5. ^ Alan DiGaetano, "Urban political regime formation: A study in contrast." Journal of Urban Affairs 11.3 (1989) pp: 261-281.
  6. ^ David M. Lewis-Colman, Race against liberalism: Black workers and the UAW in Detroit (University of Illinois Press, 2008).
  7. ^ Cornelius C. Thomas, "The Trade Union Leadership Council: Black Workers Respond to the United Automobile Workers, 1957-1967." New Politics 10.2 (2005): 124.
  8. ^ Joseph Turrini (Nov–Dec 1999). "Phooie on Louie: African American Detroit and the Election of Jerry Cavanagh" (PDF). Michigan History. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Sugrue, Thomas J. "Crabgrass-roots politics: Race, rights, and the reaction against liberalism in the urban North, 1940-1964." Journal of American History (1995): 551-578. in JSTOR
  • Sugrue, Thomas J. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (2005)