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While Motown songs by the likes of the Four Tops, the Supremes, and the Temptations may now be perceived by mainstream America as universal pop that could have come from anywhere, Detroit-born George Mason history professor Suzanne E. Smith knows better. Her talk “Motown and the Motor City” previews her forthcoming book focusing on the relationship between Berry Gordy’s company, the cultural politics of Detroit, and the civil rights movement. The musical side of her research traces how former Ford assembly-line worker Gordy applied the design and manufacturing lessons he learned while putting cars together to produce the brilliantly simple melodies that would dance out of those car radios for years to come. At 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, James Madison Building, 1st & Independence Ave. SE. FREE. (202) 707-1848. (Steve Kiviat)