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The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford
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The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford

Beth Tompkins Bates


In the 1920s, Henry Ford hired thousands of African American men for his open-shop system of auto manufacturing. This move was a rejection of the notion that better jobs were for white men only. This book explains how black Detroiters, newly arrived from the South, seized the economic opportunities offered by Ford in the hope of gaining greater economic security. As these workers came to realize that Ford's anti-union “American Plan” did not allow them full access to the American Dream, their loyalty eroded, and they sought empowerment by pursuing a broad activist agenda. This, in turn, led th ... More

Keywords: Henry Ford, African American men, open-shop system, black Detroiters, auto manufacturing, economic security, American Plan, American Dream, United Auto Workers, Ku Klux Klan

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780807835647
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014 DOI:10.5149/9780807837450_bates


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Beth Tompkins Bates, author