“The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford” by Beth Tompkins Bates

http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/10078.html

In the 1920s, Henry Ford hired thousands of African American men for his open-shop system of auto manufacturing. In The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford, Beth Tompkins Bates 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 them to play a pivotal role in the United Auto Workers’ challenge to Ford’s interests. In the process, Henry Ford and his company helped kindle the civil rights movement in Detroit without intending to do so.