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.
With the wind at their backs : migration to Detroit -- Henry Ford ushers in a new era for Black workers -- The politics of inclusion and the construction of a new Detroit -- Drawing the color line in housing, 1915-1930 -- The politics of unemployment in depression-era Detroit, 1927-1931 -- Henry Ford at a crossroads : Inkster and the Ford Hunger March -- Behind the mask of civility: Black politics in Detroit, 1932-1935 -- Charting a new course for Black workers -- Black workers change tactics, 1937-1941.