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The Enormous Historical Success of the American

Nevertheless, the UAW was able to recruit union men from Detroit and Akron into Flint, Mich., to make a show of solidarity during the sit-down strikes of 1936, and Michigan's then governor "refused to send troops to dislodge the sit-downers" (Leuchtenburg, 1963, p. 242). Meanwhile, Ford continued to employ Bennett's services, firing some 4,000 workers for union activity between 1937, when GM had recognized the union, and 1941, when the Ford plants were unionized after a strike.

Strikebreaking included recruitment of African Americans from the South. Henry Ford made a project of recruiting blacks to deliberately divide racial attitudes within his work force. Thus some whites viewed African Americans as a "scab race" (Norwood, 2002) depriving whites of their jobs, especially during the Great Depression, when Ford decreased daily wages from $7 to $4 per day. Such attitudes had long been in place by 1941, when blacks accounted for 11% of the Ford workforce (Norwood, 2002), and in 1942, when they attempted to obtain fair housing (Shabazz, 1995).

Black migration from the South to the North, especially to urban centers like Detroit, occurred during World War I and World War II, when military recruitment fostered significant labor shortages and black migration northward (Larson, 1992). However, housing segregation in Detroit, plus residual white feelings against blacks as strikebreakers, came to a head in 1943, with a race riot that involved whites attacking blacks and blacks responding, and blacks attacking and looting whites' property (Capeci & Wilkerson, 1991). According to Betty Shabazz, who grew up in Detroit, the 1943 riot started from "rumors of white and black people killing or injuring each other. This escalated to a destructive riot in which 34 persons were killed, more than 461 injured and over a million man hours lost" (Shabazz, 1995, p. 62).

One outgrowth of the 1943 riot was a new spirit of racial mobilization among blacks ...

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