Sunday, July 21, 2013

Your FSA/OWI Photo of the Day

By popular request, a picture in honor of Detroit. This shot is rich in history and perhaps some irony. Ford Motor Co. was a notoriously brutal union-buster. The UAW gained recognition at GM and then Chrysler in 1937, but it was not until 1941 that they succeeded at Ford. Meanwhile, partly as a means of dividing and conquering, Ford earned a reputation as a major employer of African-American workers. Fortunately the UAW recognized the virtue in and necessity of cross-racial worker solidarity.

Detroit, Michigan. Ford workers carrying American flag and union banners in the Labor Day parade. Arthur S. Siegel, 1942.


  1. So the UAW needed to witness African American hires by Ford to fully appreciate and appropriate the same status held by white workers to their black counterparts?

  2. The UAW and the CIO more generally were on the whole pretty racially progressive, even before Ford. They recognized that organizing the industrial masses would require inclusion rather than exclusion, such as the craft unions had practiced. Also, even the more mainstream CIO leadership recognized that they had to compete with more radical elements, i.e. the communists/ popular front, who advocated racial equality.