Before The Riot

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Pechakucha (20 slides @ 20 seconds each) PowerPoint describing Detroit\'s economic conditions after WWII, but before the riot of 1967.

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Before The Riot

  1. 1. Good Morning. My name is Bob Moreo, and my presentation today is about the economic factors that led to the deindustrialization of Detroit in the period between the end of World War II and the 12th Street riot that took place in the early morning hours of July 23rd, 1967. 1
  2. 2. At the end of World War II, employment and population were still largely concentrated in the central City of Detroit, as seen in the top-left image, but the City was filling out as the population increased. The bottom-left image shows that the inner city was losing residents between 1920 and 1940 as the outer-lying areas gained. 2
  3. 3. Established industrial areas along the railroad corridors were running out of room to expand. The upper image shows the industrialized areas and rail lines in conjunction with the proposed freeway system in 1944. The lower image shows the location of factories and plants with over 100 employees. 3
  4. 4. This is the Dodge Main plant, on the Hamtramck / Detroit border, in the 1940s. It was a 67-acre site which included power generation, forging, stamping, assembly and paint facilities. Note the typical multi-story construction of the buildings, as well as the density of the surrounding neighborhoods. 4
  5. 5. The most important force to restructure the postwar economy in Detroit was the advent of industrial automation. Promising both to increase output and reduce labor costs, the auto companies began automating existing facilities in the 1940s. As an example, employment at Ford’s Rouge Complex declined from 85,000 people in 1945 to only 30,000 in 1960. 5
  6. 6. Prior to World War II, most industry was located along railroads or bodies of water, in order to transport raw materials and finished goods. The Davison Expressway and Detroit Industrial Expressway were constructed in 1942 to better allow employees to work in the wartime factories. The Lodge Freeway would be constructed between 1953 and 1964. 6
  7. 7. (read fast!) The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 authorized the construction of the Interstate Highway System. The Detroit Industrial Expressway became I-94, and extended to Harper Woods by 1959. In 1964 the Chrysler portion of I-75 tore through the East Side, and the Southfield Freeway divided the West Side. Planned connections to mass transit would never materialize, as streetcar service ended in 1956. 7
  8. 8. In addition to the new expressways under construction, the Federal Housing Act of 1949 laid the financial groundwork for a residential exodus to Detroit’s suburbs. The Act authorized slum clearance programs, and provided for FHA mortgage insurance. Both private and government lending standards favored new construction and racially homogenous neighborhoods. 8
  9. 9. When automotive production resumed after World War II, Packard struggled to regain the luxury reputation it had before the War. Slow to retool, it soon lagged far behind the powerful Big Three. As fellow independents Nash and Hudson merged to form American Motors, Packard bought out Studebaker. The merger failed, and the famed Packard Plant closed in 1956. 9
  10. 10. While Packard was failing, Ford spent $2.5 billion expanding production across the country. Production was up 34% from pre-war figures, and would increase again nearly 70% by 1967. It had become necessary for automakers to produce vehicles closer to where they would be sold. Additionally, greater dispersion of workers lessened the ability of the UAW to organize. 10
  11. 11. Several suburban Detroit Ford facilities opened during this time period. Some of this production was transferred from the Rouge Complex, which employed a large number of Black workers who couldn’t buy homes in these suburbs, and had great difficulty getting these jobs. The total acreage of these new plants is nearly twice that of the Rouge Complex itself. In 1967, Ford captured 24% of the automotive market. 11
  12. 12. By virtue of its various acquisitions, General Motors was already a widely-dispersed organization at the time of World War II. With nearly half of all autos made in the country coming from GM, they had the resources to build several new plants around the country and in Canada. 12
  13. 13. With little actual production in the City of Detroit – Clark Street Cadillac being the most significant – General Motors developed new postwar factories farther north around its Flint operations, and unveiled the Eero Saarinen designed Tech Center in Warren. 13
  14. 14. While Chrysler’s available finances for expansion were less than their rivals’, the company still spent $700 million on new plants during this time frame. New facilities were constructed in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Delaware and Ontario, Canada. Chrysler would hold 15% of the US automotive market. 14
  15. 15. Chrysler was the most invested in the City of Detroit of the Big Three. In the 1950s & 60s, in addition to new facilities in Warren, Trenton and Sterling Heights, Chrysler invested in four factories within Detroit city limits. Dodge Main remained open until 1979. And while the automakers dominated the local economy, other industries suffered postwar setbacks… 15
  16. 16. In the early 1950s, Detroit’s Hudson’s store was the 2nd largest in the country – behind only Macy’s in New York City. It employed over 12,000 people at its peak. Due to increasing unemployment, sales declined after 1953. Theft was a major problem. With the company’s investments in suburban malls, the downtown store continued to decline. 16
  17. 17. J.L Hudson Company opened Northland Center in Southfield in 1954. Seven more shopping centers, or “malls”, would be open in Suburban Detroit by 1967: Eastland in Harper Woods, Wonderland in Livonia, Pontiac Mall in Waterford, Macomb Mall in Roseville, Universal Mall in Warren, Livonia Mall, and Westland Center. 17
  18. 18. Another major industry on the decline was stovemaking. Founded in 1864, the Detroit – Michigan Stove Company was bought out in 1955. The company once occupied 23 buildings, but they were shut down in 1957. At the peak of production in 1922, there were five major stove companies in Detroit, producing over 400,000 stoves that year. 18
  19. 19. After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, there were no fewer than 10 significant breweries operating in Detroit. Through a series of closings and acquisitions, only Stroh’s and Altes remained in Detroit in 1967. Altes would close up and move to Baltimore in the ‘70s. 19
  20. 20. Many who are unfamiliar with the history of Detroit believe that the violence of 1967 began the downward spiral of population and job loss that has left Detroit in the condition it is in today. In closing, I hope I have shown that by 1967 there had been a number of economic factors throughout the previous twenty years that had caused both jobs and people to leave the City. 20

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