Various media sources have been explored to understand the transmission of the story of human patterns over time, across Detroit. Media helps the story ebb and flow, change directions and evolve. Two media vehicles were explored, those characterized as academic to include books, conference papers & proceedings, dissertations & theses, scholarly journals, working papers; and those characterized as non-academic to include audio & video works, blogs, podcasts, & websites, historical newspapers, historical periodicals, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets & ephemeral works.
Detroit, like many American cities was undergoing rapid demographic transformations as early as the 1940’s and 1950’s. One was the flight of jobs, capital flight; second, is persistent racial discrimination in the workplace; and third, residential segregation by race (Sugrue, 1999). The city was, in the 1940s, a symbol of American industrial power at its peak. Already majestic architecture was outlining the horizon and from buildings such as The Detroit News Building, Detroit Station 8MK was broadcasting regularly scheduled radio programs. Since 1920 the words, “This is 8MK calling” were spoken across the airwaves, followed by The Lone Ranger in 1933 and in 1938: Orson Wells famous War of the Worlds.
During World War II Detroit was the pinnacle of American power and often referred to the arsenal of democracy. The Oral History Collection at the Walter P. Reuther Library contains living testimonies of men and women reflecting on the social forces taking place around them as they anticipate the rise of the working class and the United Auto Worker’s Union.
Number of Occurrences in Non-Academic Writing by Subject
Sugrue, T. J. (2005) The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.