Old photographs of Detroit during the early 1940s

Thirty vivid, over-sized black-and-white photographs from the Library of Congress show Detroit in the 1940s. Full-screen scenes include vintage vehicles, fashion, hairstyles, a Crawley-Milner department store, Cunningham's drugs, a streetcar, Chrysler's tank assembly workers, the tense integration of the Sojourner Truth Homes federal housing project in 1942 and five of the June 1943 riots. Images appear. ,

The early part of the 20th century saw the city of Detroit, Michigan prominently on the massive growth of the auto industry and related manufacturers.

The 1940s were a booming year of growth, but the decade was full of upheaval and change, as factories were remodeled to manufacture war machines, and women began to replace men in the workplace , because the men were sent overseas to fight in World War II.

The need for workers brought an influx of African-Americans to Detroit, who faced stiff resistance from whites who refused to welcome them into their neighborhoods or work next to them on the assembly line.

The Detroit riots (June 20–22) killed 34 people – 25 African Americans, nine during the U.S.'s raging war effort, sparked minor clashes amid aggressive white resistance from black workers who flocked to the city's factories. White - Hundreds were injured and damaged and property worth millions destroyed.

Furthermore, street violence at home exposed how thin the veneer of "general purpose" really was in some sections of society, even as Americans were fighting and dying overseas.

Just one example of the nation's racially charged hostility: In the spring of 1943, more than 20,000 white workers at a Detroit plant that produced engines for bombers and PT boats protested the promotion of a small handful of black workers. Hardly a protest of a nation joining together to fight a common enemy.

After World War II ended, demand for workers dried up, and Detroit began plotting its post-war course, an era of accommodating large automobiles and large highways.

At its peak population of 1,849,568, in the 1950 census, the city was the 5th largest city in the United States after New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

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