Workers in Ford Rouge Plant Cyanide Foundry, 1931

Summary

By 1931, Ford Motor Company was the largest employer of African-American workers in the country. Henry Ford was closely tied to leaders in Detroit's African-American community, especially with the pastors of two of the city's largest churches, Rev. Robert Bradby of 2nd Baptist and Rev. Everard Daniel of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. Through these men, many recent arrivals were directed to the Ford Employment Office. Although Ford employed large numbers of African Americans, there were limits to how far most could advance. Many African-American workers spent their time in lower paying, dirty, dangerous, and unhealthy jobs in places like this Cyanide Foundry that used potassium cyanide, a key material in hardening steel.

By 1931, Ford Motor Company was the largest employer of African-American workers in the country. Henry Ford was closely tied to leaders in Detroit's African-American community, especially with the pastors of two of the city's largest churches, Rev. Robert Bradby of 2nd Baptist and Rev. Everard Daniel of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. Through these men, many recent arrivals were directed to the Ford Employment Office. Although Ford employed large numbers of African Americans, there were limits to how far most could advance. Many African-American workers spent their time in lower paying, dirty, dangerous, and unhealthy jobs in places like this Cyanide Foundry that used potassium cyanide, a key material in hardening steel.

Artifact

Photographic print

Date Made

10 February 1931

Subject Date

10 February 1931

Collection Title

General Photographs Series 

 On Exhibit

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Object ID

64.167.833.P.55880

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company.

Material

Linen (Material)
Paper (Fiber product)

Technique

Gelatin silver process

Color

Black-and-white (Colors)

Dimensions

Height: 8 in

Width: 11 in

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