For decades Detroit has been the center of the automotive industry in the United States, and was the destination of many black migrants in the early 50’s and 60’s. The factories provided jobs that allowed black men and women with little education to pay for their families in sustainable and even upwardly mobile ways. As late as the mid-nineties, I can remember guys I was growing up with telling me that college was a waste of time because they could make good money working in the factories like their fathers had.
As such, when the economy crashed last year–and took the automotive industry with it–Detroit, and the black people who inhabit the city (Detroit is 81% black), were especially hard hit. With a 22% unemployment rate in the City of Detroit alone (the State of Michigan unemployment rate is 15.2%), the circumstances become more dire daily.