During the darker days of our Great Nation's racial relations, the auto industry was among the first to offer more widespread opportunity to people of color. The auto industry was like a beacon, providing the prospect for improved quality of living and quality of life to hundreds of thousands moving from the rural South. They became part of The Great Migration moving north to staff a growing industrial base and a thriving auto industry. And the multiplier effect created scores of additional jobs as the supplier industry grew
along with the vehicle manufacturers. In the Motor City alone, it is estimated that 400,000 African Americans left the South to make up the labor shortages left in the wake of World War I. In 1910, Detroit's African-American population on was 6,000. By 1929, the Great Migration from the South, coupled with immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe, turned the Motor City into the fourth largest city in the United States.
Opportunity knocked in the form of Our great industry - first in the form of solid, good-paying jobs as laborers. The opportunities grew exponentially as laborers became technicians, then engineers, supervisors, managers, and ultimately, the top leadership, board members and entrepreneurs running or owning many of our companies. Many of us are direct products of the chances the industry provided to us. Sometimes we were not the first consideration; often we were not the first choice for a particular assignment. But the Opportunities in the industry gave us new choices and more choices than our parents and grandparents had.
In developing this chronicle of achievement, we are continually impressed and overwhelmed by the character of the people we encounter; and are amazed by the number of African-Americans who sit on the boards of directors for this industry 's most prominent players. Through these pages you will meet some of these titans and learn of their ongoing accomplishments.
This edition of DRlVEN® also pays special tribute to the women in automotive who have overcome great odds to leave their mark on the historically male-dominated industry. These women are icons for future generations and emerging leaders.
The stories you will read are inspirational and uplifting. The professionals profiled in the book represent an intricate and impressive mosaic of success in an industry where the African-American contribution has been all but redacted.
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