The dramatic story of racial attitudes and political strategies that set the stage for the historic riot of 1943

Race Relations in Wartime Detroit

The Sojourner Truth Housing Controversy, 1937-1942

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Dominic J. Capeci, Jr.

"Detroit is a wonderfully thorough compendium of urban inequality. It should quickly establish itself as the definitive study for Detroit-area planners and policy makers. For teachers and students in the Detroit metropolitan region, this book will prove invaluable as a reference text. The quantitative data are presented with minimal, but appropriate, statistical analysis, helpful maps, and well-organized tables. The case studies of struggle for school and housing integration make up some of the most readable sections of the book and power structure research methods are sure to shed new light on such development projects as the Renaissance Center."
Contemporary Sociology

As the nation shifted from the Depression to the second world war, federal involvement in urban affairs was increasing, war service was raising black expectation, and the city of Detroit was at a turning point in its socioeconomic and political development. A controversy over a defense housing tract built for black workers and named for the black abolitionist Sojourner Truth brought into focus the conflict and complex interacting between the races, the white immigrant workers, and the local and federal government. The dramatic story of racial attitudes and political strategies during this five-year period sets the stage for the historic riot of 1943.



"The book offers fine treatments of the rise of black political power, of the efforts to rejuvenate downtown and the waterfront, and of the debt of the city in efforts to acquire new industrial and service-oriented development.... Overall, Detroit ably achieves the goals of the series. The perspective is truly interdisciplinary, reflecting the authors' backgrounds. It is a thoroughly enjoyable geography, in the best sense of the word, of the Detroit metropolitan region."
Geographical Reviews



List of Maps, Figures, and Tables
Preface: Angles of Vision
Series Preface

1. Detroit: An Overview

2. Uneven Development in Metropolitan Detroit
The Motor City • One Detroit, Two Detroits, Many Detroits • Coming Full Circle: Renaissance on the Riverfront • Conclusion

3. Patterns of Race and Class Disparity
Patterns of Race • Black Protest • Racial Disparity in Social and Economic Life • The Pattern of Race within Detroit, 1940-1980 • The Spatial Distribution of Blacks and Housing Costs, 1960-1980 • The Consequences of Racial Segregation • Differential Patterns of Racial Mobility in the Suburbs • Patterns of Class • Conclusion

4. Interracial Conflict and Cooperation: Housing as a Case Study
The Emerging Conflict • Building Barricades vs. Welcoming the Strangers • Building an Interracial Movement for Fair Housing • Suburban Resistance to HUD • Maintaining the Struggle and the Dream • Conclusion

5. City Redevelopment Policies
The Detroit Plan and the Problem of Slums • Slum Clearance through Urban Renewal • Balancing Redevelopment Resources • Conclusion

6. Politics and Policy in Metropolitan Detroit
Black Political Power in Detroit • Metropolitan School Desegregation: A Policy Issue • Toward Metropolitan Cooperation • Conclusion

7. What Future for Detroit?
Uneven Development • Patterns of Race and Class • Redevelopment Policies • Interracial Conflict and Cooperation • Regional Politics • Guideposts for the Future



About the Author(s)

Dominic J. Capeci, Jr. is Professor of History at Southwest Missouri State University and is the author of The Harlem Riot of 1943.

Subject Categories

Urban Studies



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