CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We must save Detroit.
Detroit is part of all of us. It is where the American Industrial Age took shape.
Henry Ford created the automobile in 1896 in his garage in Detroit. Ford established the Ford Motor Co., and in 1908 he introduced the company's legendary product: the Model T. The company would sell more than 15 million Model T's from 1910 to 1927.
Ford workers actually earned a decent wage and, soon, the 40-hour workweek was established there. It helped bring about a middle class life for thousands of families. Detroit is also home to General Motors and Chrysler. Along with Ford, they are still known today throughout the world as "The Big Three." Because of the auto industry in Detroit, jobs spread all over Michigan and the Midwest.
But Detroit is much more than cars and factories. It is a cultural mecca.
In 1932-33, the painter Diego Rivera drew a 27-panel mural called "Detroit Industry." It celebrates the great workers of Ford and is housed in the Detroit Institute for the Arts today. In 1959, high school dropout turned songwriter Berry Gordy Jr. created in Detroit Motown Records, the famous label that brought us Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes and Smokey Robinson.
Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," is from Detroit and still lives there.