Detroit in the 1940s

The early part of the 20th century saw the city of Detroit, Michigan, rise to prominence on the huge growth of the auto industry and related manufacturers. The 1940s were boom years of development, but the decade was full of upheaval and change, as factories re-tooled to build war machines, and women started taking on men's roles in the workplace, as men shipped overseas to fight in World War II. The need for workers brought an influx of African-Americans to Detroit, who met stiff resistance from whites who refused to welcome them into their neighborhoods or work beside them on an assembly line. A race riot took place over three days in 1943, leaving 34 dead and hundreds injured. After World War II ended, the demand for workers dried up, and Detroit started plotting its postwar course, an era of big automobiles and bigger highways to accommodate them.
Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Scott Olson / Getty

    Photos of the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump

    On January 20, 2017, the peaceful transfer of American power took place in Washington, DC, as Barack Obama, passed the office to Donald J. Trump.

  • Stephanie Keith / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 1/14–1/20

    Preparations for the Inauguration in Washington, DC, a sea lion kisses Princess Stephanie of Monaco, a volcanic eruption in Mexico, and much more.

  • AFP / Getty

    Iranian High-rise Collapses in Huge Fire, Killing Dozens

    A fire engulfed a landmark building in Tehran, Iran, this morning, leading to a complete collapse that may have killed as many as 30 people, including many firefighters.

  • Raul Arboleda / AFP / Getty

    FARC Guerrillas Demobilizing in Colombia

    AFP photographer Raul Arboleda recently spent time at a FARC camp, observing daily life as the rebels demobilize and prepare to move into the next phase of their lives.

Join the Discussion