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

  • Eren Bozkurt / Anadolu Agency / Getty

    Early Photos From the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

    This morning, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, collapsing thousands of buildings across southern Turkey and northwestern Syria.

  • Dan Bartlett / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Salmon Blessing, Masquerade Games, Polar Night

    A figure-skating championship in Finland, a rugby tournament in Afghanistan, the Magh Mela festival in India, a soldier’s funeral in Ukraine, an ice storm in Texas, and much more

  • Andy Buchanan / AFP / Getty

    The Up Helly Aa Viking Fire Festival

    Images of the annual fire festival held in the Shetland Islands from the past 20 years.

  • Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty

    The Snow Monkeys of Nagano

    Images of Japanese macaques relaxing and staying warm in the waters of a mountain hot spring