On this day in 1932: 4 killed during Ford Hunger March

    Mourners confront Detroit Police officers during the demonstration and funeral procession for four of the men killed during the Ford Hunger March. Several people hold signs aloft, the most prominent proclaims “Negro and White Unite!.” | Wayne State University Walter P. Reuther Library photo

    The Ford Hunger March was carried out on March 7, 1932, during the Great Depression. It’s sometimes called the Ford Massacre, as five people eventually died.

    At least 5,000 unemployed metro Detroiters protested joblessness, hunger and poor living conditions.

    The march, which began in Detroit and ended at Dearborn’s Ford Motor Company’s Rouge Plant, was led by several progressive political organizations, including the Detroit Unemployed Council and the Auto, Aircraft and Vehicle Workers of America.

    Four workers were fatally shot by the Dearborn Police Department and security guards employed by the Ford Motor Company. More than 60 people were injured. Three months later, a fifth worker died as a result of injuries sustained.

    The march was considered an important step to unionizing auto plants.

    One of the march organizers was Dave Moore. He later became a founding member of the United Automobile Workers Local 600 and one of the first African-Americans to hold union office.

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman reports on Southeast Michigan, education, civil rights and voting rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

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