Henry Ford And Social Justice

Henry Ford And Social Justice


R.E. Prindle


The Great Henry FordBack in the days of Jim Crow America Henry Ford founded his automobile company, Ford Motors.  Henry Ford was a good man full of good intentions.  He’s a role model in that aspect.  If there was ever a man whose reputation was criminally smeared it was Henry Ford.

Having established his auto company Ford turned it into a roaring success.  The greatest success in American history.  Bu 1914 he was perhaps the richest man in America and not adverse to sharing his riches.  He doubled the wages of his employees out of good will.  Ford was the incarnation of innovation.  He not only created the auto business from whole cloth but, although it is little known, he revolutionized many other businesses.  For instance, in the manner in which plate glass was manufactured it was impossible for that industry to supply Ford Motors’ glass needs.  Henry Ford and his engineers devised methods to mass produce plate glass for the glass manufacturers free of charge.  Ford took out no patents on any of the methods he invented.

Being a success at every problem he tackled Ford began to think that he had found the key to solve every problem, not only of a technical nature but also of human nature.  That’s where he began to go wrong.  Human problems are not so tractable as technical problems.

The introduction of the Negro into America to solve the agricultural labor problem of necessity created a greater, more intractable unsolvable problem.   In the Jim Crow era not only was the Negro last to be hired but quite often, I’m sure, he found it impossible to be hired.  Now, such discrimination violates the objective rules of social justice.   Henry Ford understood this violation and in a unique position to do something about it he did what no other employer was doing-  he hired Negroes the same as he would a White man.

In the auto industry what Ford did others followed, GM, Packard, the Dodge Brothers, the lot.  Soon they were all hiring Negroes.  More jobs, more Negroes.  In 1914 the Great War began and by 1916 the US was in it.  Contrary to what Liberals believe Negroes have not always fought our wars.  The armed forced were White, there were few Negroes in the army except for a couple token battalions.  Therefore White men were drafted into the army creating a labor vacuum in cities like Detroit.  The great internal Negro migration began as armies of Negroes moved North to take the vacated jobs.

Thus Detroit and the auto industry became Negrified.  The ‘boys’ returned and for twenty years things more less returned to ‘normalcy’  as Warren G. Harding would have it.  Then WWII began c. 1940.  Once again the factories were emptied and Negroes took the trek North to join the Rosie the Riveters.  This time when the war ended the Negroes kept coming.

Detroit became conspicuously  Black.  Soon the labor pool was predominantly Black.  I worked the assembly line at one time and let me tell you the Whites were not all that efficient and conscientious so you can imagine the quality of the Black effort.  Henry died in ’46 or ’47 so he’s out of the picture.  When he died Ford was all but out of business.  It was through the efforts of Henry Ford II that the company was saved.  And the auto industry found it impossible to function with nearly an entire Black labor force.  If they didn’t go bankrupt they left Detroit or tried to, usually being prevented from acting in their best interests by government regulations or union impediments.

Once a city of two million with a tremendous industry base, Whites fled the city  by hundreds of thousands, responsible Blacks by the tens of thousands.  Industry merely vacated now worthless factories.  Today with the population halved Detroit is a city of ruins with no industry not much different than Rome in the middle ages.

So, in an effort to achieve ‘social justice’ by hiring Negroes Ford not only destroyed his own company but also destroyed the American auto industry and the city of Detroit, not improbably the State of Michigan.

I have no idea of how to solve this objective problem by subjective means like social justice.  I consider the problem unsolvable.  I merely point out that with the best of intentions, a need to do the ‘right thing’, a desire for social justice, Ford wrought destruction on himself, his city and ultimately, his country.

I will devote a column each to Ford And The Criminal  Element, and Ford and the Reds.





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