Detroit Divided

Detroit Divided

Reynolds Farley
Sheldon Danziger
Harry J. Holzer
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Detroit Divided
    Book Description:

    Unskilled workers once flocked to Detroit, attracted by manufacturing jobs paying union wages, but the passing of Detroit's manufacturing heyday has left many of those workers stranded. Manufacturing continues to employ high-skilled workers, and new work can be found in suburban service jobs, but the urban plants that used to employ legions of unskilled men are a thing of the past. The authors explain why white auto workers adjusted to these new conditions more easily than blacks. Taking advantage of better access to education and suburban home loans, white men migrated into skilled jobs on the city's outskirts, while blacks faced the twin barriers of higher skill demands and hostile suburban neighborhoods. Some blacks have prospered despite this racial divide: a black elite has emerged, and the shift in the city toward municipal and service jobs has allowed black women to approach parity of earnings with white women. But Detroit remains polarized racially, economically, and geographically to a degree seen in few other American cities.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-198-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. About the Authors
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Reynolds Farley, Sheldon Danziger and Harry J. Holzer
  5. 1 Introduction: Three Centuries of Growth and Conflict
    (pp. 1-13)

    The census of 1990 counted seventy-seven U.S. cities with 200,000 or more residents. Detroit, the ninth largest, ranked 76th in terms of population growth in the 1980s—it lost one resident in six during that decade. It ranked first in terms of poverty, with one-third of its residents living in households reporting cash incomes below the poverty line. It also ranked first for percentage of households receiving public assistance payments, and it was the only large city in which the majority of family households were headed by a single parent. Detroit ranked 73rd of the seventy-seven cities in median income,...

  6. 2 Detroit's History: Racial, Spatial, and Economic Changes
    (pp. 14-52)

    While searching for a passage to Asia, Jacques Cartier discovered the St. Lawrence River in 1534 and sailed as far as the current site of Montreal. French missionaries followed his route, settled in Quebec, and then moved into the upper Great Lakes in hopes of converting Indians. By the 1630s, they established an outpost at Sault Ste. Marie—near Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron. Shortly after the missionaries, came fur traders seeking pelts for the European market (Dunbar and May 1995, chap. 3).

    Antoine Cadillac arrived in New France from Gascony in 1683, went to Sault Ste. Marie, and prospered...

  7. 3 The Evolution of Detroit's Labor Market Since 1940
    (pp. 53-106)

    In 1940, the Ford Motor Company employed 85,000 workers at its Detroit-area factories, 21 percent of them African Americans.More than halfof all employed black men in metropolitan Detroit at that time drew their paychecks from Ford (Maloney and Whatley 1995,470). Ford, however, was the exception. The Hudson Motor Car Company, with a payroll of 12,200, had just 225 black workers (Thomas 1992, 157). African Americans accounted for 9 percent of the city's population, but just 1 percent of the labor force of 30,300 employed by the municipal government (Sugrue 1996, 110).

    Jim Crow practices accounted for the unusual...

  8. 4 The Detroit Labor Market: The Employers' Perspective
    (pp. 107-125)

    A number of major developments in Detroit's labor market adversely affected the employment and earnings of blacks, especially black men. The percentage of total employment accounted for by jobs in manufacturing—especially the automobile industry—and in blue-collar occupations has declined dramatically, while employment in the services and in white-collar occupations has grown rapidly. The percentage of total employment located in the city has also dropped off steeply in recent decades, even though most African Americans continue to live there.

    These findings point to important changes taking place on thedemandside of the labor market—that is, in the...

  9. 5 The Detroit Labor Market: The Workers' Perspective
    (pp. 126-143)

    This chapter focuses on the extent to which the continuing concentration of the African American population in Detroit, while jobs relocate to the suburbs, contributes to the deteriorating employment outcomes of black residents in the city. How does the location of one's residence influence the location of one's job search? Do blacks who seek and find suburban jobs have relatively better employment outcomes than those working in the city? If so, why don't African Americans search more frequently or more intensely for suburban work? Answers to these questions help explain why a spatial mismatch between black central-city residents and suburban...

  10. 6 The Evolution of Racial Segregation
    (pp. 144-177)

    After graduation from Wilberforce College, Dr. Ossian Sweet earned his medical degree at Howard University, then went to Europe for postgraduate training. He studied in Vienna and later at Madame Curie's Institute in Paris, learning to use radium to halt cancer. In 1921, he moved to Detroit and established a practice that thrived, since the post—World War I boom was attracting southern blacks to the Motor City. After a while, Dr. Sweet wanted to move away from the crowded Black Bottom neighborhood where most Detroit blacks were forced to live, so he and his wife used their savings to...

  11. 7 The Persistence of Residential Segregation
    (pp. 178-216)

    Why do blacks and whites continue to live in different places more than fifty years after the Supreme Court overturned restrictive covenants and thirty years after federal open housing legislation outlawed discrimination in the housing market? Four reasons are frequently cited for persistent segregation:

    (1) Economic differences lead blacks and whites to seek differently priced housing; hence they do not live together.

    (2) Blacks and whites may differ in their knowledge of the housing market. African Americans may overestimate the cost of suburban housing and fail to seek homes and apartments that they can afford. In addition, the races may...

  12. 8 Blacks and Whites: Differing Views on the Present and Future
    (pp. 217-246)

    Popular culture and the media have often portrayed blacks negatively. The most enduring derogatory stereotypes stress the limited intellectual abilities of African Americans, their tendency to speak a nonstandard dialect, their proneness to criminal behavior, and their inability or reluctance to conform to the behavioral norms of middle-class American society, especially those regarding family life. These negative stereotypes provided the rationale for policies that excluded blacks from neighborhoods, kept them off payrolls, and segregated them in the military, even though they volunteered in great numbers for every war, going back to the Revolutionary.

    One of the achievements of the civil...

  13. 9 Revitalizing Detroit: A Vision for the Future
    (pp. 247-266)

    What will metropolitan Detroit look like in four or five decades? Certainly it would be a pleasant place to live if everyone who wanted to work could find a suitable job, paying enough to keep his or her family above the poverty line. It would be ideal if Detroit were recognized as a metropolis with good schools—elementary schools where most students scored at or above the national norms and high schools that effectively guided well-trained graduates into careers or career training. Some would go from high school to job-training programs, others to community colleges, while the majority would enter...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 267-278)
  15. References
    (pp. 279-294)
  16. Index
    (pp. 295-316)