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These 1960s Black Activist Groups Fought For Economic Opportunity in Detroit

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Image credit: Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library Archives

A new collection at Walter P. Reuther Library Archives at Wayne State University showcases documents and materials from Black activist groups in Detroit in the 1960’s.

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A new collection at Walter P. Reuther Library Archives at Wayne State University showcases documents and materials from Black activist groups in Detroit in the 1960’s. 

We believe during this moment in history, there’s gonna be an increased interest in organizations like” DRUM. — Dr. Louis Jones, Wayne State University

In the second half of the 20th century, the Great Migration of African Americans began moving from the south to the north in search of economic opportunity. They joined a burgeoning worker and union rights movement, forming several activist groups across Southeast Michigan to demand better working conditions and access to unionized work. Several industries from the medical field to the auto industries had workers protesting for equality.

The Detroit Revolutionary Movement or (DRUM) left a trove of files and materials are available online through the Walter P. Reuther Library Archives at Wayne State University.

We believe during this moment in history, there’s gonna be an increased interest in organizations like this,” said Dr. Louis Jones, a field archivist with the library of labor and urban affairs.

Click on the player above to hear Wayne State’s Dr. Louis Jones on the new collection of Black activist materials in the archives.

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Tia Graham, Reporter / Anchor

Tia Graham is a Reporter/Anchor for 101.9 WDET Detroit’s NPR station. Keeping busy, Tia loves to workout whenever she gets the chance.


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