MotorCities National Heritage Area

Many Voices, One Story

Junior Ranger program


We seek to represent the shared stories of how this region put the world on wheels across a diverse and inclusive range of people with a wide variety of backgrounds, languages and cultures.

As construction of the page continues, look for more content that reflects the diversity of the 10,000 square miles of the MotorCities National Heritage Area.  


Making Tracks Mast Head 900 pixel width updated Feb 2011 

Making Tracks

The auto industry provided a new opportunity for those who lived in Michigan, as well as those who traveled from near and far. looks back at the African American experience in the auto industry. This culture represented the migration of workers and families to the Motor Cities. Their work was hard, and their paths were not smooth. The website talks about adjustment to the north, the climate in their communities and treatment at their jobs. It also highlights the triumphs and tragedies of a people who contributed to building the auto industry. 

This video serves as a preview of the Making Tracks website and how the project came together.


Southwest Detroit Auto Heritage Guide masthead 5.7.20 

This part of the MotorCities website chronicles the auto legacy built by the diverse entrepreneurs, workers, businesses and unions of Southwest Detroit over more than a century. Learn more here.

10 Questions for UAW President Rory Gamble

UAW President Rory Gamble RESIZED

MotorCities recently had the opportunity to interview Rory Gamble, the first African American president of the United Auto Workers International Union, about his life and career for Black History Month 2021. Thanks to MotorCities board member Sandra Engle, Assistant Director of the UAW National Education Department, for her assistance. See the article here.

A Q & A with the UAW's Cindy Estrada

UAW.Cindy Estrada

For Women's History Month, MotorCities recently interviewed Cindy Estrada, a Vice President of the United Auto Workers International Union. Thanks again to MotorCities board member Sandra Engle for her assistance. See the article here.

Alexander Winton Made Bicycles (and then Cars!) in Cleveland

Winton and his automobile

April is Scottish American History Month, so here is a feature on Alexander Winton, a Scottish immigrant and early automotive pioneer.

Arab Americans and the Automobile: Voices from the Factory

Ali Baleed Almaklani Arab American Natl Museum RESIZED 750 

April is also Arab American Heritage Month. Ali Baleed Almaklani (pictured above) worked at Ford Motor Company in 1999 and 2000 when he was interviewed for an oral history project for the Cultural Arts Department of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in Dearborn. The collected oral histories are now part of the collection of the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, as part of their "Arab Americans and the Automobile: Voices from the Factory" Collection. You can hear Almaklani's interview here. Thank you to Elizabeth Barrett-Sullivan and Matthew Stiffler of the Arab American National Museum for their assistance.

NASCAR's First Driver with Autism: Detroit's Own Armani Williams

Armani Williams NASCAR autism awareness RESIZED 750

Finally, April is Autism Awareness Month. Armani Williams (pictured above) is a Detroit-based NASCAR driver, the first openly diagnosed with autism. sHe is using his racing career as a platform to draw awareness to autism, promote research-based solutions, and create better life outcomes for families impacted by the disorder.  Armani has competed coast to coast in the United States and throughout Canada. You can hear his interview here.