MotorCities National Heritage Area

 June 17, 2021


DETROIT – MotorCities National Heritage Area has relaunched its Making Tracks website, which chronicles the experiences of African Americans in the auto industry during the first half of the 20th century. The original site was developed in partnership with The Wright Museum in Detroit and the Ford Motor Company Fund and first went live in 2010.

Found at and produced by MotorCities with its website provider Grigg Graphics of Southfield, the relaunched site includes all of the photos, videos, teacher resources and links featured on the original site. The new framework and navigation also allows MotorCities to expand on the original content and continue bringing the site up to the present day.

“The original Making Tracks tells the story of African Americans from the beginnings of the automotive industry around the turn of the 20th century, the Great Migration triggered in part by the $5 Day wages first offered by Ford Motor Company, and continuing through wartime production ending in 1945,” said Brian Yopp, MotorCities’ director of programs. “Now, we are undertaking the necessary research, conducting in-person interviews and compiling content to ensure Making Tracks provides a much more complete picture as we stand two plus decades into the 21st century.”

Visitors to the current site can watch videos telling the story of automotive trailblazers like:

·        William Perry, the first African American employed by Ford Motor Company in 1914;

·        C.R. Patterson, founder of the first African American-owned automaker;

·        Reverend Charles Hill, a key figure in the civil rights and labor movements in Detroit;

·        George Washington Carver, who came to Dearborn in 1942 to do research and collaborate with Henry Ford on the use of plants like peanuts, soybeans, cotton and rubber in industry;

·        And Ed Davis, one of the first African Americans to own auto dealerships in the city of Detroit.

Watch for upcoming announcements calling for the public’s assistance in creating oral histories and seeking out additional content that can be used to tell the stories of African Americans working in the auto industry from the 1950s to the present. For any questions or to share your story, contact Brian Yopp at 313.259.3425 x307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.