From boom to bust: Detroit 150 years after Henry Ford's birth - KMSP-TV

From boom to bust: Detroit 150 years after Henry Ford's birth

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Henry Ford: Born July 30, 1863, Died April 7, 1947 Henry Ford: Born July 30, 1863, Died April 7, 1947
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Peasants and share croppers made a good life in this place called Detroit. Those were our grandparents. The American Dream was invented right here. A car in the garage. A beer on the porch. A little television before bed.

Henry Ford would have turned 150 years old this past week. He lies in a manicured plot on Detroit's west side under an iron gate as the city he helped to build crumbles around him.

It was 99 years ago that Ford offered the working man $5 a day. The next morning, ten thousand men came looking for a job.

Ford was number one in the world, but he would only sell you a car for cash. So five years later, the young guns at General Motors came up with installment payments. Mass credit, GMAC, that's a Detroit invention, too.

GM became number one, and then it went bankrupt in 2009. This year, Detroit followed.

When adjusted for inflation, a new auto worker today makes just $5.35 a day.

Things change. That's just the way it is. The church that Clara Ford built in memory of her husband on the old family farm is empty. The mosque next door is full. The welfare office is next to that.

Can we find our way out? Is it within us? We're broke, but are we broken?

Happy birthday Henry Ford.

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