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Klansmen and Thugs: Rationalizing Violence in the Arsenal of Democracy
In 1942, Detroit was struck by the Sojourner Truth Riots, a violent episode that pitted white middle class families against Black defense workers. This eruption threatened the image of Detroit as a place where patriotic workers selflessly contributed to the war effort, focusing only on victory in Europe and the Pacific. The result was the construction of a myth: Detroit’s troubles were caused by uncouth southerners who had tarnished Detroit’s good name. Karen A.J. Miller is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Oakland University. Her research concerns the history of American public policy in the 20th century. She is currently working on a book-length project concerning Detroit during World War II.