Automobiles and the 1950s – Excelsior Writers | excelsiorwriters.com
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many social historians have chronicled the change in American societies brought by the mass production (and consumption) of automobiles. America began their love affair with cars in the 1950s. Yet, I propose that cars also negatively impacted American society.
Take, for example, Thomas Sugrue’s article on cars, titled – “From Motor City to Motor Metropolis: How the Automobile Industry Reshaped Urban America” Sugrue writes, “the spread of the auto industry outward in the 1950s was but a first stage in the mass migration of industry to low-wage regions of the United States and, increasingly, the world…the decentralization of industry had profound effects on the urban geography and on the working-class population of the city. The movement of jobs out of the city accelerated the process of suburbanization, as autoworkers who could move followed their jobs. Hardest hit by the loss of jobs in the central city were black workers, who could seldom find housing in the segregated suburbs or the mostly white small towns that attracted many firms” (Sugrue, 2008)
A copy of his article can be found online, here: http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/Race/R_Overview/…
Class, how do you interpret Sugrue’s stance on the American automobile and society?
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