Discuss Detroit DISCUSS DETROIT! Migrant workers in Detroit, I need some help! Previous Next
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Username: Busterwmu

Post Number: 542
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 10:58 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A friend of mine is writing a fictional story, much of which is set here in Detroit. The time period is the 1960s and 1970s. The main character is a migrant brick layer/stone mason from West Virginia who has come to work in Detroit during this time period. My friend is out of the country right now so I told him I'd try to do some research, but as I was not born yet during the era of this book, I need some help! Below is a list of questions my friend would like answered. If anyone has any information or answers, or resources I could utilize, it would be most appreciated. Thanks.

What buildings might he have worked on & names of their construction companies, and realtors?

What building or mason unions our character may have worked under & union pay rate for this time period. Also hourly pay rate for non-union migrant stone mason.

Also, the rate of pay also for union & nonunion common day laborers...a category below the stone mason.

What boarding houses/cheap hotels were frequented by migrant workers in the city? Cost of single & shared rooms. Blacks & whites intermixed? Bathrooms in corridors? Pay for baths & towels?

What neighborhood of Detroit, and street names. Aspect of the neighborhood....any trees in street? Trains tracks nearby... or within earshot of restless sleepers.

Anything to give ambiance of where these people lived, where they went in the evenings, e.g., Is it a rundown section of old Detroit or new area or what...and its name have any historical resonance? For sex where were the bordellos and their names? ...name of street(s) with sidewalk whores? Cost difference between sex in bordello & sidewalk trade.

Bars and eateries popular with migrants in that area/time period of Detroit. Popular local beer & cost per glass. Ditto shot of bourbon....

Thanks for your help!
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Username: Melocoton

Post Number: 77
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 11:33 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

John Hartigan's "Racial Situations" has some historical material (and a bibliography) about Appalachian immigration to Detroit, esp. around Briggs and the Cass corridor area.
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Username: Mackenzie68

Post Number: 98
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 5:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Get thee to a library! The Burton Collection will have most of the necessary information, and skimming the pages of the Detroit News of the era will also help. Or, many of us could contract to do it for you.

ETA: I just realized that you may be out of the area. Your local librarians should still be able to assist you, or help you plan a Detroit trip by finding out where you can look at microfilm, etc. .

(Message edited by Mackenzie68 on March 16, 2009)

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