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Photo Analysis: 'Ford Strikers Riot'

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This photo, entitled “Ford Strikers Riot”, is the 1942 Pulitzer Prize winner. The photo was taken by a man named Milton Brooks during a protest against the Ford automobile company. Henry Ford started the Ford company and invented the assembly line to improve car assembly. The strike against Ford’s River Rouge plant in Dearborn started in April of 1941. This was the first time workers managed to fully shut down the Rouge plant. Their strikes were set off by so many wage cuts as well as the horrible dangers of the plant. The Ford company was also not allowing their employees to create unions, something all of the other car companies had allowed. Anyone who tried to start a union was put in danger of being fired or possibly hurt. There were unions to protect the workers rights and a strike was necessary.
The workers were protesting against Ford while on strike. Strikebreakers were often sent to break up their protests, and one is in this picture. This strikebreaker in particular failed at his job, and was beaten by the men on strike before
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Milton Brooks was a reporter and journalist for the Detroit News. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1942, about a year after the photo was taken. Brooks describes his experience taking the photo saying, "I took the picture quickly, hid the camera under my coat and ducked into the crowd. A lot of people would have liked to wreck that picture." By this he means that the strikebreaker would not want anyone to know that he was beaten by some strikers and the strikers would not want everyone to know they were collectively beating a man during a protest. The workers went on strike because of the harsh conditions and low pay. Everyone can learn from the mistakes Henry Ford made, strongly opposing unions when they were long overdue. This picture shows the reality of different sides of the strike against the Ford car company and what they were willing to do to get what they
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