This article discusses the Music of Detroit, Michigan. World renowned for its Detroit Symphony Orchestra and music celebrities, the area has a long and rich heritage, including several Platinum artists in different genres whose recordings had surpassed forty million copies by the year 2000.
At the turn of the century, Henry Ford began the transformation of Detroit from modest port into the "Motor City" capital of the world. Ford was the first businessman to specifically target African American workers, sending recruiters to comb the South for industrious, cheap labor. Lured by promises of wealth, opportunity, and non-segregation, large groups of African Americans made the trek north, bringing with them their music and culture.
After years of growth and prosperity, the Great Depression hit Detroit hard which lead to the White-controlled trade unions locking Detroit's Afro-American citizens and other minorities out of a large portion of lucrative auto industry jobs. This in turn transformed the area of Detroit know as "Black Bottom", the "colored" district on Detroit's East Side, into a polyglot melting pot. Black Bottom became home to Mexicans, Poles, Italians, and Blacks, with each culture adding its rich musical traditions into the mix. During this period Detroit's Black Bottom became nationally famous for its music scene: major blues singers, big bands, and jazz artists -- such as Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie -- regularly performed in the bars and clubs of Paradise Valley entertainment district. However, this ending in the 1960s when construction of Interstate 75 dismantled the Black Bottom neighborhood. Despite its dismantling, Black Bottom's influence would be felt for decades to come.
Another noteworthy change was when Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation in Detroit's public school system, home of one of the top music programs in the nation; young children of all colors now had access to musical training.
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