Special Focus: Sojourner Truth Housing Project
In 1941 the federal government and the Detroit Housing Commission approved construction of the 200-unit Sojourner Truth Housing Project to house Black defense workers during World War II. White residents living near the project’s location at Nevada and Fenelon Streets protested to change the occupancy to white only, and federal authorities promised to build housing for Black workers elsewhere. After failing to secure an alternative site, these Black workers fought for the right to move into Sojourner Truth, but not without incident. Continued demonstrations, violent clashes, and hundreds of arrests prompted Mayor Edward Jeffries to mobilize the Michigan National Guard to move the first Black families into the Sojourner Truth Housing Project.