Work Site: REO Motor Car Company

An influential northern car company where Malcolm X worked.

While previously, the REO Motor Company hired primarily white workers, in the 1940s, the demand for labor increased due to the war. In his autobiography, Malcolm X recounted how previous to the war, REO did not hire black workers, but later began to hire some janitorial staff from the African American community. When white soldiers left, and upon their return were provided the means to go and gain an education, they did not return to their once held factory jobs. This created a lot of job opportunities for the African American population in Michigan, specifically in the automobile industry (Maloney, African Americans in the 20th Century, eh.net). While Malcolm X was simply on the janitorial staff, this was a position that would have previously been unavailable. However, because they would work these jobs for pay that began to come close to that of the white workers, black workers were often put on the more unpleasant and dangerous jobs. Working conditions were difficult and the pay was still relatively low.

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1445 S Washington Ave, Lansing, MI