With a boom in the industrial industry in Detroit and the emergence of Ford Motors the city’s population grew from about 286,000 people to nearly 1,000,000 million by the mid 1920’s. It became the fourth largest city in the United States. People were looking for work and immigrating into the city. However, the immigration was not of white, European immigrants as one might think. It consisted of the migration of southerners, specifically blacks southerners, into Detroit, where a community was born.
The influx of African Americans created great racial tension, but also a positive community and change in class relations. A new middle class had arisen and the threat that European immigrants presented encouraged the black community to rely on each other and develop a sense of self-help.
The formation of a chapter of the National Negro Business League in Detroit represented the large expansion of black business and the pride that accompanied this expansion. Black businessmen were refereed to as “Race Men” and served as role models. African Americans managed everything from theaters to ballrooms, and would lead the way in the development of Motown’s music and entertainment scene.