Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rosa Parks' Bus, Kennedy Dallas Limo, Lincoln's Ford Theater Seat and More at Henry Ford Museum

Here are some pictures from the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit from this past Monday.  Eclectic is all I can say.  The Rosa Parks bus  (at the end) was the most inspiring exhibit  for me.

As we came to the entrance I had this strange feeling about the entrance.  It's only now as I'm posting that I realized its similarity to the entrance to Auschwitz.  This is the only hint of Ford's anti-Semitism at the museum that I noticed.

The first thing you see when you get into the museum is this:

This massive painting was a bit further along.

 From the Ford Museum site:

Light’s Golden Jubilee Honors Thomas Edison and Dedicates a Museum
On October 21, 1929, Henry Ford hosted an elaborate celebration in Dearborn, Michigan, in honor of his friend Thomas A. Edison. Known as Light’s Golden Jubilee, the date marked the 50 th anniversary of Edison’s invention of the electric light. Ford also planned his event as a dedication of his own lasting tribute to Thomas Edison and to American innovation, the Edison Institute of Technology (later renamed Henry Ford Museum) and Greenfield Village. Here, Henry Ford had moved the Menlo Park, New Jersey, laboratory where the inventor made his discovery so many years before.
Click image to enlarge
The RSVPs for Light's Golden Jubilee began pouring in to Ford Motor Company by early October 1929. Prominent businessmen like John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and J.P. Morgan, scientist Marie Curie, inventor Orville Wright, and humorist Will Rogers were among those who enthusiastically accepted Ford’s invitation to be part of the landmark event .
A t 10 o’clock that morning, President Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison arrived at Smiths Creek depot at Greenfield Village on a steam- powered locomotive, much like the one on which Edison had sold papers as a youth. They were met by invited guests that numbered more than 500. The crowd roared their approval and congratulations as Edison , Hoover and Ford stepped from the train to begin the day’s festivities.
[5. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.;  6. Mrs. Herbert C. Hoover; 7. George Eastman; 9. Marie Curie;  11.  Mrs. Thomas A. Edison;  12.  Edsel B. Ford;  13.  Charles Edison;  15.  Herbert C. Hoover;  17.  Henry Ford;  18.  Mrs. Henry Ford;  19.  Thomas A. Edison; ]  My understanding is that the dinner was in this building we were in.

A DC 3.

This is - I have to believe that they verified this - the chair Lincoln sat in at the Ford Theater when he was assassinated.


The Ford tri-motor that Admiral Byrd  flew in over the South Pole.

The Kennedy limo when he was assassinated in Dallas.  (Is there a pattern here?)  I was told the roof was added later.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's inaugural limo.

The apex of American auto making - the 1955 Chevy.

Again, from the Ford Site:

Allegheny Locomotive
Built in 1941 and weighing in at 600 tons, this was one of the largest steam-powered locomotives ever built. Designed for pulling huge coal trains over the Allegheny mountains of West Virginia, this locomotive could reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. This powerful behemoth is the centerpiece of our trains collection and a visitor landmark in Henry Ford Museum. The cab of the Allegheny locomotive is now open for public viewing.

C & O Allegheny #1601
Lima Locomotive 2-6-6-6

It's nice that the museum has all this information posted:
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old African American woman who worked as a seamstress, boarded this Montgomery City bus to go home from work. On this bus on that day, Rosa Parks initiated a new era in the American quest for freedom and equality.
She sat near the middle of the bus, just behind the 10 seats reserved for whites. Soon all of the seats in the bus were filled. When a white man entered the bus, the driver (following the standard practice of segregation) insisted that all four blacks sitting just behind the white section give up their seats so that the man could sit there. Mrs. Parks, who was an active member of the local NAACP, quietly refused to give up her seat.
Her action was spontaneous and not pre-meditated, although her previous civil rights involvement and strong sense of justice were obvious influences. "When I made that decision," she said later, “I knew that I had the strength of my ancestors with me.”
She was arrested and convicted of violating the laws of segregation, known as “Jim Crow laws.” Mrs. Parks appealed her conviction and thus formally challenged the legality of segregation.
At the same time, local civil rights activists initiated a boycott of the Montgomery bus system. In cities across the South, segregated bus companies were daily reminders of the inequities of American society. Since African Americans made up about 75 percent of the riders in Montgomery, the boycott posed a serious economic threat to the company and a social threat to white rule in the city.
A group named the Montgomery Improvement Association, composed of local activists and ministers, organized the boycott. As their leader, they chose a young Baptist minister who was new to Montgomery: Martin Luther King, Jr. Sparked by Mrs. Parks’ action, the boycott lasted 381 days, into December 1956 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the segregation law was unconstitutional and the Montgomery buses were integrated. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was the beginning of a revolutionary era of non-violent mass protests in support of civil rights in the United States.

As I said, this is an eclectic museum.  I'll try to post some more from the museum later.

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