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May 31, 2020

Flint Culture Clash: Southerners Find Auto Boomtown USA

Flint Culture Clash: Southerners Find Auto Boomtown USA

The second diary essay by Arthur Busch. Flint, Michigan is a rust-belt factory town. The town was transformed in the 1950's by a great migration of eager southerners seeking work in GM automobile factories. Arthur describes fondly his family and the hillbilly traditions and values they brought to Flint's Dixieland subdivision. He describes his family's southern customs and culture as they assimilate their lives into a northern GM company town. This all during the Golden Age for America's middle class. His neighborhood, Dixieland subdivision, was built on a GM dump site loaded with toxic heavy metals and lead.  He describes the new houses, the swamp where he learned about science from school projects.  Two school buildings were built on top of this dumpsite and a playground put next to the toxic swamp/pond.  In the 1990's GM made offers to buy out the houses in this subdivision.  They were forced to do expensive remediation of the swamp, park and playground at Windiate Park.  No studies were ever done to determine if the children of that area were poisoned by the lead.  Amazingly,  the park sits one short block for GM's historic Fisher Body #1, the site of the 1937 sitdown strike.  That strike led to the recognition of the UAW and labor peace in the auto industry.  However, the people and children of Dixieland subdivision, many southern migrants sharecroppers, found for the first time, a home they could own and a GM job.   This essay series is part of a diary and memories of Arthur Busch, who was born and raised in Flint.  For more information about Radio Free Flint and other podcasts: https://anchor.fm/radiofreeflint/episodes/Born-A-Deplorable-Southern-values--culture-meets-a-northern-factory-town-eeosd1  Website:   https://radiofreeflint.media/  Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RadioFreeFlint/ --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/radiofreeflint/message

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