In the early 1900s, industrial giants such as Kellogg and Dow were getting their start, giving rise to industries that flourish even today. Yet few innovations had as much influence on the state—or on the nation—as the “horseless carriage.” Shortly after the turn of the century, it gave birth to the state’s largest corporate citizens: Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors. As the entire nation grew dependent on their products, the powerful “Big Three” automakers would soon change the face of the state forever.
With the auto industry came thousands of well-paying jobs and, for most, an improved standard of living. Henry Ford’s revolutionary $5-a-day wage attracted workers from across the country and around the world, making Detroit  among the country’s richest melting pots. Agricultural workers from the Deep South, looking for a better wage, came north to work in the gleaming new factories. Many were African American, an influx that created the Detroit area’s largest ethnic group.
As time passed, changing working conditions and a lack of employee representation in the auto factories spurred another American invention: the creation of the labor movement and the rise of unions.