Imagine if an American city continued to celebrate a prominent businessman who had published newspapers and books advocating overt racism and racial discrimination against Black people. Imagine if the Grand Wizard of the KKK had a picture of this man in his office and credited him with inspiring him to kill African Americans. Imagine statues and photographs commemorating the life of such a bigot. Imagine if a performing arts center was named after him and African American performers who wanted to appear in the city had to walk into a building bearing the name of this racist. The reaction would be immediate and uncompromising: all glorification of this racist must stop; statues and pictures must be removed; history must treat him as a pariah despite his positive accomplishments as a businessman.
Well, the city Dearborn, Michigan is celebrating such a racist bigot today. But no one is demanding that his images must be removed or his despicable history and ideology publicized. His name is Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company.
Ford devoted his life to two passions: making cars and demonizing Jews. When Hitler said, “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” he wasn’t referring to his car manufacturing. He was referring to Ford’s anti-Semitic ideology that eventuated in the genocide of six million Jews. A large photograph of Ford was prominently displayed in Hitler’s office. The periodical Ford published weekly — The Dearborn Independent — was a polite version of the Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer. It was circulated throughout the U.S. and around the world.