Ford’s antisemitism is well documented. Did the Dearborn Mayor worry that criticism of Ford’s Jew-hatred would inflame his community, which has shown more than a little solidarity with such hatred and bigotry?
Bill McGraw, editor of a local quarterly journal published by the city’s historical commission, felt that residents could stand to learn more about the unflattering side of the man who founded Ford Motor Company and pioneered assembly line production in his factories. During the 1920s, Mr. Ford spread virulent anti-Semitism in his weekly newspaper The Dearborn Independent. “In general, metro Detroit and its institutions tend to treat Mr. Ford gently when it comes to his dark sides,” he wrote. “But his anti-Semitism is much more than a personal failing.” And so when the latest issue of Mr. McGraw’s quarterly, The Dearborn Historian, arrived off the presses, it contained a special report on the extraordinary efforts by Mr. Ford to spread hate.
That’s when the mayor of Dearborn, John B. O’Reilly, decided to bar the city-financed journal from distribution. Mr. McGraw’s contract to edit the magazine was terminated.
Copies of the magazine were delivered to the Dearborn Historical Museum, which distributes them, but they have since been returned to the printers.
In protest of the mayor’s decision, the city’s historical commission unanimously passed on Thursday night a nonbinding resolution — with one abstention — that asks for the magazines to be mailed to the journal’s 230 subscribers, all of whom are members of the museum.
Mr. McGraw, 67, who has lived in Dearborn for 31 years, was a longtime reporter and editor for The Detroit Free Press. He said that most educated people in southeast Michigan know that Mr. Ford was anti-Semitic. But the journal paints a clearer picture of the millions he spent on packaging his hateful message.
Readers learn of the large portrait of Mr. Ford hanging in Hitler’s office in 1931, and Hitler’s statement to a Detroit News reporter: “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration.” (NY Times)
But Mr. McGraw also included in his report an article on how Mr. Ford’s descendants have consistently supported Jewish charities and cultural organizations; a recommended reading list of more than a dozen books and articles; and a one-page essay entitled “Why Write About Henry Ford’s Hateful Side?”
In the essay, he described the growing diversity of the Detroit region and the nation, and the backlash to it, which includes a well-documented rise in anti-Semitism.
Dearborn Michigan blocks exposé of Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism
Mayor of Dearborn, Michigan prevents magazine from being mailed out after it included article on Henry Ford’s hatred of Jews
INN, February 3, 2019:
The editor of a quarterly journal published by the historical commission of Dearborn, Michigan will not work on any more of the magazines after he published an article about Henry Ford’s history of anti-Semitism in the publication’s 100th anniversary issue.
Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly prevented the January issue of the magazine, paid for by the city, from being mailed out. The Dearborn Historian magazine editor Bill McGraw, who worked on an issue-by-issue contract, also was let go.
“I think given what’s going on in the world today with the rise of anti-Semitism, what happened to Pittsburgh in October and with the 100-year anniversary of the paper last week, it’s important to know that’s still playing a huge role online with extremists. It seems if Dearborn is going to be proud of Henry Ford, we should look at the whole picture,” McGraw, who has lived in Dearborn for 30 years, told The Detroit News.
The Dearborn Historical Museum Commission voted to call on O’Reilly to rescind his decision to not mail the magazines to its more than 200 subscribers.
Andrew Kercher, assistant chief curator of the Dearborn Historical Museum told the Detroit News that O’Reilly ordered acting chief curator Jack Tate to terminate their contract with McGraw, a former reporter and editor for the Detroit Free Press.
O’Reilly in a statement released on Friday afternoon said publishing Ford’s offensive opinions “could become a distraction from our continuing messages of inclusion and respect.” Dearborn’s population is about one-third Arab-American, according to the New York Times.
The article was published online on Deadline Detroit.
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