By Stanley Goldberg, Dearborn Heights
Your articles regarding the actions by Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly to halt distribution of the Dearborn Historian detailing how Henry Ford spread prejudice regarding Jews certainly were well documented.
Mayor O’Reilly has created greater awareness for this facet of Ford’s life than if he had not intervened at all. At least three publications have reported on this story: the Detroit Free Press, the Michigan Journal (the student newspaper at the University of Michigan-Dearborn) and now the Detroit Jewish News. It is certainly a story that needs to be told so that we are aware of the history as we hopefully move forward in handling our relationships with all groups.
As someone who lives in a community that is adjacent to Dearborn, one is surrounded by many reminders of the magnitude and influence of Henry Ford. One can be in awe of his accomplishments and what this has meant not only for this area but for our country as well. But I have always tempered this understanding with knowledge of his deep and long-standing anti-Semitism.
As a Jew, this has understandably left me with very ambivalent feelings regarding Ford. Publication of the Dearborn Historian would have been one way to counter Ford’s bigotry as it would have reminded us that past prejudice challenges us to work toward creating a better world.