Who was Rev. Bradford?
"The Forgotten Man's Hour"
Father Charles Coughlin
The Ford Hunger March
The River Rouge Plant
African Americans and the Success of the CIO
Lewis Bradford
Harry Bennett
The Battle of the Overpass
Layoffs and Intimidation
Muriel Lester
Lewis is Attacked
Lewis Dies
Locating the Autopsy
A City Mourns
Who Knew?
UAW Wins at Ford


Muriel Lester Tries to Speak with Henry Ford, November 1937

Just after the city elections, Muriel Lester, a Socialist from England, and founder of the Fellowship of Reconciliation - came to Detroit to hold meetings. She had been in China during the infamous Rape of Nanking the previous summer. She was traveling the world to bring attention to atrocities committed by the Japanese. Lester was now on her way to Tokyo. She commented at the time, "I shall try to make Americans see their own share of the guilt. They are making large profits out of supplying the means of death and torture." (p. 163 Mother of World Peace; The Life of Muriel Lester, by Jill Wallis, 1993).

It's not clear that Henry Ford was aware of Muriel Lester's attempt to communicate. However, the very next month, the New York Times of December 28, 1937, reported that Ford's chief agent in the Far East just invested 1,000,000 yen in Japanese war bonds. (p. 457, The Legend of Henry Ford, by Keith Sward, 1948). Was this a not-so-subtle response to Lester?

Ella would write later that Lester represented all that Ford and Bennett feared, and had been fighting the previous year. Ella and Lewis had an interview with Muriel Lester at the end of November, 1937. Lester was late. She said, I was trying to arrange to speak with Henry Ford, with no luck. Bradford said he knew people in the front office, and spent the better part of an afternoon trying to set up a meeting between Henry Ford and Lester. "This was a fatal mistake," Ella wrote.

Ella received a threatening call at 1:30 a.m. that same night. Almost paralyzed with fear, Ella waited for Lewis to come, feeling that he might never arrive. When he did, Ella told him of the call. Lewis said there was nothing to do about it except forget it.

Clip from "I Got A Bad, Bad Feeling", soloist: Stephanie Pascaris.

Clip from "I Cannot Be Silent", soloist: Mike Thornton.

The "Forgotten" Story * Performances * News * Orders
About Us * Contact Us * Home