Three Kids from Detroit
The Brewster Projects
The city of Detroit was an empowering place for many black families to live during the 1950s. Automobile factories provided plenty of jobs for hardworking men and women. Black parents were able to raise families in middle-class neighborhoods, and they had access to good schools and housing.
Did You Know?
The Supremes recorded on the Motown label, which also represented other extraordinary artists. Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, and Martha and the Vandellas were all Motown recording stars. Together these black musicians stormed the pop music charts and changed music history forever.
When they met, all three girls were living in the Brewster Projects in Detroit. Like many public housing projects, the Brewster Projects developed a reputation for crime and danger, but when Mary, Flo, and Diane were young, it was still a safe community for many families. It wasn't a perfect life—there were street gangs and a lot of poverty—but it was an affordable option for many families that were struggling financially.