Forgotten: The Murder at the Ford Rouge Plant
Music and Lyrics by Steve Jones
The jazz/blues opera, chronicles the unionization of the Ford Motor Company. The story centers on the questionable 1937 death of union organizer and Methodist minister Lewis Bradford, a distant relative of the opera’s composer, Steve Jones.
Set in the 1930s during the struggle to unionize the Ford Motor Company, Forgotten is based on the life of Reverend Lewis Bradford. Bradford and his wife Ella arrived in Detroit in the 1930s, he worked at the Howard Street Mission on the west side of downtown. When the family needed funds for medical care for their daughter, little Ella, Bradford went to work at the Ford Motor Company River Rouge plant in Dearborn.
There he tried to help workers by urging Henry Ford to treat his employees fairly. Shortly afterwards, in November 1937, Bradford was found unconscious in a remote part of the Rouge plant. He died three days later. Bradford’s widow left Detroit after receiving threats, but Bradford’s story continued to be remembered by his family.
Steve Jones, an award-winning composer, wrote Forgotten in tribute to his great-uncle and to the workers who fought side by side with him for justice in the 1930s. Today, as American workers face new challenges, the story of how labor and people of faith can work together for justice is a lesson that should never be forgotten.
Director: Elise Bryant
Music Director: Bill Meyer
- Keep the Wheels Rolling On
- You’re Gone Again/How Can I explain
- The Forgotten Man’s Hour
- The Hour of Power/Cleanse Ourselves
- I Invented Auto-Love
- The Ford Hunger March
- You’ll Be Like My Son
- I Know the Fear
- When You Organize
- Bradford You Are Dreaming
- It’s About Time
- A New Beauty/Sit Down
- I’m Here For You
- Radio, Guns and Money
- Shake Hands With the Devil
- Hour of Power/Cleanse Ourselves (Reprise)
- We Speak Louder Than Machines
- The Stakes Are High
- Battle of the Overpass
- I Got a Bad, Bad Feeling
- I Cannot Be Silent
- Let’s Take a Walk/We All Will Forget
- I’m Here For You (Reprise)
- We Remember You