A sea of African American automotive executives poured into the COBO Riverview Ballroom for the DRIVEN gala during the Detroit auto show to pay homage and celebrate the frequently mind-blowing, if often overlooked, contributions of African Americans to the auto industry.
Real Times Media CEO Hiram Jackson, the brainchild behind the 2nd annual “DRIVEN: A Tribute to African American Achievement in the Automotive Industry,” poignantly reminded the predominantly African American audience that blacks have always played an integral role in this all-important genre since the likes of Garrett Morgan, the Cleveland native who invented the traffic light in the early 1900s, and goes through to today.
The DRIVEN publication, also produced by Who’s Who Publishing, is a 300-page book features compelling articles about African Americans in the automotive industry. The book also profiles movers and shakers, as well as up-and-coming African Americans at all levels of management. Rev. Jesse Jackson, the founder of the RainbowPUSH and the Automotive Summit conference, provided a keynote address while comedian-actor Jonathan Slocumb buoyed the celebratory soiree by keeping the audience in stitches throughout the affair.
The DRIVEN publication and event were both punctuated by a tribute to African American women who’ve risen to positions of power and influence in the male-dominated industry, including: Vivian Pickard, the president of the General Motors Foundation; Alicia B. Davis, the only black woman automotive plant manager and vehicle chief engineer at GM’s Orion Assembly Plant; Crystal Windham, GM’s first ever African American female design director; and Felicia Fields, the highest-ranking black woman the automotive world as the Group VP for human resource at Ford Motor Company, who also penned the DRIVEN introduction.
Rodney O’Neal provided the foreward to the book. He is the CEO and President of Delphi Automotive LLC, the globe’s leading producer of electronics and technology to the automotive and commercial vehicle industry.
Car lovers and connoisseurs as well as history enthusiasts can purchase their copies of the book by logging onto the Real Times Media and Who’s Who Publishing websites.