FLINT, Mich.—Before its faucets ran brown, before its residents were poisoned by lead, before it was Murdertown USA, Flint, Michigan was Vehicle City. Everyone in Flint has a story about General Motors. Flint is where GM was born more than 100 years ago. It rose a GM company town, home to scores of car plants in the area over the decades. It boomed in GM’s earliest years before World War II, saw the creation of the modern auto labor movement, and for decades was a place where working class people could find good-paying jobs. But Flint fell alongside GM too, both as plants closed and jobs moved overseas and the city’s own tax base eroded when GM moved outside Flint proper to its suburbs—moves subsidized by Flint itself for the sake of its largest and most vital employer. In building a city around GM to thrive, Flint laid the foundation for the conditions of the city’s water crisis—which began three years ago this week—to explode. And emails obtained by Jalopnik through open records requests show GM’s water problems were far more extensive than previously disclosed, including issues at its assembly plant in the city that have gone unreported until now. Gladyes Williamson has stories about GM too. The 63-year-old Buick retiree’s stories are about how her Flint house is now nearly worthless, how her hair fell out, and how her own grandchildren won’t come see her anymore for fear of being poisoned. “This is about poverty and the working class… [Read full story]
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