the same time learning how to make financially sound car-buying (and life) decisions. Where else could students get this type of exposure or connection to the auto industry so far outside of Detroit and California? We knew that we were making history or so we thought.
However, little did we know that the good folks from Selma were going to take the students of the automotive industry (Hudson and I) on an emotional journey, reconnecting us to the Voting Rights Movement.
More specifically, Hudson, who was living Dr. King’s dream by working for a Korean company that had allowed him to spread his wings, designing a breath-taking, award-winning vehicle in a plant employed mostly by people of color, was in for a ride too. Again, as I reiterated several times in preparing for this road trip to all who would listen, had it not been for Hudson’s ‘keen eye for design’ Hyundai might not be on track to become one of the top-selling automakers in America today.
Furthermore, the plant in Montgomery, which is the automaker’s only U.S. plant (besides the one that builds Kia’s in West Point, Georgia) probably wouldn’t be adding a third shift to churn out more of the vehicles that Hudson had a heavy hand in designing, the Sonata and the Elantra. In fact, it was reported in the Detroit Free Press earlier this week that over 20,000 people applied for over 800 jobs that would soon be available at Hyundai’s Manufacturing Plant in Montgomery. Hudson’s design was impacting the lives of families and generations to come.
As a result of Hudson helping to employ thousands of folks in this down economy, who both build and supply parts to the vehicles that he has a hand in designing coupled with changing the negative image we often see of young African American males, Mayor Evans of Selma, Alabama, proclaimed Wednesday, May 9, 2012 as officially being ‘Andre Hudson Day.’ Just think: this young brother has not had to compromise his values, shuffle a ball (which there is nothing wrong with that as long as there is an end goal in sight) or to set out to become a (non) reality star to make his community proud (or a name for himself). Hudson is just quietly changing the face of the industry and our image of African American males by just literally using his God given talent.
Well, stay tuned for part-two, as I take you on our personal photo journey of how the hospitable folks of Selma reconnected us, more specifically Hudson, to the Voting Rights Movement. This amazing experience was almost like having Harvard Professor Henry Gates, who is infamous for reconnecting high-profile folks to their roots, taking us on a personal journey to our past.
For part-two click here
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.