Detroit — The shipyards that employed hundreds of slaves were awarded a $25 million contract to build a ship for a slave-trading company, but the contract was ultimately rescinded after the company sued, saying the contract violated the Civil Rights Act.
The Detroit Shipbuilders’ Association sued the company, which is based in North Carolina, claiming it violated the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its contract with the U.S. Navy required the company to provide an employment opportunity for slaves.
The company sued the Navy, arguing it had the right to terminate the contract and to stop using slave labor in the future.
But the suit is currently pending in U.C. Davis, which means it has not yet been determined whether the contract with Detroit Shipbuilding, the nation’s largest shipbuilding company, is valid.
Detroit Shipbuilding is one of the nation’t largest shipbuilders.
It also is the largest employer of African-American workers.
The company employs nearly 1,000 people in Detroit and about 700 in Southwestern Michigan.
The Associated Press first reported the case.