About three years into the We Make History experience, a friend shared with me some information which had been previously unknown to me and which was quite intriguing. Apparently there had been someone else, about eighty years before, who had concerns, a vision and goals which in some regards mirrored my own.

That someone was Henry Ford.

By the 1920s Henry Ford was one of the wealthiest men in America and was a household name. His foresight, determination and innovation had made him the driving force in the automotive industry during the first decades of the 20th century. Ford's "assembly line" made the mass production of reasonably priced automobiles a reality and thus transformed them from being the toys of the rich to being practical transportation for the common man. The Model T gained a meteoric rise in widespread popularity and became America's car of choice.

Ford had achieved the pinnacle of personal and financial success.

But Ford had a social conscience as well as business savvy. Looking at the cultural impact of the "Jazz Age" and the "Roaring Twenties" Ford believed he saw American culture taking a dangerous turn, and one which was negatively impacting young people in particular. Noticing the attractions of the "speakeasy", and jazz oriented nightclubs and dance halls he settled on the promotion of a more wholesome alternative.

Ford was aware that there had been a time when social dancing, often of a community nature, had been the norm but that the practice had all but died out shortly after the Civil War. Ford began rounding up old dance masters and musicians who were in their 70s, 80s and 90s and bringing them to Detroit. His next step was to hold dance classes where his executives and their wives had to learn these old time social dances from the elderly instructors. The dances proved to be very popular and Ford embarked on his grand quest. Namely to use old time social dance to turn the culture back in a better direction.

Henry Ford put the word out to communities, schools and organizations around the country that he was prepared to finance the return of social dancing and would personally foot the bill for any who would take him up on his offer of bringing it to their community. Ford was as good as his word and soon had several trains speeding around the country each with a team of musicians and a dance master on board.

By all accounts, Henry Ford did indeed succeed in stirring up considerable interest and renewal in old time social dancing for a number of years before the Depression and World War II hit.

At a point when I was very busily working, investing and planning in order to continue building a vision called We Make History with ultimately huge dreams, you can imagine my amazement to discover that another person in another time had developed and acted upon similar ideas for similar reasons.

We Make History aims to promote multi-generational dance and social interaction through making use of the arts in a positive and inspirational way thus strengthening families, recovering our heritage and ultimately lifting our culture to a higher level. We intend actually changing our society for the better. By doing this ... We Make History.

By the way, Mr. Ford, we are planning to build a Center for Heritage, Education & The Arts. Perhaps you could help us out a bit. It will require a few million but I don't need to tell you of all people that it is a worthwhile investment. :o)

Your servant,

Lord Scott



The We Make History Homepage

More About We Make History

A Center for Heritage, Education & The Arts