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History of Motown

Motown's history is shown in relationship to world history. Click each year along the timeline to see how the two synched up.

Motown reportedly projects $30 million in gross sales.

Motown has five major labels – Tamla, Motown, Gordy, Soul and V.I.P.

Stevie Wonder tours Europe.

Martha and the Vandellas record “Jimmy Mack” on the Gordy label.

Diana Ross & the Supremes perform at Expo 67, the group’s name changes to reflect Diana as lead.

Thurgood Marshall is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Lyndon Johnson.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., records the album “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam” on Motown’s Black Forum record label and speaks out against the war in New York. More than 150,000 people protest war in Washington, D.C.

Detroit, Michigan, one of the worst riots in United States history begins on 12th Street in the predominantly African American inner city (43 killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned). Race riots also occur in Newark, New Jersey, Washington, DC and Tampa, Florida.

Carl B. Stokes is elected mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, becoming the first African American mayor of a major United States city.

25th Amendment to the United States Constitution enacted.