farlane PRO 2:21pm, 22 July 2008
I posted something on Absolute Michigan this morning about the Detroit Riots:

I'm wondering what folks think about things 41 years later. As I was searching out links and resources for the article, I was struck by how small the photographic record is. I thought that the State of Michigan's record was particularly abysmal.

If you have any links or photos to add, please post them here or ever at Absolute Michigan.
DetroitDerek Photography ( ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ) PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by DetroitDerek Photography ( ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ) (member) 7 years ago
When I started researching Detroit history a few years ago , I found it interesting to find that their had been 3 major riots ( 1863, 1943, 1967 - with a few smaller ones such as 1941 ) in Detroit. Because of my age, I really only knew about a lot of the misinformation that was spread about the riots of 1967. While there is still a lot of negative fallout from this last riot ( Detroit is still somewhat "divided" to this day because of it ) I was glad that in the last year they FINALLY stopped calling the riots of 1967 "Race Riots", because they weren't ( while you could effectively argue that the other 2 definetly were ). I've been in Detroit since 1972, and it almost feels that Detroit is really finally starting to heal from these wounds now more than it has in the past. The news coverage last year and this has concentrated on a much wider spectrum of what caused the events, what happened during the riot, and the full effect on the area/people afterwards. I'm glad you posted this article Andy on this still sensitive subject, and hope Detroiters ( and Michiganders in general ) can continue to move forward together.
kelley girl 7 years ago
I am not intending on "rocking the boat", but I do wonder why some communities band together in times of turmoil or danger, while other communities turn on one another, attacking businesses that serve their communities, burning down their own neighborhoods.
I see it everyday in the areas that I teach in and can't help but wonder why anyone would turn on their neighbors, there's so much more power in unity.

I did find an interesting article here www.detroit1701.org/Start1967Riot.html .
¥∑Ñ$kŸ 7 years ago
Derek, I think because you live in Detroit, this may contribute to your views that the City is finally starting to heal. An open mind allows you to disregard stereotypes and such. I live and work in the suburbs and believe me, there is plenty of stereotypes and fear thriving in the 'burbs of the big bad D. Like kelley girl, don't wanna start something, but...them's the facts.
just_riaz 7 years ago
Kelley: perhaps it's not about certain communities but rather individuals of a common age-group or personality-type or perhaps even pertaining to a socioeconomic factor (eg: those who have been laid-off in a given month) who seem to be involved when individual aggression manifests as mass-effect.

I am an outsider living in Detroit for the last three years. I was living in downtown Detroit (near the Fischer Building) for a good year or so. I'd get disgruntled with friends who would avoid learning a little more about metro Detroit up-close and stick to activities in the 'burbs. But then again, I come from Karachi - an urban jungle in many dimensions.
kelley girl 7 years ago
When I say "communities" perhaps I should clarify. I have seen neighbors who share a neighborhood and community shops, vandalize, harm or cause trouble in the very place they live.
Our school, which does a lot for the community, is frequently a target. Our computers where stolen and found at a home of a former student in the neighborhood. Our cars have been vandalized, tires stolen and broken into by siblings of the children we teach.
I do see past the stereotypes and have great hope for my students, but I can't help but wonder why there is such a lack of unity in some communities.
I grew up in Rosedale Park, in Detroit. We were a close community, watching out for eachother, taking care of eachother, working to report crime and fight it, and supported our local businesses. We had huge block parties and neighborhood associations to create a sense of family, unity and community.
Some communities in Detroit are taking back thier neighborhoods and the sense of unity and community, such as Brightmoore, but it's a huge task and they face a lot of resistance by people who have grown used to doing what they want, how they want and when they want.
I love Detroit, I want to see it come back, both downtown and the neighborhoods. I want there to be safe, strong communities for families and schools.
daycoppens 7 years ago
I'm guessing that there isn't a whole lot of photographs taken of the riots - other than the newspapers, etc - probably because the people in or around the rioting were thinking of other things, like their safety, to stop and take a picture. Though I think there must have been some photo enthusiasts taking some.
This happened before my time, but my Mom mentioned seeing the National Guard drive past our house en route and my Aunt & Uncle were living in the area near the riot and my Dad picked up the family and brought them to our house until it was conisidered safe to go back. Dad didn't take any pictures, but he did mention seeing a lot of looting.
I agree with a lot of what has been said, and to be honest the REPORTED crime rate in Detroit ( when taken into account the high crime also in Flint/Saginaw ) has also had a huge effect on those who live outside of Detroit and their perception of our city ( even more than the riots in my opinion ), without even taking a step inside of it. I am not going to pretend that there isn't a lot more work that still needs to be done, probably more than anyone would honestly admit to themselves. The current scandels within the Detroit Governing body ( governor, council, take your pick ) certainly do not help at all.
kelley girl Posted 7 years ago. Edited by kelley girl (moderator) 7 years ago
Derek....don't forget the board of ed. in Detroit....

While I mention the school district, I must say, even they have embraced a practice of division. While some education on African heritage is important, the district has adopted an African Centered education, which tends to stereotype whites (we live in sub-urbs with big back yards), Mexicans (usually grubby-faced on a farm), and Asians (working in rice fields), and children (which according to the book, are all African American) in Detroit can walk or take the city bus to local stores or enjoy Belle Isle, according to the social studies books we teach from. This type of "teaching" does nothing to improve race relations.
I think we should all get together, hold hands, and sing the theme song to "Diff'rent Strokes" . We need some healing, dammit.
kelley girl 7 years ago
Or perhaps We are the World, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jcrwu6WGoMs ?
LindaB. 7 years ago
I just came across this page in researching the night clubs I talked about in the thread about Detroit History Resources...how odd that one of the bars I was looking for had a connection to one of the deaths during the riots.

Interesting article - what bar were you talking about?
taxing angel 7 years ago
As a 12 yr old during the '67 riots it was a very scary thing. My grandfather worked for the DPW during that time and lived in Detroit, our family lived at 8 1/2 mile and Gratiot. The National Guard everywhere, the helecopters flying day and night, the Amory on 8 Mile busy, People in a panic. Having to pick up my grandmother from her home and only being able to do that between certain hours when we were allowed on the streets, when things got crazy everyone went up north to the cabin until my grandfather called to let us know it was safe to come home. The destruction that it did to the city, at least from the view of a DPW worker was devistating.
buckshot.jones PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by buckshot.jones (member) 7 years ago
The 1967 riots were a big thing as a kid. I posted a personal note on how I remembered that time in the description on the following shot of the 12th and Claremont corner. WSU I am sure has resources on the topic. You might want to search the Algeirs Hotel Incident to find additional information.
flash point
LindaB. Posted 7 years ago. Edited by LindaB. (member) 7 years ago
Derek, the Hobby Bar on Linwood is one of the ones I am researching and found out someone was shot trying to break into it during the riots.
JKissnHug - Busy Watching Osprey PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by JKissnHug - Busy Watching Osprey (member) 7 years ago
Perhaps the lack of photographic record was due to a curfew that was put in place, and the presence of the National Guard that was patrolling the area and the inner ring suburbs. There was a lot of random shooting going on in the city. If you were on the street you were risking your life.

I remember the riots, the smell of the smoke, the news coverage invoking panic and fear, the National Guard patrolling Woodward and Eight Mile in Ferndale. Tanks driving down our street and up and down Woodward. The thriving Livernois business district was being looted and then burned down and there seemed to be no end to the advance of the fires. We were not allowed on the streets after dark. Our parents kept us in the house during the day so they could keep a watchful eye on us. Nobody moved, and many evacuated their children to areas north of the city. It was a very tense time and a very sad time in the slow destruction of the city of Detroit.
MikeRyu 7 years ago
82nd airborne made a jump in the city... I met a guy down at Bragg, Master Sargent Jeeter who was part of the air assault... I don't recall the dz but I remember being pretty surprised.. It was one of the parks..
LindaB. Posted 7 years ago. Edited by LindaB. (member) 7 years ago
I found some photos here images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://atdetroit.net/foru...

It's a forum of sorts but scan half way down the page and then 3/4 of the way down are more.

Also more photos here, some excellent shots.

color me blue PRO 7 years ago
Yes Derek I agree that they were not "Race Riots".
My brother (who is white) was living on 12th st. during the riots and he told me he never feared for his life! But all people around there liked him because they were bringing color tvs , radios,electric guitars and amps pretty much anything that wasnt nailed down to him to sell!! Now I am not proud of that ,but it is what it is.....and there has always been a touch of larceny in my family.....ha ha ha! Oh wait thats not funny is it?
*Ann Gordon PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by *Ann Gordon (member) 7 years ago
I remember going to Detroit (from Livonia) after Mass, during the riots. My dad drove my mom, sis(8 years old) and me in the 1964 Ford Fairlane (white) to the city. We saw the National Guard - we did not exit the vehicle. I don't remember much else, I was pretty young! I do remember we wore our Sunday Church dresses to go to see the riots.
My dad was a pressman for the Detroit News from 1940's until he retired in 1984.
LindaB. 7 years ago
I was just shy of 11 years old but I do remember the phone call from my uncle near Flint asking if we would like to come and stay there for a while. We lived in Royal Oak and there was a fear that the riot would work its way up Woodward...far fetched, I know, but that was the thinking of my parents at the time. We stayed put though and I remember driving down on a Sunday morning a few weeks later to see the damage, like it was a field trip or something, very strange when I think about it now.
buckshot.jones PRO 7 years ago
In 67 0r 68 the newspapers were on strike. I think 67? That may account for the lack of photgraphic records. The curfews as mentioned earlier had an impact. My grandparents had just moved from W. Phildelphia and Cass to Livonia at the time. My Grandpa was curfewed in at Kelsey Hayes on McGraw and my Grandma would listen to her police scanner radio worried as looting spread up Grand River.
BarGal 7 years ago
The lack of photos back then is probably due to a few reasons...the people being ordered off the streets, National Guard patrols, fear, curfew and back then people didn't have digital cameras and camera phones.
kelley girl 7 years ago
PLNoleJOE 7 years ago
The Detroit News archive has 57 photos.

There's a lot of film footage, but less photographs. And as I've received a few emails on this subject, please understand that I am not trying to downplay the amount of fear that this event caused ( and the trickle down effect that went into Pontiac, Flint, and Saginaw ). There was/is a lot of negative associated with those events and the years that followed ( even to some extent still existing today ). I am merely trying to bring a little diffrerent angle to this issue. All of the riots were unfortunate, and do to the tensions of the time possibly unavoidable ( I am trying to research the riot of 1863 and am having trouble so I can't comment too much on that one ) . I am merely hoping that we as Detroiters have learned something from the actions of the past ( again Mayors, Council Boards, TV Reporters, and Education Boards possibly excluded from this statement ) and turn towards each other instead of away.
kelley girl 7 years ago
The Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment District generally surrounds Harmonie Park, along Randolph, East Grand River, and Centre Streets between Gratiot and Madison. Plans for the District envision an African-American cultural influence to honor the legacy of Paradise Valley, with an appeal that crosses cultures in its composition of commercial, retail, entertainment, educational and cultural offerings.
Essentially they are going to name a strip mall Paradise Valley, just as Highland Park named a strip mall the Model T Plaza.
vanessamiller PRO 7 years ago
ahem: i thought it was interesting.. that the 67 riots started on 12th street (i'm 90% sure) which is now rosa parks.... when police broke up an after hours spot.. the crowd was incised by the police brutality and a recent death of a woman in the community..
when this summer there was yet another raid on rosa parks at another after hours hot spot.. The ACLU has taken on the case, apparently during the event detroit police forced kids to the floor by stepping on thier backs..and towed about 40 cars in the area. everyone there was issued tickets for trespassing and other things... food for thought.
ExcuseMySarcasm Posted 7 years ago. Edited by ExcuseMySarcasm (member) 7 years ago
Heh, that was the raid at, um, shit, what was that hipster art place called, yeah, CAID. I caught one of the founders on Detroit Today talking about how the cops towed the cars and left like 100 kids between the ages of like 18 and 22 stranded on the streets of Detroit in the middle of the night.

I am with Derek on this one, both my father and my lover's stepfather were living/working in Detroit during the '67 riots. And it was not a race riot. Her step dad talks about seeing two black men stealing a refrigerator out of a store for a little old white lady. It was about price gouging at the grocery stores as well as the aforementioned police activities. My father was working in a grocery store during the riots, and he mentions being sniped at by someone across Woodward.
buckshot.jones PRO 7 years ago
1967 started with a raid of an after hours party. The police were badly understaffed that night due to vacations, etc. The party was much larger than expected. It started as something of a drunken brawl and the police simply did not have the staff to properly contain it. Once ignited, a great deal of frustration with the police and their behavior in the black community over the years fueled the rage. Once thing it was not was a race riot in the sense of blacks fighting whites. While centered in largely black neighborhoods, whites and blacks were looting. At least that is may understanding of the event.
It was a sad event, that gave an opportunity to release way too much frustration towards anyone and everyone. Now that Kwame is spending a night behind bars, I hope that the tensions in the area can stay in check. I'm hearing the whole suburbs versus the city conversation too frequently these days on the radio, etc.
BarGal 7 years ago
I have an original "Special Report" Section from the Detroit News on the Riots from August 1967 that my Mom saved. The paper is crumbling pretty badly.

I emailed a couple of people at the Detroit News asking permission to post copies of those pages on my blog, but I have not heard back from them yet....IF I ever do hear back and get their permission, I'll share them with you folks.
¥∑Ñ$kŸ 7 years ago
I have a book (rare find) about it...gotta unearth it somewhere...
had a lotta pics too
ExcuseMySarcasm 7 years ago
Call it fair use and run with it, bar gal.
Dadsdfsdf [deleted] 7 years ago
It's important to note that the 1967 riots were not the beginning of Detroit's decline but the last straw so to speak.

Alot has been placed on the riots as being the number one cause for the downfall of the city, but that is far from the truth.

Economically the city experienced a loss and a decline in residency since the late 40's for much of the same reason as today. If you notice most of the close suburbs, especially north west of the city came alive in the mid 50's. Oak park was once the fastest growing city in the country and Southfield established its first police department. The kicker is the racial tension that has always existed in urban cities with mixed communities and thats not exclusive to Detroit.

Was it a race riot? Yes, but most people don't realize what that means. A "race" riot is not simply attacking anyone of a different color. It's primarily a protest of racial discrimination and a sense of oppression.Most of the time these situations are sparked by seemingly small events. But, in reality no one would think that simply because of a police raid.....a full blown riot would start.

It should also be noted that 2 weeks previous there was a riot in New Jersey. That was also seen as a race riot and is explored in depth in the documentary film Revolution '67.

And then a few days later riots occurred in Washington DC

So, it was more of a tempered climate that sparked these events all over the country.
buckshot.jones PRO 7 years ago
Alex- excellent point on the riot being a part of the decline, not the cause of it. I will say that it added fuel to the decline for two reasons:
1. It acceleerated white flight which depressed rela estate value, which created the situation of ecay we see in the city today.
2. It crippled a vibrant black community and laid to waste a large section of commerical activity.

I really struggle to find anything good that came out of the riot, other than a more intergrated police force.
Some very good points have been brought up in this thread.
mbenyas PRO 7 years ago
My dad shot some photos on assignment during the riots don't know where they are now. In the same timeframe, he also did a picture story for a magazine about the church of the black madonna that a historian for the church made me aware of. The shots are classic B & W photojournalism of the era.

I instantly went to my favorite used book website and a couple sellers are selling books about the Algiers Motel incident for $1.

I was 10 years old during the Riots and remember that we had to make our weekly trips to our Grandparent's house before dark. They lived in Southfield at 12/Telegraph.

I have a collection of books about true crime and historical events from the Detroit area. They're not all that hard to find. I may have to add one of these to my collection.
Thanks for the info - I'll have to check it out.
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