12th Street riot
Overview
The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

, that began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967. The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as a blind pig, on the corner of 12th and Clairmount streets on the city's Near West Side. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riot
Riot
A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized often by what is thought of as disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are thought to be typically chaotic and...

s in United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit's 1943 race riot
Detroit Race Riot (1943)
The Detroit Race Riot broke out in Detroit, Michigan in June 1943 and lasted for three days before Federal troops restored order. The rioting between blacks and whites began on Belle Isle on 20 June 1943 and continued until 22 June, killing 34, wounding 433, and destroying property valued at $2...

, which occurred 24 years earlier.

To help end the disturbance, Governor George Romney
George W. Romney
George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

 ordered the Michigan National Guard
Michigan National Guard
The Michigan National Guard consists of the Michigan Army National Guard and the Michigan Air National Guard.-Units:Michigan Army National Guard units include:* Joint Forces Headquarters, Lansing, MI* 177th Military Police Brigade, Taylor, MI...

 into Detroit, and President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 sent in Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 troops.
Encyclopedia
The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

, that began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967. The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as a blind pig, on the corner of 12th and Clairmount streets on the city's Near West Side. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riot
Riot
A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized often by what is thought of as disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are thought to be typically chaotic and...

s in United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit's 1943 race riot
Detroit Race Riot (1943)
The Detroit Race Riot broke out in Detroit, Michigan in June 1943 and lasted for three days before Federal troops restored order. The rioting between blacks and whites began on Belle Isle on 20 June 1943 and continued until 22 June, killing 34, wounding 433, and destroying property valued at $2...

, which occurred 24 years earlier.

To help end the disturbance, Governor George Romney
George W. Romney
George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

 ordered the Michigan National Guard
Michigan National Guard
The Michigan National Guard consists of the Michigan Army National Guard and the Michigan Air National Guard.-Units:Michigan Army National Guard units include:* Joint Forces Headquarters, Lansing, MI* 177th Military Police Brigade, Taylor, MI...

 into Detroit, and President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 sent in Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 troops. The result was 43 dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed. The scale of the riot was second only to the New York City Draft Riots, which took place during the U.S. Civil War and the 1992 Los Angeles riots
1992 Los Angeles riots
The 1992 Los Angeles Riots or South Central Riots, also known as the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest were sparked on April 29, 1992, when a jury acquitted three white and one hispanic Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King following a...

. The riot was prominently featured in the news media, with live television coverage, extensive newspaper reporting, and extensive stories in Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 and Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

magazines. The Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Free Press is the largest daily newspaper in Detroit, Michigan, USA. The Sunday edition is entitled the Sunday Free Press. It is sometimes informally referred to as the "Freep"...

won a Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 for its coverage.

Chronology

The crimes reported to police included looting, arson, and sniping and took place in many different areas of Detroit: on the west side of Woodward Avenue, extending from the 12th Street neighborhood to Grand River Avenue and as far south as Michigan Avenue
Michigan Avenue
Michigan Avenue may refer to:* Michigan Avenue * Michigan Avenue , a designation for much of both current and former U.S. Route 12 in Michigan...

 and Trumbull, near Tiger Stadium. East of Woodward, the area around East Grand Boulevard
Grand Boulevard (Detroit)
Grand Boulevard is a thoroughfare in Detroit, Michigan, running east to west in some places and north to south in other places. It once constituted the city limits of Detroit. Grand Boulevard is named the "Berry Gordy, Jr...

, which goes east/west then north/south to Belle Isle
Belle Isle Park
Belle Isle is a island park in the Detroit River, between the United States mainland and Canada, managed by the Detroit Recreation Department. It is connected to the rest of Detroit, Michigan by the MacArthur Bridge...

, was involved. However, the entire city was affected between Sunday, July 23, and Thursday, July 27.

The city enacted a citywide curfew
Curfew
A curfew is an order specifying a time after which certain regulations apply. Examples:# An order by a government for certain persons to return home daily before a certain time...

, prohibited sales of alcohol and firearms, and business activity downtown was informally curtailed in recognition of the serious civil unrest engulfing sections of the city. While both blacks and whites participated in the rioting, it was widely perceived as a race riot
Race riot
A race riot or racial riot is an outbreak of violent civil disorder in which race is a key factor. A phenomenon frequently confused with the concept of 'race riot' is sectarian violence, which involves public mass violence or conflict over non-racial factors.-United States:The term had entered the...

.

Sunday, July 23

In the early hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967, Detroit police officers raiding the unlicensed club expected to find only two dozen people inside, but instead there were 82 people celebrating the return of two local veterans from the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. Despite the many people, police decided to arrest everyone present. A crowd soon gathered around the establishment, protesting as patrons were led away.

After the last police car left, a group of black men, after having observed the mayhem of the incident, began looting an adjacent clothing store. Shortly after, full-scale rioting began throughout the neighborhood. At 7 am, the police made their first looting arrest. State police, Wayne County
Wayne County, Michigan
-History:Wayne County was one of the first counties formed when the Northwest Territory was organized. It was named for the American general "Mad Anthony" Wayne. It originally encompassed the entire area of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, as well as small sections that are now part of northern...

 sheriffs, and the Michigan National Guard were alerted, but because it was a summer Sunday, it took hours for the Police Commissioner Ray Girardin
Ray Girardin
Ray Girardin is an American actor. he studied acting at Boston University on the GI Bill, got his Equity card at the Charles Playhouse, then went off to New York where he did a lot of stage work and met his wife Marlene. With a move to Hollywood, he found himself in front of cameras at MGM working...

 to assemble full police manpower. On Sunday, 12th Street was described as having a "carnival atmosphere" as police watched looting but rarely arrested people, partially because of their inadequate numbers and partially because of the belief that the riot would be localized and would soon end. The pastor of Grace Episcopal Church along 12th Street reported that he saw a "gleefulness in throwing stuff and getting stuff out of buildings" The police conducted several sweeps along 12th Street, which proved ineffective because of the unexpectedly large numbers of people on the street.

The local news media avoided reporting on the rioting so as not to inspire copy-cat violence, but the mayhem expanded to other parts of the city, with theft and destruction being carried out beyond the initial locations. By Sunday afternoon, news had spread, and people attending events like a Fox Theater Motown review and Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team located in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in as part of the Western League. The Tigers have won four World Series championships and have won the American League pennant...

 baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 game were alerted to avoid certain areas of the city. After the game, Tigers left-fielder Willie Horton
Willie Horton (baseball player)
Willie Wattison Horton is a former left fielder and designated hitter in Major League Baseball who played for six American League teams, primarily the Detroit Tigers. He hit 20 or more home runs seven times, and his 325 career home runs ranked sixth among AL right-handed hitters when he retired...

, a black Detroit resident who had grown up not far from the club, drove to the riot area and stood on a car in the middle of the crowd while still in baseball uniform. Despite his impassioned pleas, he could not calm the mob.

Monday, July 24

Michigan State Police
Michigan State Police
The Michigan State Police is the state police agency for the state of Michigan. The MSP is a full service law enforcement agency with its sworn members having full police powers statewide....

 were called into Detroit to assist an overwhelmed Detroit police force. As the violence spread, the police began to make numerous arrests to clear rioters off the streets. Many constitutionally guaranteed rights were ignored, and detainees were housed in makeshift jails. Beginning Monday, people were detained without being brought to Recorder's Court
Recorder's court
The Recorder's Court, in Detroit, Michigan was a state court of limited jurisdiction which had, for most of its history, exclusive jurisdiction over traffic and ordinance matters, and over all felony cases committed in the City of Detroit...

 for arraignment
Arraignment
Arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal complaint in the presence of the defendant to inform the defendant of the charges against him or her. In response to arraignment, the accused is expected to enter a plea...

. Some gave false names, making the process of identifying those arrested difficult because of the need to take and check fingerprints. Windsor
Windsor, Ontario
Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor...

 Police were asked to help check fingerprints.

Police began to take pictures of looters arrested, the arresting officer, and the stolen goods, to speed up the process and postpone the paperwork. More than eighty percent of those arrested were African American, and about twelve percent were women. Michigan National Guard troopers were not authorized to arrest people, so State Troopers and Detroit Police made all arrests, including sweeping up many people who were simply watching the looting.

Michigan Governor George Romney
George W. Romney
George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

 and President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 initially disagreed about the legality of sending in Federal troops. Johnson said he could not send Federal troops in without Romney's declaring a "state of insurrection," to meet compliance with the Insurrection Act
Insurrection Act
The Insurrection Act of 1807 is the set of laws that govern the US President's ability to deploy troops within the United States to put down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion. The laws are chiefly contained in - . The general aim is to limit Presidential power as much as possible, relying on...

.

As the historian Sidney Fine
Sidney Fine (historian)
Sidney Fine was a professor of history at the University of Michigan. He authored many books on Frank Murphy, who served successively as mayor of Detroit, governor of Michigan, U.S. attorney general and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and twice the winner...

 details in Violence in the Model City, partisan political issues complicated decisions, as is common in crisis. George Romney was expected to run for the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 presidential nomination in 1968, and President Johnson, a Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, did not want to commit troops solely on Romney's direction. Added to this was Mayor Jerome Cavanagh
Jerome Cavanagh
Jerome Patrick Cavanagh was the mayor of Detroit, Michigan from 1962 to 1970. Initially seen as another John F. Kennedy, his reputation was doomed by the 1967 riots. He was the first mayor to inhabit the Manoogian Mansion, donated to the city by the industrial baron Alex Manoogian.-Early...

's own political and personal clash with Romney. Cavanagh, an Irish Catholic Democrat, was initially reluctant to ask Romney, a Mormon
Mormon
The term Mormon most commonly denotes an adherent, practitioner, follower, or constituent of Mormonism, which is the largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement in restorationist Christianity...

 Republican, for assistance.

The violence escalated throughout Monday, resulting in some 483 fires, 231 incidents reported per hour, and 1800 arrests. Looting and arson were widespread. Black-owned businesses were not spared. One of the first stores looted in Detroit was Hardy's drug store, owned by blacks and known for filling prescriptions on credit. Detroit's leading black-owned clothing store was burned, as was one of the city's best-loved black restaurants. In the wake of the riots, a black merchant said, "you were going to get looted no matter what color you were." Rioters shot at firefighters who were attempting to fight the fires. During the riots, 2,498 rifles and 38 handguns were stolen from local stores. It was obvious that the Detroit and Michigan forces were unable to restore order.

On Monday, U.S. Representative John Conyers
John Conyers
John Conyers, Jr. is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1965 . He is a member of the Democratic Party...

 (D-Michigan), who was against Federal troop deployment, attempted to ease tensions by driving along 12th Street with a loudspeaker asking people to return to their homes. Reportedly, Conyers stood on the hood of the car and shouted through a bullhorn, "We're with you! But, please! This is not the way to do things! Please go back to your homes!" But the crowd refused to listen. Conyers' car was pelted with rocks and bottles.

Tuesday, July 25

Shortly before midnight on Monday, July 24, President Johnson authorized use of Federal troops in compliance with the Insurrection Act of 1807
Insurrection Act
The Insurrection Act of 1807 is the set of laws that govern the US President's ability to deploy troops within the United States to put down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion. The laws are chiefly contained in - . The general aim is to limit Presidential power as much as possible, relying on...

, which authorizes the President to call in armed forces to fight an insurrection in any state against the government. This gave Detroit the distinction of being the only domestic American city to have been occupied by Federal troops three times. The 82nd Airborne
U.S. 82nd Airborne Division
The 82nd Airborne Division is an active airborne infantry division of the United States Army specializing in parachute landing operations. Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division is the primary fighting arm of the XVIII Airborne Corps....

 had earlier been positioned at nearby Selfridge Air Force Base in suburban Macomb County
Macomb County, Michigan
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 788,149 people, 309,203 households, and 210,876 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,640 people per square mile . There were 320,276 housing units at an average density of 667 per square mile...

, along with National Guard troops who were federalized at that time. Starting at 1:30 on Tuesday, July 25, some 8,000 National Guardsmen
United States National Guard
The National Guard of the United States is a reserve military force composed of state National Guard militia members or units under federally recognized active or inactive armed force service for the United States. Militia members are citizen soldiers, meaning they work part time for the National...

 were deployed to quell the disorder. Later their number would be augmented with 4,700 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne, and 360 Michigan State Police
Michigan State Police
The Michigan State Police is the state police agency for the state of Michigan. The MSP is a full service law enforcement agency with its sworn members having full police powers statewide....

.

Chaos continued; the police were overworked and tired. Detroit Police were found to have committed many acts of abuse against both blacks and whites who were in their custody.

Although only 26 of the over 7,000 arrests involved snipers, and not one person accused of sniping was successfully prosecuted, the fear of snipers that precipitated many police searches. The "searching for weapons" caused many homes and vehicles to be scrutinized. Curfew
Curfew
A curfew is an order specifying a time after which certain regulations apply. Examples:# An order by a government for certain persons to return home daily before a certain time...

 violations were also common sparks to police brutality. The Detroit Police's 10th Precinct routinely abused prisoners; as mug shots later proved, many injuries came after booking. Women were stripped and fondled while officers took pictures. An infamous discarded Polaroid
Instant film
Instant film is a type of photographic film first introduced by Polaroid that is designed to be used in an instant camera...

 was plucked from the garbage and ended up on Mayor Cavanagh's desk. White landlords from New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 visiting their building were arrested after a sniper call and beaten so horribly that "their testicles were still black and blue two weeks after the incident."

The most documented event of police brutality was the Algiers Motel Incident. Three African-American men were found dead in a manor house
Manor house
A manor house is a country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor, the lowest unit of territorial organisation in the feudal system in Europe. The term is applied to country houses that belonged to the gentry and other grand stately homes...

-turned-motel at Woodward and Virginia Park known for prostitution
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

. Two white, teenaged cosmetology
Cosmetology
Cosmetology is the study and application of beauty treatment. Branches of specialty including hairstyling, skin care, cosmetics, manicures/pedicures, and electrology....

 school dropouts recently arrived from Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

, were staying in the motel with local African-American men when the police and National Guard responded to a call of shots being fired. Evidence presented later suggested that three Detroit Police officers called out all occupants of the motel to the main lobby, searched them for weapons, threatened to kill them, and threw knives at their feet in a "game" before searching the rooms for weapons. They shot the men later in two of the rooms and their bodies were discovered later. A police confession to the shooting was later covered up. The journalist John Hersey
John Hersey
John Richard Hersey was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and journalist considered one of the earliest practitioners of the so-called New Journalism, in which storytelling devices of the novel are fused with non-fiction reportage...

 published a book about the case, The Algiers Motel Incident
The Algiers Motel Incident
The Algiers Motel Incident is a 1968 true crime book by John Hersey. The book describes an incident which occurred in 1967 in Detroit, Michigan, at about the same time as the racially charged 12th Street Riot...

,
in 1968.

July 26–27

Some analysts believed that violence escalated with the deployment of troops, although they brought rioting under control within 48 hours. Most of the Michigan National Guard were white, while many of the Army troops were black. As a result, the National Guard troops faced more hostility when deployed to the inner city. The National Guard and the Army troops engaged in firefights with locals, resulting in deaths to both locals and the troops. Of the 12 people shot and killed by troops, only one was by a Federal soldier; the Army troops were ordered not to load their weapons except under the direct order of an officer. The Cyrus Vance
Cyrus Vance
Cyrus Roberts Vance was an American lawyer and United States Secretary of State under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1980...

 report made afterward criticized the actions of the National Guard troops, who shot and killed eleven people.

Tanks and machine guns were used in the effort to keep the peace. Film footage and photos that were viewed internationally showed a city on fire, with tanks and combat troops in firefights in the streets.

By Thursday, July 27, sufficient order had returned to the city that officers withdrew ammunition from the National Guardsmen stationed in the riot area and ordered them to sheath their bayonets. Troop withdrawal began on Friday, July 28, the day of the last major fire in the riot. The Army troops were completely withdrawn by Saturday, July 29.

The Detroit riot was a catalyst to violence elsewhere. The state deployed National Guardsmen or state police in five other cities: Pontiac
Pontiac, Michigan
Pontiac is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan named after the Ottawa Chief Pontiac, located within the Detroit metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 59,515. It is the county seat of Oakland County...

, Flint
Flint, Michigan
Flint is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and is located along the Flint River, northwest of Detroit. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the 2010 population to be placed at 102,434, making Flint the seventh largest city in Michigan. It is the county seat of Genesee County which lies in the...

, Saginaw
Saginaw, Michigan
Saginaw is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the seat of Saginaw County. The city of Saginaw was once a thriving lumber town and manufacturing center. Saginaw and Saginaw County lie in the Flint/Tri-Cities region of Michigan...

, Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located on the Grand River about 40 miles east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 774,160 and a combined statistical area, Grand...

, and Toledo
Toledo, Ohio
Toledo is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the State of Michigan...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

. Disturbances were reported in more than two dozen cities.

In Detroit, an estimated 10,000 people participated in the riots, with an estimated 100,000 gathering to watch. Thirty-six hours later, 43 were dead, 33 of whom were black and 10 white. More than 7,200 people were arrested, most of them black. Mayor Jerome Cavanagh
Jerome Cavanagh
Jerome Patrick Cavanagh was the mayor of Detroit, Michigan from 1962 to 1970. Initially seen as another John F. Kennedy, his reputation was doomed by the 1967 riots. He was the first mayor to inhabit the Manoogian Mansion, donated to the city by the industrial baron Alex Manoogian.-Early...

 lamented upon surveying the damage, "Today we stand amidst the ashes of our hopes. We hoped against hope that what we had been doing was enough to prevent a riot. It was not enough."

Death toll

Over the period of five days, forty-three people died, of whom 33 were black and ten white. The other damages were calculated as follows:
  • 467 injured: 182 civilians, 167 Detroit police officers, 83 Detroit firefighters, 17 National Guard troops, 16 State Police officers, 3 U.S. Army soldiers.
  • 7,231 arrested: 6,528 adults, 703 juveniles; the youngest, 4, the oldest, 82. Half of those arrested had no criminal record.
  • 2,509 stores looted or burned, 388 families rendered homeless or displaced and 412 buildings burned or damaged enough to be demolished. Dollar losses from arson and looting ranged from $40 million to $80 million.

List of deceased
Name Race Age Date Comment
Krikor “George” Messerlian white 68 7/27/67 A 68 year-old Armenian immigrant, beaten to death by a group of black youths.
Willie Hunter black 26 7/23/67 Found in the basement of Brown's Drug Store, believed to have died while the store burned down.
Prince Williams black 32 7/23/67 Also found asphyxiated in the basement of Brown's Drug Store.
Sheren George white 23 7/24/67 Shot while in the car driven by her husband (Ross), as they tried flee from a mob of black youths beating a white man.
Julius Dorsey black 55 7/25/67 Worked as a security guard; shot by a National Guardsman who was pursuing suspected looters.
Clifton Pryor white 23 7/24/67 Mistaken for a sniper while trying to keep sparks from a neighboring fire off the roof of his apartment building; shot by a National Guardsman.
John Ashby white 26 8/4/67 Detroit firefighter, electrocuted by a high-tension wire that had fallen, while he was trying to put out a fire started by rioters.
Herman Ector black 30 7/24/67 Shot by a security guard while attempting to intervene between the guard and a group of rioters.
Fred Williams black 49 7/24/67 Electrocuted by stepping on a downed power line.
Daniel Jennings black 36 7/24/67 Broke into Stanley’s Patent Medicine and Package Store; shot by the owner Stanley Meszezenski.
Robert Beal black 49 7/24/67 Shot by a Detroit police officer at a burned-out auto parts store.
Joseph Chandler black 34 7/24/67 Shot by Detroit police while engaged in looting at the Food Time Market.
Herman Canty black 46 7/24/67 Observed loading merchandise from the rear door of the Bi-Lo Supermarket. Police fired several rounds at the truck until it stopped, and they found Canty dead inside.
Alfred Peachlum black 35 7/24/67 As A&P supermarket was being looted, Peachlum was inside with a shiny object in his hand. Police opened fire. The object turned out to be a piece of meat wrapped in shiny paper.
Alphonso Smith black 35 7/24/67 The police version was that Smith and four other men were cornered while looting the Standard Food Market. Other sources (who?) state that an officer fired through a window with a rocket launcher.
Nathaniel Edmonds black 23 7/24/67 Richard Shugar, a 24-year-old white male, accused Edmonds of breaking into his store, and shot him in the chest with a shotgun. Shugar was convicted of second-degree murder.
Charles Kemp black 35 7/24/67 Took five packs of cigars and was observed removing a cash register from Borgi’s Market. He ran, police officers gave chase, and fired at him.
Richard Sims black 35 7/24/67 Shot after he attempted to break into the Hobby Bar.
John Leroy black 30 7/24/67 A passenger in a vehicle upon which National Guard and police opened fire. Police stated that the vehicle was trying to break through a roadblock.
Carl Smith white 30 7/25/67 A firefighter; shot by a black male while attempting to organize firefighter units to fight several fires at Mack and St. Jean.
Emanuel Cosby black 26 7/25/67 Broke into N&T Market; police arrived just as he was making his escape. Cosby ran and was shot while running away with his loot.
Henry Denson black 27 7/25/67 Passenger in a car with two other black males; they encountered a roadblock erected by National Guardsmen; guardsmen shot at vehicle for trying to break the roadblock.
Jerome Olshove white 27 7/25/67 The only policeman killed in the riot. Olshove was shot in scuffle with looters outside an A&P supermarket.
William Jones black 28 7/25/67 Broke into a liquor store, was caught and attempted escape. Police ordered him to halt, but he continued to run and they shot him.
Ronald Evans black 24 7/25/67 Shot with William Jones in liquor store looting.
Roy Banks black 46 7/27/67 Banks was a deaf-mute walking to a bus stop to go to work; he was shot by Guardsmen who mistook him for an escaping looter.
Frank Tanner black 19 7/25/67 Broke into a store with his friends and was shot while trying to escape a National Guardsman.
Arthur Johnson black 36 7/25/67 Shot inside looted pawn shop.
Perry Williams black 36 7/25/67 Shot with Johnson inside pawn shop.
Jack Sydnor black 38 7/25/67 Fired shots out of the window of his third-floor apartment. Shot police officer Roger Poike when the police arrived to investigate. Was killed by police.
Tanya Blanding black 4 7/26/67 Died as a result of gunfire from a National Guard tank stationed in front of her house. Guardsmen stated that they were responding to sniper fire from the second floor.
William N Dalton black 19 7/26/67 Police report stated that he was an arsonist and was attempting to flee from the police.
Helen Hall white 51 7/26/67 Hall, a native of Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, was visiting Detroit on business. She was shot by a sniper while staying at the Harlan House Motel.
Larry Post white 26 7/26/67 Post was a Sergeant in the National Guard. After an exchange of gun fire between National Guardsmen and a car with three men, Post was found with a gunshot wound to the stomach.
Aubrey Pollard black 19 7/26/67 Killed after a group of policemen and National Guardsmen stormed the Algiers Motel in search of snipers.
Carl Cooper black 17 7/26/67 Killed with Pollard at the Algiers Motel.
Fred Temple black 18 7/26/67 Killed in the Algiers Motel.
George Tolbert black 20 7/26/67 Killed as he ran past a National Guard checkpoint at Dunedin and LaSalle Streets, when a bullet fired by a Guardsman hit him.
Julius Lawrence Lust white 26 7/26/67 Lust was shot while trying to steal a car part at a junkyard on the outskirts of the city. Police mistook his wrench for a gun. Although this occurred during the riots, it was an unrelated incident.
Albert Robinson black 38 7/26/67 The police report stated the guardsmen came under fire from snipers and returned fire. At the end of the exchange, Robinson was dead.
Ernest Roquemore black 19 7/28/67 Shot in the back by an Army paratrooper and declared dead on arrival at Detroit General Hospital. The soldier had been aiming at another youth who was unharmed.

Social conditions

Detroit was regarded by many in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 as a leader in race relations during the early 1960s
1960s
The 1960s was the decade that started on January 1, 1960, and ended on December 31, 1969. It was the seventh decade of the 20th century.The 1960s term also refers to an era more often called The Sixties, denoting the complex of inter-related cultural and political trends across the globe...

. The election of Mayor Jerome Cavanagh in 1961 brought reform to the police department, led by new Detroit Police Commissioner George Edwards
George Clifton Edwards, Jr.
George Clifton Edwards, Jr. was a United States federal judge.Born in Dallas, Texas, Edwards received a B.A. from Southern Methodist University in 1933 and an M.A. from Harvard University in 1934. He was in the United States Army during World War II, from 1943 to 1946...

. Organized labor, led by UAW
United Auto Workers
The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, better known as the United Auto Workers , is a labor union which represents workers in the United States and Puerto Rico, and formerly in Canada. Founded as part of the Congress of Industrial...

 President Walter Reuther
Walter Reuther
Walter Philip Reuther was an American labor union leader, who made the United Automobile Workers a major force not only in the auto industry but also in the Democratic Party in the mid 20th century...

, planned major redevelopment for inner-city slums. The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

editorialized that Detroit had “more going for it than any other major city in the North.”

In the early 20th century, when blacks moved to Detroit in the Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

, the city had a rapidly increasing population and not enough housing. Blacks were strongly discriminated against in housing and jobs, as they competed generally for lower scale work with rural white southern migrants, as well as immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. Some of the patterns of racial and ethnic segregation (which was also based in the differing religions of the Americans and Europeans), persisted after other social discrimination had eased by the mid-twentieth century.

By the 1960s, blacks had advanced into many better union and professional jobs. The city had a large and prosperous black middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

; higher-than-normal wages for unskilled black workers because of the auto industry; two black congressmen (half of the black Congressmen at the time); three black judges; two black members on the Detroit Board of Education
Detroit Public Schools
Detroit Public Schools is a school district that covers all of the city of Detroit, Michigan, United States. The student population of the Detroit Public Schools is about 65,971 , which is down about 9.7% from the previous school year. Detroit Public Charter Schools educate an additional 56,000...

; a housing commission that was forty percent black; and twelve blacks representing Detroit in the Michigan legislature
Michigan Legislature
The Michigan Legislature is the legislative assembly of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is organized as a bicameral body consisting of the Senate, the upper house, and the House of Representatives, the lower house. Article IV of the state's Constitution, adopted in 1963, defines the role of the...

.
Nicholas Hood, the sole black member of the nine-member Detroit Common Council, praised the Cavanagh administration for its willingness to listen to concerns of the inner city. Weeks prior to the riot, Mayor Cavanagh had said that residents did not “need to throw a brick to communicate with City Hall.”

Detroit had acquired millions in federal funds through President Johnson’s Great Society
Great Society
The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States promoted by President Lyndon B. Johnson and fellow Democrats in Congress in the 1960s. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice...

 programs and invested them almost exclusively into the inner city, where poverty and social problems were concentrated. The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

claimed Detroit’s inner-city schools were undergoing “the country’s leading and most forceful reforms in education.” Housing conditions were not viewed as worse than those of other Northern cities. In 1965, the American Institute of Architects
American Institute of Architects
The American Institute of Architects is a professional organization for architects in the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the AIA offers education, government advocacy, community redevelopment, and public outreach to support the architecture profession and improve its public image...

 gave Detroit an award for urban redevelopment. The city had mature black neighborhoods such as Conant Gardens
Neighborhoods in Detroit
This article provides brief highlights of some of the city's many notable neighborhoods along with areas designated as historic districts in Detroit, Michigan by geographic area...

. In the early 20th century, waves of new immigrants and migrants had generally settled in areas founded on an ethnic base. As Paul Wrobel writes in Our Way: Family, Parish, and Neighborhood in a Polish-American Community, ethnic communities in Detroit
Neighborhoods in Detroit
This article provides brief highlights of some of the city's many notable neighborhoods along with areas designated as historic districts in Detroit, Michigan by geographic area...

 like Poletown, Chaldeantown, Corktown, Mexicantown, and Greektown are ubiquitous. In May 1967, the federal administration ranked housing for blacks in Detroit above that of Philadelphia, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, and Cleveland.

The Department of Justice's
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 Office of Law Enforcement Assistance designated Detroit as the “model for police-community relations”. Fortune, Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

, Christian Science Monitor, Look, Harper’s
Harper's Magazine
Harper's Magazine is a monthly magazine of literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts, with a generally left-wing perspective. It is the second-oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the U.S. . The current editor is Ellen Rosenbush, who replaced Roger Hodge in January 2010...

, U.S. News and World Report, and The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

all published positive articles on the city; Mayor Cavanagh was so highly regarded nationally that he was elected to head the Conference of Mayors
United States Conference of Mayors
United States Conference of Mayors, sometimes referred to as the United States Council of Mayors, is the official non-partisan organization for cities with populations of 30,000 or more. The cities are each represented by their mayor or other chief elected official...

 and the National League of Cities
National League of Cities
The National League of Cities is an American advocacy organization representing 19,000 cities, towns, and villages, and encompassing 49 state municipal leagues....

. He had been re-elected in 1965 with 69% of the votes. Although Cavanagh alienated many when he ran a failed attempt to earn the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate in 1966, the city was proud of defusing a possible riot situation on Kercheval Street in 1966. Officials believed that police were capable of handling potential riot situations.

According to Violence in the Model City by University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

’s Sidney Fine
Sidney Fine (historian)
Sidney Fine was a professor of history at the University of Michigan. He authored many books on Frank Murphy, who served successively as mayor of Detroit, governor of Michigan, U.S. attorney general and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and twice the winner...

, many African-American residents were dissatisfied with social conditions in Detroit before July 23, 1967 and believed that progress was too slow. After the riot, the Kerner Commission
Kerner Commission
The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission after its chair, Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. of Illinois, was an 11-member commission established by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots in the United States and to provide...

 reported that their survey of blacks in Detroit found that none was “happy” about conditions in the city prior to the event. The areas of discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 identified by Fine were: policing, housing, employment, spatial segregation within the city, mistreatment by merchants, shortage of recreational facilities, poor quality of public education, access to medical services, and “the way the war on poverty operated in Detroit.”

Policing

The Detroit Police Department
Detroit Police Department
The Detroit Police Department , established in 1865, is responsible for the city of Detroit, Michigan.-History:The Detroit Police Department was established in 1865 to serve the city's growing population and covers the city with 5 districts and two precincts. The Detroit Police Department was also...

 is administered directly by the Mayor. Prior to the riot, Mayor Cavanagh’s appointees George Edwards and Ray Girardin worked for reform. Edwards tried to recruit and promote blacks, but he refused to establish a civilian police review board, as asked for by African Americans. In trying to discipline police officers guilty of brutality, he turned the police department's rank-and-file against him; many whites were angered by perceiving his policies as "too soft on crime." The Community Relations Division of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission undertook a study in 1965 of the police, published in 1968. It claimed the "police system" was at fault for racism. The police system was blamed for recruiting "bigots" and reinforcing bigotry through the department's "value system". A survey conducted by President Johnson's Kerner Commission
Kerner Commission
The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission after its chair, Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. of Illinois, was an 11-member commission established by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots in the United States and to provide...

 found that prior to the riot, 45% of police working in black neighborhoods were "extremely anti-Negro" and an additional 34% were "prejudiced".

In 1967, 93% of the force was still European American, although 30% of the city residents were African American. Incidents of police brutality caused African Americans to feel at risk. They resented the practice of many police in talking down to them: addressing men as "boys" and women as "honey" and "baby." Police made street searches of groups of young men and single women complained of being called prostitutes for simply walking on the street. The police frequently arrested people who did not have proper identification. The local press reported several questionable shootings and beatings of blacks by officers in the years before 1967. After the riot, a Detroit Free Press survey showed that residents reported police brutality as the number one problem they faced in the period leading up to the riot.

African Americans complained that the police did not respond to their calls as quickly as to those of white citizens. They believed that the police profited from vice and other crime taking place in black neighborhoods, and press accusations of corruption and connections to organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 weakened their trust in the police. According to Sidney Fine, "the biggest complaint about vice in the ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

 was prostitution." The black community leadership thought the police did not do enough to curb white johns from exploiting local women. In the weeks leading up to the riot, police had started to work to curb prostitution along Twelfth Street. On July 1, a prostitute was killed, and rumors spread that the police had shot her. The police said that she was murdered by local pimps. Detroit police used Big 4 or Tac Squads, each made up of four police officers, to patrol Detroit neighborhoods, and such squads were used to combat soliciting.

African-American residents felt police raids of after-hours drinking clubs were racially biased actions. Since the 1920s, such clubs had become important parts of Detroit's social life for African Americans; although they started with Prohibition, they continued because of discrimination against African Americans in service at many Detroit bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Employment

In the postwar period, the city had lost nearly 150,000 jobs to the suburbs. Factors were a combination of changes in technology, increased automation, consolidation of the auto industry, taxation policies, the need for different kinds of manufacturing space, and the construction of the highway system that eased transportation. Major companies like Packard
Packard
Packard was an American luxury-type automobile marque built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana...

, Hudson
Hudson Motor Car Company
The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other brand automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator Corporation to form American Motors. The Hudson name was continued through the 1957 model year, after which it was dropped.- Company strategy...

, and Studebaker
Studebaker
Studebaker Corporation was a United States wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 under the name of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the...

, as well as hundreds of smaller companies, went out of business. In the 1950s, the unemployment rate hovered near 10 percent. Between 1946 and 1956, GM
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 spent $3.4 billion on new plants, Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 $2.5 billion, and Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

 $700 million, opening a total of 25 auto plants, all in Detroit's suburbs. As a result, workers who could do so, left Detroit for jobs in the suburbs. Other middle-class residents left the city for newer housing, in a pattern repeated nationwide. In the 1960s, the city lost about 10,000 residents per year to the suburbs. Detroit's population fell by 140,000 between 1950 and 1960, and by another 100,000 residents by 1970, which affected all its retail businesses and city services.

By the time of the riot, unemployment among black men was more than double that among white men in Detroit. In the 1950s, 15.9 percent of blacks were unemployed, but only 6 percent of whites were unemployed; this was partially due to the union seniority system of the factories. Except for Ford, which hired a significant number of blacks for their factories, the other automakers did not hire blacks until World War II resulted in a labor shortage
Labor shortage
In its narrowest definition, a labor shortage is an economic condition in which there are insufficient qualified candidates to fill the market-place demands for employment at any price...

. With lower seniority, blacks were the first to be laid off in job cutbacks after the war. Moreover, African Americans were ghettoized into the "most arduous, dangerous and unhealthy jobs". When the auto industry boomed again in the early 1960s, only Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

 produced vehicles in the city of Detroit. The blacks they hired got "the worst and most dangerous jobs: the foundry
Foundry
A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron...

 and the body shop."

A prosperous black educated class had developed in traditional professions such as social work, ministry, medicine, and nursing. Many other blacks working outside manufacturing were relegated to service industries as waiters, porters
Porter (carrier)
A porter, also called a bearer, is a person who shifts objects for others.-Historical meaning:Human adaptability and flexibility early led to the use of humans for shifting gear...

, or janitors. Many African-American women were limited to work in domestic service. Certain business sectors were known to discriminate against hiring blacks, even at entry-level positions. It took picketing by Arthur Johnson and the Detroit chapter of the NAACP before First Federal Bank hired their first black tellers and clerks. One of the biggest changes after the riot was the lowering of entry-level job requirements by automakers and retailers. A Michigan Bell
Michigan Bell
Michigan Bell is the subsidiary of AT&T serving the state of Michigan. Following the Bell System divestiture on January 8, 1982, the company became a subsidiary of Ameritech, the Regional Bell operating company that served the midwestern United States...

 employment supervisor commented in 1968 that "for years businesses tried to screen people out. Now we are trying to find reasons to screen them in."

Housing and neighborhoods

Detroit had high home-ownership rates, but affordable housing was an issue. Several urban renewal
Urban renewal
Urban renewal is a program of land redevelopment in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. Renewal has had both successes and failures. Its modern incarnation began in the late 19th century in developed nations and experienced an intense phase in the late 1940s – under the rubric of...

 projects after World War II, intended to improve housing, dramatically changed neighborhood boundaries and ethnic composition. Detroit undertook a series of urban renewal projects that affected African Americans especially, who had occupied some of the oldest housing. Black Bottom
Black Bottom, Detroit
Black Bottom was a predominantly black neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, that was demolished for redevelopment in the early 1960s. It was replaced with Lafayette Park. It was located on Detroit's near East side bounded by Gratiot Avenue, Brush Street, Vernor Highway, and the Grand Trunk railroad...

 and Paradise Valley were on Detroit's near lower east side, south of Gratiot
M-3 (Michigan highway)
M-3 is a north–south state highway in the US state of Michigan in the Detroit metropolitan area. For most of its length, M-3 is known as Gratiot Avenue...

. By discrimination, including then lawful deed restrictions, or by choice, from 1910 through the 1950s, these were the first places where many African Americans new to Detroit settled, as they did not have the money for newer housing. The city began planning for the massive Gratiot Redevelopment Project as early as 1946. It was planned eventually to cover a 129 acres (52.2 ha) site on the lower east side that included Hastings Street — the epicenter of Paradise Valley.

Detroit was considered a world leader in urban renewal. The city's goals were to: "arrest the exodus of business from the central city, to convert slum property to better housing, and to enlarge the city's tax base."

Bolstered by successive federal legislation, including the 1941, 1949, 1950, 1954 versions of the Housing Act
Housing Act of 1949
The American Housing Act of 1949 was a landmark, sweeping expansion of the federal role in mortgage insurance and issuance and the construction of public housing...

and its amendments through the 1960s, the city acquired funds to develop the Detroit Medical Center
Detroit Medical Center
The Detroit Medical Center, located in Midtown Detroit, Michigan, has more than 2,000 licensed beds, 3,000 affiliated physicians and over 12,000 employees. The DMC is the affiliated clinical research site for medical program at Wayne State University...

 complex, Lafayette Park, Central Business District Project One, and the Chrysler Freeway
Chrysler Freeway
The Chrysler Freeway is the name given to a freeway in the Detroit area. It is composed of:*Interstate 375 south of the junction with the Fisher Freeway*Interstate 75 in Michigan north of the junction with the Fisher Freeway...

, by appropriating land and "clearing slums". Money was included for replacement housing in the legislation, but the goal of urban renewal was to physically reshape the city; its social effects on neighborhoods was not well understood. As older neighborhoods were demolished, African Americans and people of every color from Detroit's skid row
Skid row
A skid row or skid road is a run-down or dilapidated urban area with a large, impoverished population. The term originally referred literally to a path along which working men skidded logs. Its current sense appears to have originated in the Pacific Northwest...

, moved to areas north of Black Bottom along Grand Boulevard, but especially to the westside of Woodward, along Grand Boulevard and ultimately the 12th Street neighborhood. As Ze'ev Chafets wrote in Devil's Night and Other True Tales of Detroit (1990s), the area around 12th Street rapidly changed from a community of ethnic Jews to a predominantly black community in the 1950s, an example of ethnic succession. Jewish residents had moved to the suburbs for newer housing but they often retained business or property interests in their old community; thus, many of the blacks who moved to the 12th Street area rented from absentee landlords and shopped in businesses run by suburbanites. Crime rates rose in the 12th Street area.

By 1967, the neighborhood around 12th Street had a population density that was twice the city average. After the riot, respondents to a Detroit Free Press poll listed poor housing as the second most important issue leading up to the riot, behind police brutality
Police brutality
Police brutality is the intentional use of excessive force, usually physical, but potentially also in the form of verbal attacks and psychological intimidation, by a police officer....

.

Education

Detroit Public Schools
Detroit Public Schools
Detroit Public Schools is a school district that covers all of the city of Detroit, Michigan, United States. The student population of the Detroit Public Schools is about 65,971 , which is down about 9.7% from the previous school year. Detroit Public Charter Schools educate an additional 56,000...

 suffered from underfunding and racial discrimination before the riots. Underfunding was a function of a decreasing tax base as the population shrank while the numbers of students rose. From 1962 to 1966, enrollment grew from 283,811 to 294,653, but the loss of tax base made less funding available. At the same time, middle-class families were leaving the district, and the number of low-scoring and economically disadvantaged students, mostly black, were increasing. In 1966-67, the funding per pupil in Detroit was $193 compared to $225 per pupil in the suburbs. Exacerbating this inequity were the challenges in educating disadvantaged students. The Detroit Board of Education estimated it cost twice as much to educate a "ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

 child properly as to educate a suburban child." According to Michigan law in 1967, class sizes could not exceed thirty-five students, but in inner city schools they did, sometimes swelling to forty students per teacher. To have the same teacher/student ratio as the rest of the state, Detroit would have to hire 1,650 more teachers for the 1966-67 school year.

In 1959, the Detroit School Board passed a bylaw
Bylaw
By-law can refer to a law of local or limited application passed under the authority of a higher law specifying what things may be regulated by the by-law...

 banning discrimination in all school operations and activities. From 1962 to 1966, black organizations continued to work to improve the quality of education of black students. Issues included class size, school boundaries and how white teachers treated black students. The Citizens Advisory Committee on Equal Educational Opportunities reported a pattern of discrimination in the assignment of teachers and principals in Detroit schools. It also found "grave discrimination" in employment, and in training opportunities in apprenticeship programs. It was dissatisfied with the rate of desegregation in attendance boundaries. The school board accepted the recommendations made by the committee, but faced increasing community pressure. The NAACP demanded affirmative action hiring of school personnel and increased desegregation through an "open schools" policy. Foreshadowing the break between black civil rights groups and black nationalists after the riot, a community group led by Rev. Albert Cleage
Albert Cleage
Albert Cleage was a Christian religious leader, political candidate, newspaper publisher, political organizer and author. He is founder of the Shrine of the Black Madonna Church and Cultural Centers in Detroit and Atlanta...

 Group of Advanced Leadership (GOAL) emphasized changes in textbooks and classroom curriculum as opposed to integration. Cleage wanted black teachers to teach black students in black studies, as opposed to integrated classrooms where all students were held to the same academic standards.

In April and May of 1966, a student protest at Detroit Northern High School made headlines throughout the city. Northern was 98% African American and had substandard academic testing
Michigan Educational Assessment Program
The Michigan Educational Assessment Program, commonly known as MEAP, is a standardized test. The test is taken by all public school students in the U.S. state of Michigan from elementary school to middle/junior high school...

 scores. A student newspaper article, censored by the administration, claimed teachers and the principal "taught down" to blacks and used social promotion
Social promotion
Social promotion is the practice of promoting a student to the next grade despite their low achievement in order to keep them with social peers...

 to graduate kids without educating them. Students walked out and set up a temporary "Freedom School" in a neighborhood church, which was staffed by many volunteer Wayne State University
Wayne State University
Wayne State University is a public research university located in Detroit, Michigan, United States, in the city's Midtown Cultural Center Historic District. Founded in 1868, WSU consists of 13 schools and colleges offering more than 400 major subject areas to over 32,000 graduate and...

 faculty. By May sympathy strikes were planned at Eastern, and Rev. Albert Cleage
Albert Cleage
Albert Cleage was a Christian religious leader, political candidate, newspaper publisher, political organizer and author. He is founder of the Shrine of the Black Madonna Church and Cultural Centers in Detroit and Atlanta...

 had taken up the cause. When the school board voted to remove the principal and vice principal, as well as the single police officer assigned to Northern, whites regarded the board's actions as capitulation to "threats" and were outraged the "students were running the school." City residents voted against a school-tax increase.

Under the Cavanagh administration, the school board created a Community Relations Division at the deputy superintendent
Superintendent (police)
Superintendent , often shortened to "super", is a rank in British police services and in most English-speaking Commonwealth nations. In many Commonwealth countries the full version is superintendent of police...

 level. Arthur L. Johnson
Arthur L. Johnson
Dr. Arthur L. Johnson was an educator in the U.S. state of New Jersey and the namesake of Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark....

, the former head of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, was hired in 1966 to advance community involvement in schools, and improve "intergroup relations and affirmative action." Black dominated schools in the city continued to be overcrowded as well as underfunded.

Retail stores and services

Black residents complained about the prices and quality of goods in inner-city retail stores before the riot. Customer surveys published by the Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Free Press is the largest daily newspaper in Detroit, Michigan, USA. The Sunday edition is entitled the Sunday Free Press. It is sometimes informally referred to as the "Freep"...

indicated that blacks were disproportionately unhappy with the way store owners treated them compared to whites. In stores serving black neighborhoods, owners engaged in "sharp and unethical credit practices" and were "discourteous if not abusive to their customers." The NAACP, Trade Union Leadership Council (TULC) and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) all took up this issue with the Cavanagh administration before the riot. In 1968, the Archdiocese of Detroit published one of the largest shopper surveys in American history. It found that the inner-city shopper paid 20% more for food and groceries than the suburbanite. Some of the differences were due to economies of scale in larger suburban stores, as well as ease in transportation and delivery of goods.

Aftermath

Blacks and whites in Detroit viewed the events of July 1967 in very different ways. Part of the process of comprehending the damage was to survey the attitudes
Attitude (psychology)
An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual's degree of like or dislike for something. Attitudes are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event— this is often referred to as the attitude object...

 and beliefs of people in Detroit. Sidney Fine’s chapter “The Polarized Community” cites many of the academic and Detroit Free Press financed public opinion surveys conducted in the wake of the riot. Although Black Nationalism
Black nationalism
Black nationalism advocates a racial definition of indigenous national identity, as opposed to multiculturalism. There are different indigenous nationalist philosophies but the principles of all African nationalist ideologies are unity, and self-determination or independence from European society...

 was thought to have been given a boost by the civil strife, as membership in Albert Cleage’s church grew substantially and the New Detroit committee sought to include black leadership like Norvell Harrington and Frank Ditto, it was whites who were much more likely to support separation.

One percent of Detroit blacks favored “total separation” between the races in 1968, whereas 17% of Detroit whites did. African-Americans supported “integration
Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation . In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely...

” by 88%, only 24% of whites did. Residents of the 12th Street area differed significantly from African-Americans in the rest of the city however. For example, 22% of 12th Street blacks thought they should "get along without whites entirely". Nevertheless, the Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Free Press is the largest daily newspaper in Detroit, Michigan, USA. The Sunday edition is entitled the Sunday Free Press. It is sometimes informally referred to as the "Freep"...

survey of Black Detroiters in 1968 showed that the highest approval rating for people were given to conventional politicians like Charles Diggs
Charles Diggs
Charles Coles Diggs, Jr. was an African-American politician from the U.S. state of Michigan. Diggs was an early member of the civil rights movement, having been present at the murder trial of Emmett Till and elected the first chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.Diggs resigned from the...

 (27%) and John Conyers
John Conyers
John Conyers, Jr. is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1965 . He is a member of the Democratic Party...

 (22%) compared to Albert Cleage (4%).
One of the criticisms of the New Detroit committee, an organization founded by Henry Ford II
Henry Ford II
Henry Ford II , commonly known as "HF2" and "Hank the Deuce", was the son of Edsel Ford and grandson of Henry Ford...

, J.L. Hudson and Max Fisher
Max Fisher
Max Martin Fisher was a businessman, philanthropist, and benefactor/alumnus of the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. He spent much of his life raising money for philanthropic and political endeavors and was a supporter of charitable and civic organizations...

 while the embers were still cooling, was that it gave credibility to radical black organizations in a misguided attempt to listen to the concerns of the “inner-city Negro” and “the rioters.” Moderate black leadership like Arthur L. Johnson
Arthur L. Johnson
Dr. Arthur L. Johnson was an educator in the U.S. state of New Jersey and the namesake of Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark....

 were weakened and intimidated by the new credibility the riot gave to black radicals, some of which favored “a black republic carved out of five southern states” and supported “breaking into gun shops to seize weapons.” The Kerner Commission
Kerner Commission
The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission after its chair, Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. of Illinois, was an 11-member commission established by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots in the United States and to provide...

 deputy director of field operations in Detroit reported that the most militant organizers in the 12th Street area did not consider it immoral to kill whites.

Adding to the criticism of the New Detroit committee in both the moderate black and white communities was the cynical belief that the wealthy, white industrial leadership were giving voice and money to radical black groups as a sort of “riot insurance.” The fear that “the next riot” would not be localized to inner city African-American neighborhood but would include the white suburbs was common in the black middle class and white communities. White groups like "Breakthrough" started by city employee Donald Lobsinger, a Parks and Recreation Department employee, wanted to arm whites and keep them in the city because if Detroit "became black" there would be "guerrilla warfare in the suburbs".

Detroit Councilman Mel Ravitz said the riot divided not only the races- since it "deepened the fears of many whites and raised the militancy of many blacks" but it opened up wide cleavages in the black and white communities as well. Moderate liberals of each race were faced with new political groups that voiced extremist solutions and fueled fears about future violence. Compared to the rosy newspaper stories before July 1967, the London Free Press
London Free Press
The London Free Press is a daily newspaper based in London, Ontario, Canada.The London Free Press began as the Canadian Free Press, founded by William Sutherland in 1847. It first began printing as a weekly newspaper in 1849. In 1852, it was purchased for $500 by Josiah Blackburn, who renamed it...

reported in 1968 that Detroit was a "sick city where fear, rumor, race prejudice and gun-buying have stretched black and white nerves to the verge of snapping". Yet ultimately, if the riot is interpreted as a rebellion, or a way for black grievances to be heard and addressed, it was partly successful.

The black community in Detroit received much more attention from federal and state governments after 1967, and although the New Detroit committee ultimately shed its black membership and transformed into the mainstream Detroit Renaissance group, money did flow into black-owned enterprises after the riot. However, the most significant black politician to take power in the shift from a white majority city to a black majority city, Coleman Young
Coleman Young
Coleman Alexander Young served as mayor of Detroit in the U.S. state of Michigan from 1974 to 1993. Young became the first African-American mayor of Detroit in the same week that Maynard Jackson became the first African-American mayor of Atlanta.-Pre-Mayoral career:Young was born in Tuscaloosa,...

, Detroit's first black mayor, wrote in 1994:
According to economist Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities Medal winner, he advocates laissez-faire economics and writes from a libertarian perspective...

:


Before the ghetto riot of 1967, Detroit's black population had the highest rate of home-ownership of any black urban population in the country, and their unemployment rate was just 3.4 percent.

It was not despair that fueled the riot. It was the riot which marked the beginning of the decline of Detroit to its current state of despair. Detroit's population today is only half of what it once was, and its most productive people have been the ones who fled.


The riot in popular culture

At least three songs directly refer to the 1967 riot. The most prominent was "Black Day in July", written and sung by Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr. is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music, and has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s...

 for his album Did She Mention My Name? (and later covered by The Tragically Hip
The Tragically Hip
The Tragically Hip, often referred to simply as The Hip, is a Canadian rock band from Kingston, Ontario, consisting of Gordon Downie , Paul Langlois , Rob Baker , Gord Sinclair and Johnny Fay . Since their formation in 1983 they have released 12 studio albums, two live albums, and 46 singles...

); as well a later version of the song "The Motor City is Burning" by John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark...

 (later covered by the MC5
MC5
The MC5 is an American rock band formed in Lincoln Park, Michigan and originally active from 1964 to 1972. The original band line-up consisted of vocalist Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson...

), a song that specifically mentions the intersection of 12th and Clairmount, and "Detroit '67" by Sam Roberts
Sam Roberts
Sam Roberts is a Juno Award-winning Canadian rock singer-songwriter, whose 2001 debut release, The Inhuman Condition, became one of the bestselling independent releases in Quebec and Canadian music history.-Life and career:...

, which concludes with a call for riot police to attend to "trouble down on 12th Street".

Middlesex
Middlesex (novel)
Middlesex is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Jeffrey Eugenides published in 2002. The book is a bestseller, with more than three million copies sold as of May 2011. Its characters and events are loosely based on aspects of Eugenides' life and observations of his Greek heritage. It is...

, a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey Kent Eugenides is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer. Eugenides is most known for his first two novels, The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex . His novel The Marriage Plot was published in October, 2011.-Life and career:Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan,...

 has a detailed retelling of, and makes some social commentary on the riot.

Joyce Carol Oates's 1969, National Book Award-winning novel, them, concludes with the Detroit riot.

The riot was also depicted in the film "Across the Universe".

The December 7, 2010 episode of Detroit 1-8-7
Detroit 1-8-7
Detroit 1-8-7 is an American crime drama series about Detroit's leading homicide unit, created by Jason Richman for ABC. It features an ensemble cast of actors including Michael Imperioli and James McDaniel...

on ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 aired archive footage and photos of Detroit during the 1967 riots. The episode's primary storyline depicted a 2010 discovery of a black male body and a white female body in a fallout shelter constructed under a building burned down during the riots. In actuality, there were 2 individuals who lost their lives, listed above, in a basement of a building that was burned down.

A 2008 EP release by Detroit producer and DJ Moodyman was entitled 'Det.riot '67' and released on his imprint KDJ. The release featured a track called 'Det.riot' that sampled radio recordings from news reels talking about the riot.

David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

: Panic in Detroit
Panic in Detroit
"Panic in Detroit" is a song written by David Bowie for the album Aladdin Sane in 1973. Bowie based it on friend Iggy Pop's descriptions of revolutionaries he had known as a youth in Michigan. It is also interpreted as being written about the 1967 Detroit riots...

 1973 (Trident Studios, London 9 December 1972 -24 January 1973/ RCA records.)

Photo, video, website collections

Photo collections and essays depicting the events of July 1967 are available from several websites listed below:
  • The Civil Unrest of 1967 Blog post with links to resources held at the Walter Reuther Library. Includes related archival collections, an oral history, and 134 images with captions.
  • Detroit News photo gallery includes fifty-seven pictures and captions.
  • July 1967 Detroit Riot web page from PBS
    Public Broadcasting Service
    The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

    ' Eyes on the Prize documentary.
  • Detroit Riot of 1967 from Wayne State University
    Wayne State University
    Wayne State University is a public research university located in Detroit, Michigan, United States, in the city's Midtown Cultural Center Historic District. Founded in 1868, WSU consists of 13 schools and colleges offering more than 400 major subject areas to over 32,000 graduate and...

    's Virtual Motor City Collection.
  • Flickr slideshow from a Detroiter's family album.
  • Newspaper front pages are reproduced from a thread on Discuss Detroit Forum (scroll down to see reprints).
  • Rutgers University website provides video clips from Detroiters who experienced the riots.
  • Report of Federal Activities During the Detroit Riots by Cyrus R. Vance on President Lyndon Johnson's website.
  • Detroit Riots of 1967 & 1943 The most devastating riots of the 1960s.

See also

  • The Algiers Motel Incident
    The Algiers Motel Incident
    The Algiers Motel Incident is a 1968 true crime book by John Hersey. The book describes an incident which occurred in 1967 in Detroit, Michigan, at about the same time as the racially charged 12th Street Riot...

  • Kerner Commission
    Kerner Commission
    The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission after its chair, Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. of Illinois, was an 11-member commission established by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots in the United States and to provide...

  • Urban riots
    Urban riots
    Riots often occur in reaction to a perceived grievance or out of dissent. Riots may be the outcome of a sporting event, although many riots have occurred due to poor working or living conditions, government oppression, conflicts between races or religions....

  • Focus: HOPE
    Focus: HOPE
    Focus: HOPE is a Detroit-based, non-denominational, non-profit organization whose aim is to overcome racism and poverty by providing education and training for underrepresented minorities and others...

  • Detroit Race Riot (1943)
    Detroit Race Riot (1943)
    The Detroit Race Riot broke out in Detroit, Michigan in June 1943 and lasted for three days before Federal troops restored order. The rioting between blacks and whites began on Belle Isle on 20 June 1943 and continued until 22 June, killing 34, wounding 433, and destroying property valued at $2...

  • Detroit Race Riot (1863)
    Detroit Race Riot (1863)
    The Detroit Race Riot of 1863 occurred during the American Civil War on March 6, 1863 in the city of Detroit, Michigan. At the time, it was reported as “the bloodiest day that ever dawned upon Detroit.” It began due to unrest related to racism and the military draft..While not as famous or...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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