The Detroit uprising: 50 years later

Detroit Riots

 

July 22, 1967 - It's been 50 years since the uprising

Even as smoke drifted over thousands of charred homes and buildings after days of deadly insurrection and looting in Detroit, President Lyndon B. Johnson called upon experts to determine the root cause of racial disorders that swept scores of U.S. cities in the summer of 1967.

Those experts, sitting on what came to be known as the Kerner Commission, reached this haunting conclusion: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate but unequal.”

A police raid at 12th Street and Clairmount on Detroit’s west side had ignited a firestorm of long-suppressed rage. Rage at a nearly all-white police force notorious for brutalizing and humiliating people of color; at a political structure that marginalized the voices of African-American residents; at schools and neighborhoods that kept integration at bay, and at a future with little prospect for black advancement. So it was that a confrontation at one Detroit intersection led the city to another: decades of economic policies, political campaigns, crime initiatives and social movements, mixed with no shortage of heartache, all meant to reverse the tide of history.

ORDER YOUR COPY OF 'THE INTERSECTION' FROM AMAZON TODAY!

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Comments

Roberta Wray
Tue, 05/30/2017 - 2:59pm

Thank you for reminding me of what was going on fifty years ago. I had a small part in covering a fringe riot in Flint during the summer of '67. I had forgotten much of the underpinnings, though I will never forget covering the Algiers Motel conspiracy trial in federal court in Flint the following year. Tumultuous times, to say the least, and lessons incompletely learned.

Michael
Mon, 05/27/2019 - 5:54pm

Late reading this article. Curious what the racial make up of Detroit was in 1967, population, house prices, status of the family unit, and average income? What is it now? Was the riot a success or a miserable failure for all?