NPR

Detroit 1967: There's Still A Debate Over What To Call It

The unrest in the Motor City a half-century ago this summer left 43 dead. It was one of the most devastating episodes of civil conflict in the 20th century. But was it a riot or a rebellion?
The exhibit, "Detroit 67: Perspectives," examines the unrest in the city in the summer of 1967. Source: Chuck Cloud for Elayne Gross Photography

It was after 3 a.m. on a Sunday: July 23, 1967. A group of African-Americans were celebrating the return of two Vietnam veterans. They were in what Detroiters call a "blind pig," an after-hours bar at the corner of 12th Street and Clairmount Avenue. Just before dawn, police raided the bar and began arresting the more than 80 people inside.

"As they were being led into the paddy wagon, a crowd gathered," says Bill McGraw, a veteran journalist now retired from the who has written about the events of that night and its aftermath extensively.

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