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Nicole Vessells 11-11-13 4th Detroit Lit

Detroit Race Riot
According to dictionary.com a riot is “a noisy, unorganized, violent public disorder caused by a group or crowd of persons, as by a crowd protesting against another group, a government policy, etc., in the streets.” In the summer of 1967 Detroit broke out into an all-out war within its borders. This all began on July 23, 1967. The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as the Blind Pig. Some say the real reason for the riot starting was because officers went into the bar and aressted 82 black residents throwing a party for two local soldiers that had just returned from the Vietnam War. As they aressted people on the street there were many on lookers. As the aressts continued the on lookers began to throw bottles and other things at the police officers. When the last police car drove away the bystanders broke out into violence and began looting. The news of the riot spread quickly and easily, soon there were mobs of people in the streets violently retaliating. “The first major fire broke mid-afternoon in a grocery store on a corner of 12th Street and Atkinson. The mob prevented the firefighters from extinguishing it and soon

more smoke filled the skyline. The local news media initially avoided reporting on the disturbance as not to inspire copy-cat violence, but the rioting started to expand to other parts of the city,” (1967 Detroit Riot). As this got completely out of hand, the leaders of the city decided that it was necessary to bring in additional forces. “Monday morning, 800 State Police Officers and 8,000 National Guardsmen were ordered to the city by Michigan Governor George Romney. They were later augmented by 4,700 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division ordered in by President Lyndon Johnson” (Wang). By the end of this brutal five-day event, 43 were dead, 467 were injured, and 7,231 were arrested. These masses of people were disorderly and destructive to the point where they would destroy anything in their path. The total property damage was estimated at about $32 million. The city today probably looks almost as bad as when this happened. This even was a riot not a rebellion. A rebellion has some stability and organization to it, this situation had none; just destruction and it was as unorganized as it could possibly be. The only organized entity in the riot was the police officers trying to stop the situation. The President had to call in Special Forces to break up the madness. Because of this situation many businesses and people were scared off and relocated elsewhere. “As the oldest established black enclave in Detroit… the heart of Detroit’s black community, commercially and culturally. The loss for many black residents

of Detroit was devastating, and the anger burned for years thereafter” (The Detroit Riots). These riots were the final straw and breaking point for Detroit. Since then the economy for Detroit has just hit rock bottom, the police force has not gotten any better or efficient, and no matter what people try to do to help the city it never works out. This riot has left the city in pieces, and the citizens expect others to pick them up. According to dictionary.com a riot is “a noisy, unorganized, violent public disorder caused by a group or crowd of persons, as by a crowd protesting against another group, a government policy, etc., in the streets.” In the summer of 1967 Detroit broke out into an all-out war within its borders. It is 2013, and the once beautiful city of Detroit, is still in ruins from this disturbing event.

"1967 Detroit Riot." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 June 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. "The Detroit Riots of 1967: Events." The Detroit Riots of 1967: Events. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. Wang, Tabitha C. "Detroit Race Riot (1967) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Detroit Race Riot (1967) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.