The 1967 Detroit riots were one of the most violent and costliest riots in the United States. They started by a police raid on the unlicensed bar, and by the time they ended, 43 people were dead, 342 injured, thousands of arrested, and over 1400 buildings had been burned. These riots lasted for four consecutive days and nights.
Detroit had a larger black middle class than other American cities, and racial tensions were high among whites and blacks over jobs. During World War II, a large number of jobs were opened in the automobile and defense industry. Automobile and several other industries moved out of the city center, which affected several other businesses and left behind vacant storefronts, widespread unemployment, and impoverished despair.
12th Street riots
12th Street in Detroit was a center of nightlife, gambling, both legal and illegal. At the Clairmount Ave, William Scott operated a ‘blind pig’ (an after-hours illicit club) on the weekends. The police often used to raid these establishments. On July 23, the Detroit Police department raided Scott’s club. The bar was open, and there a party going on for several veterans, including two service members recently returned from the Vietnam War. The police arrested 85 patrons, and while the police were waiting for vehicles to take them away, a crowd began to gather on the street. Within an hour, thousands of people arrived on the road from nearby areas, and the police fled when the riot erupted. Looting of shops and business was started, the fire broke out, and much of the street was blazed. Firefighters were attacked as they tried to battle the flames. The police called every police to control the mob. The riots spread to a 100-block area around Virginia Park.
Detroit Mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh requested Michigan Governor George Romney to send National Guard troops, while President Lyndon Johnson eventually ordered paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne on to the streets. The order was finally restored on July 27. A total of 43 people died, and 1700 stores were looted, and nearly 1,400 buildings burned, causing roughly $50 million in property damage. More than 7,000 people were arrested, and thousands of
The aftermath of the Riots
President Johnson appointed a National Advisory Commission known as Kerner Commission to investigate the riots. The commission released a 426-page report after seven months and identified more than 150 riots or major disorders between 1965 and 1968. The report also declared that the country must resolve racial discrimination, which is the primary cause of these riots.
Here below are some photos that perfectly depict the Detroit riots of 1967.