Detroit Riots Essay

This essay has a total of 1403 words and 7 pages.

Detroit Riots


Detroit Riots

Many civil disorders have erupted across the United States. Racial tensions were at a
highpoint in the 1960's with riots and looting throughout the major cities in the United
States. This was not such a problem in the rural areas but the urban areas had serious
racial problems between black and white people. Throughout the 1960's blacks and whites
clearly demonstrated that they had many problems living segregated in the urban areas. It
was a civil explosion that you can clearly see from the Detroit riots in 1967. Detroit
experienced the worst civil disorder of any American city in the 20th century. Prior to
July 23, 1967 Detroit had managed to avoid riots that had erupted in other major cities
such as Harlem, Cleveland, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Day 1
At 3:45 a.m. on Sunday July 23, 1967 twelve officers did a routine raid in a Blind Pig on
12th street. There were 82 people arrested. As the last squad car was loading with
prisoners, a crowd of about 200 people gathered. They made threats towards the police and
incited the crowd that had gathered. The squad car began to leave and the crowd began to
throw bottles and rocks, which shattered the back window of the squad car. This started
off the worst riot of the 20th century.

Shortly after 5 a.m. stores were being broken into, rocks and bricks were smashing through
windows. By 11 a.m. a crowd of about a thousand people were surrounding a smaller crowd of
about a hundred or so people that were swarming the streets taunting the police and
firemen. After that the looting began to take off in different spots all over the entire
city.

Day 2
In the second day of rioting the Mayor issued a curfew. All people had to be off the
streets between 9 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. and no alcoholic beverages were to be sold or
possessed which was not followed the rioters. At 12:25 the first death was reported. A 45
year-old white male life was claimed when he was shot by a white store owner who claimed
the man was looting his store. This was only the beginning for the many more fatalities
that continued throughout the riots.

The burning and looting continued throughout the night. An entire block was reported on
fire in the area of Dexter and Davison. This was just one of the some 1,680 fires that
would be set during the riots and looting.

Day 3
On the third day of the riot the eastside began to get just as much looting and rioting as
the westside was. During this time gunfire began to increase heavily. There were 38
reports of sniper fire on the westside and 11 on the eastside. During the day there was a
decrease in gunfire, but there were still hundreds of fires set throughout the city. A
white extremist was reported barricading several streets with cars on the far eastside.

The first hundred prisoners from the riots were now being transported under heavy security
to Jackson prison, 250 were transported to Ingham county jail, and 300 to the federal
penitentiary in Milan. Heavy gunfire and sniper attacks brought the third day of riots to
an end.

Day 4
The forth day of rioting on Wednesday, July 26 turned out to be one of the worst days of
the riot. Of the 43 total fatalities that took place during the riot 7 of them were in the
early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Harlan House incident in which the victim Helen Hall, 50, of Okdale, Connecticut was
shot by guards after she was shooting at a police squad car that was on the near by free
way. She was in Detroit to inventory electrical supplies that were purchased by her firm.
(Locke 43-44)

The Tonya Blanding incident. Only four years old at the time Tonya was lying in the living
room of her family's second floor apartment when guards opened fire with rifles and a
tank's .50-caliber machine gun. When the firing stopped they found young Tonya lying dead
in the living room. (Lee & Humphrey 109)
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