A Trip into the Past.
The 12th Street Riots. Hey, no one could stop them, not the Mayor, not the Governor, not John Conyers (say it ain't so John) and not Willie Horton, star of the Detroit Tigers. Detroit has never recovered.
http://www.answers.com/topic/12th-street-riotThe 12th Street Riot in Detroit occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23 ,1967 , after vice squad officers executed a raid at an illegal after-hours drinking establishment (colloquially referred to as a blind pig ) on the corner of 12th Street (today also known as " Rosa Parks Boulevard") and Clairmount Avenue on the city's near westside. This evolved into one of the most deadly and destructive riots in U.S. history--far surpassing the disturbances which broke out in the city during 1943 --and eclipsed only by those occurring in Newark (also 1967) and the riots in Los Angeles (1992 ). In 1967, the Detroit Police Department's Tac Squads, each made up of four police officers (predominately white), had a reputation among the black residents of Detroit for harassment and brutality. While the city of Detroit still had a white majority in 1967, the city gained an African-American majority by the early 1970s .
On that summer Sunday morning, the officers had expected to find only a handful of individuals in the bar, but instead there were 82 people celebrating the return of two local veterans from the war in Vietnam . Despite the large number, police decided to arrest everyone. A crowd soon gathered around the establishment, protesting as patrons were led away. After the last police car left, a group of angry black males who had observed the incident began breaking the windows of the adjacent clothing store. Shortly thereafter, full-scale rioting began throughout the neighborhood, which continued into Monday, July 24 , 1967, and for the next few days. The mayhem expanded to other parts of the city, despite a conscious effort by the local news media to avoid reporting on it so as not to inspire copy-cat violence, theft and destruction beyond the 12th Street/Clairmount Avenue vicinity.
Some 8,000 National Guardsmen were called in after 48 hours to quell the disorder, but their presence only fueled more violence. Willie Horton - Detroit resident, and popular Detroit Tigers baseball player - arrived after a ball game, and stood on a car in the middle of the crowd wearing his baseball uniform but could not calm them, despite his impassioned pleas. U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan) likewise attempted to ease tensions but was equally unsuccessful. Michigan Governor George Romney and President Lyndon Johnson disagreed about the legality of sending in federal troops. Johnson said he could not send federal troops in without Romney declaring "a state of insurrection"; Romney was reluctant to declare it for fear it would relieve insurance companies of their obligations to reimburse policyholders for the damage being done. Eventually, Johnson sent in federal troops from the 82nd Airborne of nearby Selfridge Air Force Base in suburban Macomb County , without a state of insurrection being declared.
Contrary to popular belief, black-owned businesses were not spared. One of the first stores looted in Detroit was Hardy's drug store, owned by African-Americans, and known for filling prescriptions on credit. Detroit's leading black-owned clothing store was burned, as was the city's best black restaurant. In the wake of the riots, a black merchant noted "you were going to get looted no matter what color you were." (Thernstrom, Abigail and Stephen. America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible: Race in Modern America. 162-4)
Over the period of five days, 43 people died, an additional 1,189 were injured, 7,000 were arrested, and more than 1,400 buildings were burned. The riot caused an estimated $22 million in damages. Beyond the immediate destruction of a considerable section of the city, the disturbances are thought to have accelerated white flight (and also middle-class black flight) to the surrounding suburbs and led to an increased fear of the city among many suburbanites which continues to this day. Furthermore, Detroit's overall population within the city limits (today more than 80% black) has been sliced in half within the space of five decades. In the 1950 census, there were more than 1,800,000 residents within the city limits, more than three-fourths of whom were white. By the 2000 census, however, there were only about 950,000 city residents—the first time since the 1910 census that Detroit had officially recorded fewer than a million inhabitants—and whites made up less than 15% of the population. As conditions have deteriorated in the city—notably in the performance of its public school system and in its notoriously high crime rate—some of the city's suburbs have become predominantly African-American, such as Southfield in neighboring Oakland County . Many observers trace the dramatically quickened pace of these developments to the 1967 unrest and to public school desegregation orders by federal courts in the early 1970s.
At the time, Mayor Jerome Cavanagh , a white liberal Democrat, lamented upon surveying the damage, "today we stand amidst the ashes of our hopes. We hoped against hope that what we had been doing was enough to prevent a riot. It was not enough."
Reflecting on the riots, later Detroit Mayor Coleman Young wrote:
"The heaviest casualty, however, was the city. Detroit's losses went a hell of a lot deeper than the immediate toll of lives and buildings. The riot put Detroit on the fast track to economic desolation, mugging the city and making off with incalculable value in jobs, earnings taxes, corporate taxes, retail dollars, sales taxes, mortgages, interest, property taxes, development dollars, investment dollars, tourism dollars, and plain damn money. The money was carried out in the pockets of the businesses and the white people who fled as fast as they could. They white exodus from Detroit had been prodigiously steady prior to the rebellion [sic], totally twenty-two thousand in 1966, but afterwards it was frantic. In 1967, with less than half the year remaining after the summer explosion—the outward population migration reached sixty-seven thousand. In 1968 the figure hit eighty-thousand, followed by forty-six thousand in 1969." (Hard Stuff, 179)
See also The Algiers Motel Incident .
I was there in 1967, although only 11 years old at the time I will never forget it. I was with my family at our summer cottage on Lake Orion when this broke out. 3 days after it started, I got very sick and had to be taken to Henry Ford Hospital, in the center of Detroit. We drove down Woodward Avenue into the city where many building were on fire. The National Guard was in the streets with armored vehicles. It was unreal. The hospital staff were all wearing surgical green. When we asked them why, they told us they were being shot at through the windows at night and the green was harder to see. I think I became a conservative that day as I vowed I would never feel afraid like that again. The only one that can protect you and your family is YOU. BTW I moved to Colorado in 1982 and absolutely love it here.
I lived through the riots. My grandmother's home was down in "Deepest, Darkest" Detroit, and that is where My mom grew up, and I spent My summers. Helping out Grandma, and learning that all was not "Disney & Sesame Street"!
Detroit has never, and will never recover from the effects of them and the ongoing liberal/former slave mentality. A once viable, working city has been doomed to a slow death spiral.
Friends and relatives from out of state, many times don't/can't understand just how bad it is. I avoid going down there whenever possable......It's just to depressing.
Now days, the same animals who brought this wanton destruction to Detroit, come north to the suburbs...Because it's safe, or it was safe....Untill they brought with them all of the same behaviors that doomed Detroit. Many of the places of my youth that were safe, fun, happy places, are no longer that way. Many of the things I hoped to show, and enjoy with my own children, are too unsafe to bring them to.
As they spread their "Culture" northward, I see the destruction, crime, and filth, that is following them coming closer to where My family and I live now.
They have made Detroit too unfit for them to stay in, so now they come here.
I'm just glad that My parents and grand parents aren't alive to see what has become of their city....
I can bet that many people think that this sounds racist, it's not, I'm not......It's just the truth.
I wish I could afford to move, but for now, I can't.
This is just really sad...the death of a great city. It is so paradoxical when compared to the northern parts of Michigan.