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RIOTS OF DETROIT

JULY 1967
• The blind pig above this print
shop at 9125 12th Street
between Clairmount and
Atkinson streets became the
flashpoint for the chaos. Police
raided the club at 3:40 a.m.
Sunday, July 23. As the last
arrestees were loaded into
police cars, a bottle crashed
through a squad car window.
What had been Saturday night
revelry quickly turned into a
crowd of about 200 shouting
angry cries against "the man"
and "whitey."
• Police watch as chaos spills into the
intersection of 12th and Clairmount in Detroit
following a predawn police raid on a blind pig --
an illegal drinking establishment. It is Sunday,
July 23, 1967. When the violence ended five
days later, 43 people had died. The racial unrest
became known as the nation's worst.
• Smoke fills the air over the ruckus on 12th
Street. The police department's first strategy
was to barricade the street. By about noon
Sunday, the first bouts of unrest had subsided.
Hopes rose that it would prove a relatively
minor, albeit ugly, incident.
• U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) speaks
through a megaphone to a crowd at 12th and
Clairmount streets on Sunday, July 23, in an
attempt to quell rising tensions. "Stay cool,
we're with you!" Conyers shouted. He was
• Police patrol 12th and Clairmount streets, the
epicenter of the chaos.
• Police arrest a
man on 12th
Street on
Sunday, July 23.
In the decade
leading up to the
unrest, blacks
made up about a
third of Detroit's
population. In
1967, they
accounted for
only 7 percent of
the city's police
force.
• Fire ravages a row of
houses. At 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 23, the
fire department
issued Signal 3-477,
the order to muster
all able-bodied
firefighters. The
code had been
created during World
War II, but not used
until that day. Their
charge: to douse the
fires spreading
across several areas
of the city.
• A woman
screams
"Mother!
Mother!" as a
man forcibly
removes her
from a burning
home on Sunday,
July 23. Neither
are identified.
• Fires spread along
Grand River Avenue
near Warren
Boulevard, an area
more than two miles
from the epicenter of
the civil disturbance. In
all, the affected areas
covered several square
miles. "It looks like a
city that has been
bombed," Gov.
Romney remarked after
a helicopter tour.
Grand River near 12th St.
• Looters raid the A&P
store on Grand
Boulevard east of
Linwood Street on
Sunday, July 23, about
a mile and a half from
the epicenter of the
chaos. Reports of
looting began pouring
in just an hour after
the police raid that
sparked the civil
disturbance. Between
looting and fires, more
than 500 businesses
were destroyed and
another 500 damaged
-- an estimated $50
million in damages.
• Looters smashed this
store at Linwood and
Pingree streets, about 6
blocks from the
epicenter of the chaos,
on Sunday, July 23. The
shop next door has the
word "soul" spray-
painted on the windows.
Black business owners
rushed to mark their
shops, hoping to be
spared by looters.
Despite their efforts,
white- and black-owned
businesses were
damaged.
• Armed men guard a
store against further
looting on Monday,
July 24. The first
deaths attributed to the
chaos happened
Monday. That same
day, dozens of
reporters from around
the world began to
arrive in Detroit to
record and broadcast
the city's turmoil.
• Elder Maston and his
dog guard his store on
Monday, July 24, after
the first full night of
unrest.
• National Guardsmen
clear an area near
Taylor and Linwood
streets on Monday,
July 24. The first of
some 3,000 Michigan
National Guardsmen
began to set up west
of Woodward
Avenue, from the
Detroit River to
Highland Park, late
on Sunday, July 23.
The young
guardsmen had no
training in crowd
control.
• Firefighters work
on a fire at Grand
River Avenue and
Myrtle Street on
Monday, July 24.
Fires reached a
peak Monday with
a staggering 617
alarms. By then, 44
other communities
had volunteered
men and
equipment.
• Three-year-old Thomas
Allen stands in the
rubble of his burned-
out Chene Street home
on Monday, July 24. By
late Sunday, the chaos
had spread to Mack
Avenue on the East
Side, roughly 5 miles
from where it started.
• Willie Moore, Elizabeth
Allen, holding Thomas
Allen, 3, and Louella
Underwood kneel in
the rubble of their
• Soldiers deliver
children separated
from their parents to
a command post
late on Monday, July
24. Fires and safety
concerns drove
about 1,000 families
from their homes.
The chaos
temporarily
scattered some
families.
• Troops from the 82nd and
101st Airborn divisions
arrive fully equipped at
Selfridge Air Base on
Monday, July 24. They
were among some 4,700
federal troops airlifted to
the Macomb County base
that day. Federal
paratroopers move into
position in front of
Southeast High School on
Fairview Street. As looting
and arson trailed off, a
deadly guerilla warfare
with snipers began.
Paratroopers protected
firefighters working to quell
the city's blazes.
• Hospital staff treat
injured residents at
Detroit Receiving
Hospital on Monday,
July 24. Over days of
chaos, 342 people
were reported injured.
• Nuns at Visitation
Church on Webb Street
hand out food at a
makeshift depot for
citizens displaced by
the civil disturbance on
Tuesday, July 25.
• Police apprehend a group of suspected
snipers at Temple and Trumbull streets on
Tuesday, July 25.
• Resident William Keller
views the hole from the
bullet that killed
businesswoman Helen
Hall on the fourth floor
of the Harlan House
hotel near the John C.
Lodge Freeway. A
stray bullet struck her
as she watched a gun
battle between police
and guardsmen on one
side, and snipers on
the other, at about 2
a.m. Wednesday, July
26.
• National Guardsmen
SP4 Roger Drobney
and Capt. Jerome
Feldstein keep vigil in
the rain Thursday, July
27. Gov. Romney had
lifted a 9 p.m. to 5:30
a.m. curfew earlier that
day, but was forced to
reinstate it by 7 p.m.
when sightseers
jammed 12th Street.
That night, guardsmen
continued to search
cars attempting to
drive through affected
areas.
• Troops from the U.S.
Army, 505th Infantry
cover a vacant house
until police arrive on
Thursday, July 27.
Many had experience
in Vietnam and the
Dominican Republic,
and showed few signs
of the jittery nerves
evident in the National
Guardsmen.
• Michael Johnson, 7,
stands outside the Red
Cross distribution
center at 12th and
Webb streets, guarding
boxes of groceries for
his mother.
• A truck bearing a sign
that reads, "Tell that
grocer to go to hell,"
passes out food on the
West Side on
Thursday, July 27. The
sign refers to reported
price gouging by some
area grocery stores.
Prisoners make room in the Old Wayne County jail
on Thursday, July 27. Floors of the jail meant to hold
200 people were crammed with as many as 500.
"Some people were in there for a week because they
had gotten lost in the system," Sheriff Deputy Cpl.
Larry Price said in a 1987 interview.
• A Detroit Police Department unit known as
the "commandos" patrols Grand River
Avenue on Thursday, July 27, after a day of
sporadic sniping on the West Side. At right is
a row of furniture stores gutted by fire.
Smoke billows from West Side housing projects on
Friday, July 28. The last major fire of the civil
disturbance erupted on 12th Street between Hazelwood
and Taylor streets on Friday. That same day President
Johnson announced the start of a gradual withdrawal of
U.S. troops.
• Medics remove a body from Manor
House, an annex of the Algiers
Motel at Virginia Park and
Woodward Avenue on Wednesday,
July 26. The most notorious deaths
of the civil disturbance occurred
when police, responding to reports
of sniper fire, found 8 black youths
and 2 white girls partying in the
annex, an old brick house behind
the motel. No arrests were made,
but officers reportedly lined the
group up against a wall and pistol-
whipped them. Three hours later,
the bodies of three black teenagers
were found there by other officers.
Carl Cooper, 17, Aubrey Pollard, 19,
and Fred Temple, 18, were the 3
victims found at Manor House.
Three police officers eventually
were charged in 2 of the deaths, but
none was convicted. The tragedy
was later documented in a 1968
book by John Hersey titled "The
Algiers Motel Incident."
• Algiers Motel
defendants, from left,
David Senak, 25,
Ronald August, 31,
Robert Paille, 34, all
Detroit policemen, and
private guard Melvin
Dismukes, 26, talk to
reporters Wednesday,
Feb. 25, 1970, during a
court recess. An all-
white jury acquitted
them on conspiracy
charges relating to
deaths of the three
black teens
• Detroit Mayor Jerome
P. Cavanagh and Sen.
Philip Hart tour a
ravaged area on
Monday, July 31. In the
wake of the civil
disturbance, Cavanagh
appointed department
store magnate Joseph
L. Hudson Jr. to a blue
ribbon panel to plan for
the aftermath.
• The devastation is still
evident as Gov.
Romney walks along
12th Street on Sept.
11, 1967.