I decided to create a list of details that you need to know regarding what was taking place in the city of Detroit before the 1967 riot: And before you watch the movie “Detroit,” which will be in theaters August 4th, 2017. I have been told the movies narrative will accurately portray the plight of the citizens, and what actually happened that night to ignite the riot. Most of the list are things that were occurring or occurred before the 1967 riot, and there are a few items listed that happened directly after the riot ended.
1. There was a race riot in 1943.
2. African American (Pan Africans, Blacks) people were dissatisfied with the social conditions in Detroit before July 23rd 1967.
3. African Americans (Pan Africans, Blacks) constantly reported discrimination against them in
A. Policing (Harassing citizens and putting them in jail without cause).
B. Housing (African Americans experienced redlining meaning they could only live in certain areas).
D. Spatial segregation in the city.
E. Mistreatment by business owners/merchants.
F. Shortage of facilities.
G. Poor quality of public education.
H. Lack of access to medical services.
I. The way war on poverty operated in Detroit.
4. African Americans insisted and pleaded with the Mayor to create a review board for the Detroit Police Department due to the brutal beatings and killings of African American people by the police. Of course the review board wasn’t created.
5. Police brutality constantly made African American people feel at risk. The Detroit news had headlines regarding many suspicious and unjust deaths of Black people caused by Detroit Police officers.
6. African American people were tired of being spoken to disrespectfully by police. For example addressing Black men as “boys” and Black women as “honey “ and “baby.”
7. African Americans reported police brutality as the number one problem they faced leading up to the riot.
8. African Americans felt police raided after hours unjustly because the police knew African Americans weren’t allowed in the clubs in Detroit.
9. When the riot started the unemployment rate of Black men was more than twice the amount of White men.
10. By 1967 the homes that African Americans lived in were rented from Jewish owners that now lived in the Suburbs, and they owned the local businesses as well. Most of the Black owned thriving businesses had already been demolished thanks to the Government for building I-75.
11. White Flight began, which is when White people began moving out of Detroit in huge numbers. Businesses began to leave Detroit, and businesses refused to invest or locate in the city. The 60’s are the mark of the decline of Detroit.
Let’s not forget these very important events including assassinations that occurred before the 1967 riot!
The Vietnam war officially began in 1961. President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The Civil Rights Act to stop discrimination was also signed and passed by Congress in 1964. Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965.
If you’ve read the list you’ll be able to identify with many issues because they are still happening today. I hope the information provided help you understand the frustration, discrimination, hopelessness, fear, anger, sorrow, depression, and anxiety that Black people felt at that time. Imagine being trapped in the same place with all those feelings that I stated. Imagine being punished and further pushed to the edge, because you displayed how tired you were of being mistreated. Tired of identifying the problem, and yet nothing being done to rectify the situation.
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