How the riots of 50 years ago changed Detroit

FIFTY years ago, Detroit lived through one of the worst riots in American history. So painful were the memories of the five days of killing, looting and arson that during previous anniversaries of the uprising, which started on July 23rd 1967 when police busted a “blind pig”, an unlicensed gambling and drinking joint, Detroiters largely avoided talking about it.

Many believe the riots marked the beginning of the city’s decline, culminating in its bankruptcy in 2013. This anniversary is different. Around 100 institutions, including the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Detroit Institute of Art, are reflecting on 1967 with books and booklets, exhibitions, documentary films, lectures and concerts. The effort has its own fancy logo and slogan (“Looking back to move forward”).

On July 25th Hollywood descended on Detroit for the red-carpet premiere of “Detroit”. The film dramatises one particularly violent incident during the riots, at the…Continue reading

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