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This entry appeared today in Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac.”
It was on this night in 1967 that an uprising began in Detroit. An all-white squadron of police officers decided to raid a bar in a black neighborhood where there was a party to welcome home two recent veterans of the Vietnam War. The police stormed the bar, rounded up and arrested 85 black men and began loading them into vans.
The riot that broke out raged for five days. Thousands of soldiers from the Michigan National Guard were called in, along with tanks. The National Guardsmen fired off more than 150,000 bullets over the course of the riot. Citizens were terrorized, beaten, and murdered, as depicted in the movie Detroit (2017), based on the recollections of witnesses to the Algiers Motel Incident.
Forty-three people were killed and whole blocks of the city went up in flames. After the riots, many of the white residents of the city moved to the suburbs in “white flight.” Detroit became one of the poorest cities in America.