Journalist and Writer

1967 Detroit Riot Recalled

Ronald Evans

Local residents recall living through the Detroit riot 50 years ago. Read their story.

2 Responses to “1967 Detroit Riot Recalled”

  1. John Frangoulis

    Bill nailed it again. Very thoughtful human interest…I remember the riots but I was just 17, I had no idea how extensive it was. Very informative.

  2. Theresa Welsh

    Mr. Evan’s story is interesting to me, as I too lived through the riot in July, 1967. My husband and I had moved to our first home together after being married in the City-County Building downtown on June 3. We had taken an apartment located on Chicago Blvd at Linwood St, very near where the riot began. On that fateful Sunday, we had relatives of mine and some friends visiting so they could meet my husband. We enjoyed food and conversation and it was only when some of them began leaving that we became aware of a disturbance outside. We learned about the rioting by turning on the TV set. Later, after dark, we went up on the roof of our building and saw fires burning in every direction.
    This neighborhood was densely populated by black people, many of whom moved there after their traditional neighborhood on the near east side was bulldozed to build the Chrysler Freeway. But our building and the building next to it were all-white buildings, and all the other buildings (the block of Chicago between Linwood and Dexter) were all-black. We, being white, realized it was a black neighborhood, but we liked the apartment and were not troubled by being white people surrounded by blacks.
    But that night, seeing the city on fire, was scary. The days that followed were full of the sounds of gunshots, tanks rumbling down the street in front of our building, and being unable to go to work or even leave the building for the first few days. Finally when we did go out, no one bothered us. I do not believe this was a “race riot.” If black people had wanted to attack white people, these two all-white buildings could have been targeted. But we suffered no losses or damage. I believe the cause of the riot was harsh treatment of black people by the mostly white Detroit Police Department.
    I hope we can recall this event and learn from it. Interesting that Mr. Evans remained in Detroit and raised his family. I admit, we moved out of that apartment not too long after the riot to a suburban apartment in Royal Oak (my husband had a job there, but I still worked on the city). Yes, white people moved out and so eventually did blacks who could afford to move. Today, Detroit’s suburbs are mostly integrated and white people are moving back into Detroit (mostly Downtown, Midtown and Corktown). Segregation is not the answer. We must treat each other with respect and live together in peace and equality.
    Theresa Welsh /


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