“DETROIT RIOT (’12TH STREET RIOT’)” (1967)

The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the “12th Street Riot”, was a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan, that began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967. The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as a blind pig, on the corner of 12th and Clairmount streets on the city’s Near West Side. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in United States history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit’s 1943 race riot, which occurred 24 years earlier.

To help end the disturbance, Governor George Romney ordered the Michigan National Guard into Detroit, and President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in Army troops. The result was forty-three dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed. The scale of the riot was second only to the New York City Draft Riots, which took place during the U.S. Civil War and the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The riot was prominently featured in the news media, with live television coverage, extensive newspaper reporting, and extensive stories in Time and Life magazines. The Detroit Free Press won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage.

The crimes reported to police included looting, arson, and sniping and took place in many different specific areas of Detroit: on the west side of Woodward Avenue, extending from the 12th Street neighborhood to Grand River Avenue and as far south as Michigan Avenue and Trumbull, near Tiger Stadium. East of Woodward, the area around East Grand Boulevard, which goes east/west then north/south to Belle Isle, was involved. However, the entire city was affected between Sunday, July 23, and Thursday, July 27. A citywide curfew was enacted, sales of alcohol and firearms were prohibited, and business activity downtown was informally curtailed in recognition of the serious civil unrest engulfing sections of the city.[citation needed] Blacks and whites both participated in the rioting.

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