As the riots and the violence began to subside , Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) sat for an interview discussing the state of the city and his thoughts about the Detroit riots.
GALLERY: AP photos from the Detroit riots
“It’s not an accumulation of a couple of years or since World War II,” Conyers said. “I think that were going to be able to look into this and find that when you take 250 years of slavery and put 102 years of second to tenth class citizenship according to where you live, created, in America, a special negro culture, segregated at all times except for a few general exceptions and a little tokenism type progress, that you began building up this kind of resentment.”
Conyers was first elected to congress in 1964, representing Michigan's 1st District, which was later renumbered to the 14th district in 1990 and later the 13th district in 2013.
“Most of the people (that were arrested), as I can determine, are not generally known in the community,” Conyers said. “I’ve described them as the economic ‘have-nots’ in our community.”
Conyers took to the streets on the first day of the riots, using a bullhorn in an attempt to encourage African Americans to go home. He told the crowds that nothing could be achieved through violence, but the people were too frustrated and enraged to listen. Protesters shouted 'No' and began throwing rocks, bricks and bottles.
Congressman John Conyers, Detroit Democrat, uses a bullhorn as he tried to encourage African American in Detroit's riot area to go home, July 23, 1967. He was met with shouts of "No, no." As Conyers stepped down a rock hit the street a few feet from him. (AP)
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