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Plaque commemorating civil unrest unveiled 50 years after Detroit riots

Plaque unveiled at Gordon Park Sunday

DETROIT – For those who lived through the deadly Detroit riots 50 years ago, it's had a profound impact.

"I saw National Guard on top of my house with guns and some in back of the house," Tessie Hill, who lived through the riots, said. "We were so afraid. They had curfew for us to be in at a certain time."

"We couldn't sleep at night, couldn't go anywhere," Hattie Ross said. "(We) worried about the guys coming in with guns. Terrible."

The riots began on 12th Street and Clairmount Avenue on the west side and quickly grew.Over the course of five days, 43 people were killed, more than 7,200 people were arrested and more than 1,400 buildings were burned. The National Guard and U.S. Army were called in.

"It's easy for us to get together now and think nothing of it, but back then it was a different story entirely," another person who lived through the riot said.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said it's an experience he will never forget."I worked with some of the same officers who were deployed during the '67 conflict, and I knew then to effect change I needed to lead this organization," Craig said.

Fifty years later, a plaque was unveiled at Gordon Park Sunday, commemorating the civil unrest.

"War was declared on this community in '67, and in 2017 we're still fighting for our land," Venita Thompkins,a community activist said.

 

 

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