50 years later: Remembering the 1967 riots in Detroit
DETROIT – For those who lived through the riots in Detroit 50 years ago, the events had a profound impact.
The rioting began Sunday, July 23, 1967 on 12th Street and Clairmount Avenue on the west side and quickly grew.
"I saw National Guard on top of my house with guns and some in the back of the house. We were so afraid. They had a curfew for us to be in at a certain time," said Tessie Hill.
Hattie Ross recalls sleepless nights filled with fear.
"We couldn't sleep at night, couldn't go anywhere. We were worried about the guys coming in with guns ... terrible," she said.
Over a five-day period more than 7,200 people were arrested and more than 1,400 buildings were burned. The National Guard and U.S. Army were called into Detroit. When it was over, 43 people had been killed.
"It's easy for us to get together now and think nothing of it, but back then it was a different story entirely," said Rep. John Conyers.
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 affect change I needed to lead this organization," said Craig.
Now 50 years later, a plaque has been unveiled at Gordon Park to commemorate the civil unrest.
"War was declared on this community in '67, and in 2017 we're still fighting for our land," said Venita Thompkins, community activist.
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