Stewart Shevin was just 10 years old and out on summer break in Detroit, when he heard explosions. He remembers military vehicles driving through his neighborhood and reflects on what he says was the non-existence of race relations of that time.

 

This is part of a series of eyewitnesses to the civil unrest that broke out in Detroit in 1967, after a summer of nationwide outbursts. The violence lasted five days and left 43 people killed, 1189 injured, over 7000 arrests and more than 2000 buildings destroyed, making it the deadliest instance of civil disorder since the Civil War draft riots. It served as a catalyst for Pres. Johnson’s establishment of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, which was tasked with finding the cause of these outbreaks. Their conclusion: “We are moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.”

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