19-year-old Carolyn Colvard was at the “blind pig” that night when a routine police raid sparked five days of civil unrest. A “blind pig” is a local term for an illegal bar. She and her sister Loretta Holmes were celebrating the return of two Vietnam veterans, just before local police broke down the door, arresting everyone inside.

 

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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