Eleven years after the riots ripped apart Detroit, the street where it all started received a new name: 12th street was now and since then has been named for Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks. But in July 1967, it was ground zero.
Five tumultuous days forever changed the landscape of Detroit. Was it a riot? A rebellion? An uprising? Call it whatever you decide, but it changed Detroit. With footage from the TV2 archives, we are looking back 50 years ago when the city changed forever. We're also looking forward as Detroit still tries to heal the wounds from half a century ago.
At the corner of Rosa Parks Blvd and Clairmount, Gordon Park stands today with playsets, picnic tables, and open space. But back in the 1960s, 12th and Clairmount was a shopping and entertainment area where people gathered after hours to celebrate the homecoming two soldiers from the Vietnam War.
Rep. John Conyers had just been elected to Congress 3 years before, a position he's held since then. The week of the riots, he called the acts ugly.
"As I saw the kind of people being brought into the police station's last night, they're the black have-nots of this country who have stored up more resentment than I or anybody else thought that they could store up. And it's coming out. And it's ugly."
He also told TV 2 reporter Sylvia Wayne that the problems were clear.
"Well I think that we can't over praise the way that the local officials have handled this matter. I think it's become painfully clear that we can't isolate the problems that they are spreading indeed throughout the whole city," Conyers said at the time.
George Romney was the Governor Michigan from 1963 to 1969 and oversaw the National Guard being deployed into Detroit.
"Entire blocks leveled by fire and pockets of destruction exist throughout the city. Losses due to fire and looting have been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars and these estimates may well prove to be conservative," he said.