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Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2016/12/he-started-the-detroit-riots-his-son-wrestles-with-the-carnage/

Detroit bankruptcy and beyond

He started the Detroit riot. His son wrestles with the carnage.

The blind pig, also known as the United Community League for Community Action, was on the second floor of Economy Printing at 9125 12th Street. Bentley Historical Library

The blind pig, also known as the United Community League for Civic Action, was on the second floor of Economy Printing at 9125 12th Street. A police raid on this illegal bar and gambling joint sparked the 1967 Detroit uprisings. (photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library)

This story contains crude language

As much of the city slept, 19-year-old William Walter Scott III stood at the corner of 12th Street and Clairmount, watching as police escorted scores of black patrons out of a blind pig on Detroit’s west side.

Bill Scott (courtesy photo)

Bill Scott (courtesy photo)

It was about 3:45 a.m. July 23, 1967. William Scott, known as Bill, was among a crowd of mostly young African Americans gathering to watch the police hustle club patrons into waiting paddy wagons. He had a particular interest in two of the people being led away.

His father, William Walter Scott II, was the principal owner of the club, an illegal after-hours drinking and gambling joint. His older sister, Wilma, was a cook and waitress. The night was hot and sticky, and the crowd’s initial teasing of the arrestees devolved into raucous goading of police as they became more aggressive, pushing and twisting the arms of the women.

“You don’t have to treat them that way,” Bill Scott yelled. “They can walk. Let them walk, you white sons of bitches.”

William Scott, director of United Community League for Community Action, owner of the blind pig, father of Bill and Wilma Scott. (Detroit Free Press photo.)

William Scott, director of United Community League for Civic Action, owner of the blind pig, father of Bill and Wilma Scott. (Detroit Free Press photo.)

By the time the wagons were full, the crowd had swelled, the taunts had grown more hostile and, though police manpower was thin early Sunday, several scout cars responded to the scene. Cops stood at the ready in the middle of 12th Street, billy clubs in hand, forcing the throng back on the sidewalk.

Scott, tall and lean, mounted a car and began to preach to a crowd long accustomed to the harsh tactics of the overwhelmingly white Detroit police in black neighborhoods: “Are we going to let these peckerwood motherf—— come down here any time they want and mess us around?”

“Hell, no!” people yelled back.

Scott walked into an alley and grabbed a bottle, seeking “the pleasure of hitting one in the head, maybe killing him,” he remembers thinking. Making his way into the middle of the crowd for cover, he threw the bottle at a sergeant standing in front of the door.

The missile missed, shattering on the sidewalk. A phalanx of police moved toward the crowd, then backed off. As the paddy wagons drove away, bottles, bricks and sticks flew through the air, smashing the windows of departing police cars. Bill Scott said he felt liberated.

“For the first time in our lives we felt free. Most important, we were right in what we did to the law.”

The rebellion was underway.

A personal history

Bill Scott’s thrown bottle was a catalyst for one the most destructive civil disorders in U.S. history — five days of looting, arson and violence in Detroit that killed 43 people and resulted in thousands of injuries and arrests in a summer jolted by violence across dozens of U.S. cities.

But Scott, a bright but troubled product of the 12th Street neighborhood, left a multi-layered legacy more enduring than broken glass. It’s a legacy that still resonates today, as the 50th anniversary of 1967 draws near and Detroit reevaluates whether the despair and tensions of that summer continue.

Three years after the looting and burning, Scott, by then 22 and a student at the University of Michigan, self-published a memoir titled “Hurt, Baby, Hurt” that describes his experiences growing up as a young black man in majority-white Detroit, working in his father’s blind pig and living along 12th Street, the west-side thoroughfare that was Detroit’s crowded and rowdy sin strip.

He writes of growing anger at what he felt was the city’s racial oppression, where Detroit’s notoriously aggressive police were not shy about knocking heads on corners where black men lingered. Bill Scott’s account of his role in the violence comes from the memoir.

In 1969, an early version of his book won a prestigious Hopwood Award, the U-M literary prize whose student winners over the years included future heavyweights Arthur Miller, Lawrence Kasdan and Marge Piercy.

Largely forgotten, Scott’s memoir reads today like a newly discovered time capsule, but one with contemporary significance amid the divide between police and African-American communities across the nation. Perhaps no other account delves in such a deeply personal way into the rage and despair that drove so many black Detroiters into the streets that summer.

Scott, who spent a childhood steeped in self loathing, embarrassed by the radical black politics of his father and secretly imagining he was white, describes his political transformation through the racial animus he said he witnessed routinely in Detroit.

Auburn Sheaffer Sandstrom, a doctoral candidate at Cleveland State University, meets  with the African Wisdom Circle, an informal  weekly coffee-house group in University Heights, Ohio, that includes James E. Page, left, and John Omar. The group discusses issues of race, gender and the meaning of being human.  (Photo by Peggy Turbett)

Auburn Sheaffer Sandstrom, a doctoral candidate at Cleveland State University, meets with the African Wisdom Circle, an informal weekly coffee-house group in University Heights, Ohio, that includes James E. Page, left, and John Omar. The group discusses issues of race, gender and the meaning of being human. (Photo by Peggy Turbett)

But the story of Bill Scott did not begin with a thrown bottle on that July night nearly 50 years ago. Nor would it end with his subsequent downward spiral, marked by drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness.

For Bill Scott would have a son, Mandela. And that son would have his own dramatic journey — from a privileged upbringing that led him to the Ivy League, to his own racial awakening, when he realized that no matter how carefully his life was constructed, his skin color would always set him apart from the white world he had so confidently navigated.

The saga of Bill Scott must be told without Scott himself. Now 68, he has disappeared somewhere in coastal Florida. The political fire and promise of his youth would be derailed by substance abuse and mental illness, those close to him say.

“I’d never met anyone remotely like him. It was terrifying and exhilarating,” said Auburn Sheaffer Sandstrom, who first encountered Scott in a U-M graduate class and married him four years later.

Percy Bates, a professor of education at U-M, knew Scott briefly when Scott was a child and became closer to him in Ann Arbor, when Scott showed glimmers of his potential.

“Anybody who knew him knew that he was very bright, but he was just unable to use that brightness to any positive end,” Bates said. “I think later he probably would not have been able to produce the book or anything like that that required persistent attention.”

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE TO PART 2: How Bill Scott evolved from believing he was white to militant young black man.

28 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. Ishmail Terry

    Your comments are incorrect my family who of course we’re occupying or residence of the City of Detroit and the measure of the truth is not explained correctly. The racial imploded of racist officers killing of unarmed black men and inappropriate behavior towards black women cause a reaction of stand off and violence against a predominately black city sorted out Ferguson, MO and of today and you will have the image of the City of Detroit in the 50’s and 60’s.

  2. Kirk Cheyfitz

    This is a great story, Bill, and an important one. I thank you for researching and writing it so fully and well. I am particularly grateful because I am at work on a book about race and politics in Detroit and America. Your story is an invaluable resource for me and a deeply personal look at the roughly 350-year arc of history that has brought us from America’s colonial period to its founding as a center for slavery to the current moment when a new national administration seems unable to recognize or speak to anyone but white people. From the beginning, America was the place where the modern notions of race and white supremacy were formed and defined for the world, especially the Euro-centric West. You have added precious detail to the historical record.

    1. sonya

      Its sad that the newspapers wrote it as a riot and now the educated sell outs want to call it a REBELLION… smh my great grand owed & still n our family a home on Clairmount @ 12th street(Rosa Parks) & was always desribed as The Riot.

      1. Alecia

        On the surface, yeah it was a riot, but you must think deeper to the WHY and from a sociopsychological perspective it was a rebellion similar to today as a way to fight back against years of abuse and brutality. The raid was the tipping point.

      2. Lisa Biggs

        Ms. Sonya, I’m a professor at Michigan State University who is working on a stage play about the 67 riot. The play focuses on the experiences of women and girls in the city. I would like to talk with you more about your experiences in the neighborhood. Is that something you would be interested in?

  3. Bruce Harper

    My name is Bruce Harper and I’m working on a documentary about the 43 people that lost their lives during the rebellion. I’ve read that the person that through the bottle and started it all was nicknamed by police “Greensleeves,” later to find out his name to be Michael Lewis. Have you heard this, and is Scott and Lewis the same person?

    1. George Stewart

      The nickname of the Blind Pig was the Printing Press. It was hot as Hell that night, I was home from the Army , went down to have a drink. We parked our car and was about to go in when All HELL BROKE OUT.
      I saw who pushed who>Who threw the first bottle>Who Looted the first store>The five Police Car’s that slowed, but kept on going.
      A little known fact, Hundreds of young Black Men, completing,Draft obligations, were up at Camp Grayling.
      What did I do with ALL MY LOOT,…..LOL…I was a Combat Vet,but i still worried more about what my DAD would say about, Stolen Goods In His House.

  4. Ren Farley

    Bill,
    This is great. I am very glad to read your chapters. Does this mean the book will be published soon? Thanks for all your hard work on this important topic.

  5. Daniel

    I was a young Police Officer during the “Riots” of 1967 and just a year and a half home from Viet Nam my assignment was the Thirteenth Precinct and my Platoon was the one involved in the Algers Motel incident. The first thing I would like to set straight is the claim of only 43 deaths attributed to the riot the real number will never be known but it was in the hundreds I spoke to a worker from the Morgue shortly after the riot ended and he told me what BS the city told the public regarding the numbers. The only bodies counted as Riot related were gunshot victims no beatings or looters burned to death while looting and any fireman can tell you their were plenty of them. The Police department made hundreds of Missing Person Reports after the riot and their were no Recovery Reports made on hundreds of these. Many apartment buildings along then 12th. Street were burned to the ground and were just bulldozed over after the riot but you could drive down that street and smell the stench of rotting bodies for months and if you’ve ever smelled one their is nothing like it. The one sided accounts of the Detroit Riots don’t tell the whole truth their was a lot of hatred between the Police and a large number of inner-city residents, rebellion is term used to loosely here when it was actually a large number of people stealing what they could from their neighborhood stores which most never re-opened. Making the Detroit Riots anything more than a destructive slap in the Black Races face and a dishonor to all those innocent black men,women and children burned to death by their own people in all those buildings burned to the ground under the cloak of a needed rebellion.

    1. Bruce Harper

      Hi Daniel, my name is Bruce Harper and I’m working on a documentary about the people that lost their lives during the rebellion. I would like to talk with you further about my project and your possible participation. Is that something you would be interested in? 



      1. Daniel

        Bruce I was one of two retired Police Officers interviewed by the former News Reporter for the producers of this up coming movie!

        1. Bruce Harper

          What movie and can we talk?

          1. Daniel

            The Hollywood Producers who made Zero Dark Thirty and the Hurt Locker are making a movie as we speak, unk name but it’s supposed to be about the riot especially the circumstances around the Algers Motel incident!!

          2. Daniel

            Bruce what area of the country or state are you located?

          3. Daniel

            Bruce if you are a writer from this area I have a suggestion which I think would blow a huge hole in the Criminal Justice System and if done really well a good writer a Pulitizer Prize!!!!! If interested contact me through my E-Mail.

    2. John Lindsay

      Your comments are indeed racist and misguided, Harper.

      I guess you think it was okay for White racist cops to abuse, assault, mock, and terrify African Americas and other People of Color.

      If anything is one-sided, it is the official police reports, along with most everything written in the history books written by racist historians.
      How many INNOCENT People of Color did you regularly assault or even kill just because they were not White?!

      “people stealing what they could from their neighborhood stores”

      Did any of those stores employ anyone from that neighborhood?!
      NO….they did not.
      Sucking money out of the area, but NOT giving anything back.
      They should have burned them down.
      If you couldn’t get a job because of the color of your skin, you would loot, too.
      WHY….White people riot over restrictions on drinking on college campuses, in celebration of various sports championships, and pumpkins?!
      At least, when People of Color(African-, Asian- & Latino/a-Americans and Native “Americans”) riot, they are rebelling against oppression.

      And by the way….there are no such things as a Black race, a White race, or any other races.
      The White supremacy concept of “races of humans” has been debunked by the Human Genome Project.
      What is called “White skin” didn’t arise until about 8,000 years ago in what became known an Europe.
      Prior to that time, everyone had dark skin.
      “How white skin evolved in Europeans: Pale complexions only spread in the region 8,000 years ago, study claims

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3027873/How-white-skin-evolved-Europeans-Pale-complexions-developed-region-8-000-years-ago-study-claims.html

      You cannot make other “races” from one race.
      Africans were the first humans….and from them other ethnic groups arose.

      ” RACE – THE POWER OF AN ILLUSION”

      http://newsreel.org/video/RACE-THE-POWER-OF-AN-ILLUSION

    3. Bruce L. Harper

      Hi Daniel this is the person working on the documentary about the people lost during the riots. I would like to continue our conversation

  6. Pat

    The “riot” set the tone for me as a young high school student and was one of the many reasons I supported Coleman Young. The STRESS units caused huge problems. We got most of the real news by word of mouth. The establishment media was all in lockstep. The real story needs telling.

    1. Daniel

      Well I’ll tell ya Pat my POST is two above yours and I am a former S.T.R.E.S.S. officer and the problem we caused was crime dropped 50% because we risked our asses for the people of Detroit, the loud black radicals did hate us but the thousands of letters sent to our unit every time a Holdup Thug was killed was the real proof most people were in favor of the unit. A fact not most know and this is directly from a friend of mine who left my precinct to go Mayor Youngs protection detail was to by Coleman that Detroit needed a unit like S.T.R.E.S.S. and he didn’t want to abolish it but he made a campaign promise and had too, and that’s a fact.

  7. Eric

    Sounds like a familiar catalyst for modern riots, the police do something a youth doesn’t like and they resort to violence. The police should ignore a blind pig at 3:45am? That wouldn’t fly in any city then or now.

  8. Jerome Canty

    I lived on Euclid off 12st. I did not know the son that well but his father was very close to my parents they called him Scotty. When The riots started on 12 street The buildings on 12th was burning out of control
    A strange wind was blowing that day ,causing the fire to come down the block where the houses were .
    I begin to watch the houses on my block catch on fire I remember a man ran by me leaned up against the tree and was yelling it’s the end of the world . Soon after the fire was two houses down from ours, I was not just standing there watching but had water hoses trying to stop the fire from spreading .
    But we were being overcome with smoke . My mother said it was time to go . We were all packed up and leaving out of the house through the back door . I remember going back in the house looking for my dad he was sitting on the living room couch saying a captain has to go down with the ship I tried to make him come but he would not listen . after being from home A few hours I call to check on my father surprisingly he answered the phone , he said the fire department had come but could not do any thing because they were being shot it , my father was also a reserve firefighter he explain to the crowd that the majority of the people on the block did not have homeowners insurance . And they all came together put out the fires and saved our block .

    1. Eric

      Looking at google streetview, looks like there’s only one or two buildings left from a thriving neighborhood business district. Sad.

  9. Anne Marie

    We just released a documentary called: Uncle Jessie White – Portrait of a Delta Blues Man in Detroit. Uncle Jessie and his family, opened their homes to a mixed crowd of blues players during the late 60’s through the 70’s – the rebellion / riots. While the nightclubs were closed, these musicians played together and kept a sense of togetherness, while hatred exploded through southeastern Michigan and the country – these musicians stayed friends.

    We have applied to show it at the Detroit Free Press Film Festival in March, the Ann Arbor Film Festival and other film festivals throughout the country. The documentary is part of the National MotorCities Heritage Area. It has been supported by MCACA, City of Detroit Cultural Affairs Department, University of Michigan.

    Here are some links to it: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/canton/2016/09/20/documentary-detroit-blues-musician-set-screen-canton-michigan/90486892/
    https://www.facebook.com/UncleJessieWhiteDocumentary/
    and http://www.unclejessiewhite.com

  10. Chuck

    It’s a small world.

    One of my co-workers heard me talking about a recent weekend I spent in my old neighborhood in Detroit. He knew someone hear in town who had gone through the ’67 riots as I had. She too had fled Detroit to find a better life elsewhere. She raised her son, Mandela here in Findlay where her son and my friend Jeff’s son became friends in school. This post showed up on December 12th 2016 and he couldn’t wait to share it with me when I got back to town.

    July 1967

    We had been back and forth from Detroit to Lafayette Indiana to Philly back to Detroit……a military family bouncing around. I don’t remember where dad was but in ’67 it was Mom, my sisters and I moving back to the apartment at 12th & Bethune with my grandparents. It was great for me, we got back the first of July and my birthday was July 16th so I got spoiled by grampops and grams. It meant hanging out with friends from neighborhood, Boblo, Greenfield Village, Tiger Stadium all the great things about summer in Detroit.

    I’ve spent a chunk of my life telling my tales of growing up in Detroit. Most people blow it off, white boy from that neighborhood during that time, b.s. Well I tell you we were there, and over the years I’ve met other white boys who came from that same area. Funny thing is, to a man, we are all proud as hell of being from Detroit, not the burbs, but DETROIT. We were just three blocks from Motown. Mom worked in a local pizzeria where she served and got to know some of the Motown originals. I can’t imagine…… But I can remember. The Temp’s, Tops, Marvin, The Supremes, (My man) Lil’ Stevie. These folks became friends with mom, they used to play with me when I was hanging out. I can still remember these folks, just folk from the ‘hood eating, playing cards and of course sometimes there was harmonizing, the sweetest angelic voices on earth. No wonder I became a follower of Brother Gordy’s church at such a young age. Somewhere in our family’s piles of b&w photos, there is one of me at five years old dancing the twist on one of those pizzeria tables with Chubby Checkers. They would play the juke box and they’d dance, my mom included. It was her neighborhood, it was our neighborhood…….where she grew up, where her and my dad met, where they got married, where I was born (Woman’s Hospital), Ground 0 of the Black musical revolution. Don’t give me that British invasion crap, R&B, Soul……MOTOWN Baby.

    We had no idea that it was the beginning of another revolution.

    I was there when it started that night in July. Not until I read the article did I realize how close we were to the events leading up to the riot. When it started, we shut off all the lights, covered windows, you know like those scenes from WWII movies, total blackout. Grampops was wearing his usual summer oufit, a wife beater and boxers, a bottle of Canadian Mist and Lucky’s. He and I crawled out on this old iron balcony with a blanket over us. We were on the third floor looking North. We could see looters, tracer bullets, National Guard tanks, police cars speeding around, police cars burning, firefighters battling fires while being shot at. Those fires, they were everywhere, I can remember the sky being red, burning red. There was a store close to us that got torched. I can remember crawling back into the apartment and seeing the news on TV. I couldn’t tell the difference between the Detroit news and the Vietnam news, confusing for a ten-year-old. After a couple of days, we got evacuated. It wasn’t safe for us being white, we couldn’t leave the building. We weren’t in danger within our building where it was half Black and have Hungarian/Jew. Matter of fact, as neighbors did back in the day, we were taken care of. The black neighbors made sure we had food and made sure we stayed safe. All of kids played in the building running around like fools. I remember the adult Black males from our building walking the perimeter with ball bats keeping thugs away. When the National Guard truck came, and got us out, again those men lined the path and made sure we were safe. It’s funny now when I think of that time. I was a minority, in a neighborhood looked out for us. A lot of those families took care of me and my sisters when mom worked. It was a neighbor thing, a community thing, it was a village thing. In that building, no race, no religion, no politics, just neighbors looking out for each other’s best interest. I never really appreciated that until I I left Detroit. In Indiana I found out how confusing life was. I didn’t sound or act like a Midwestern kid. My music was Motown not Country & Western, my sports hero’s weren’t just white, O.J., Sayers, and both versions, Clay and Ali. Then when I joined the Marines and spent time in the south I really got an education that scared me. I learned what it was like to hated because of the color of my skin, my religion, my politics. I had brothers of color in the Marine Corps. We had a saying back then. All Marines are green, some are light green, some are dark green, but we are all Marine Green. Our community was strong like back in Detroit, we may not always get along, but within that Corps, within that unit or that squad bay we were community. We found places all over the world, even here in America, that we couldn’t be brothers off base or out of our squad bay.

    July 1977

    Once while I was still in the Corps I went back to Detroit to visit my granparents. The cab dropped me in front of the old apartment. As soon as I got out of the cab, the driver yelled “Good luck!” and screeched away. I really felt out of place….something ominous. Black men started collecting around me, they didn’t seem too happy with what had just dropped on their front porch. Right away it got hot, there was a lot of “white boy”, “cracker”, “dead man” jokes being made and it got tense really quick. “I’m a dead man” I thought.

    Until…..

    There was an old gal sitting in her window trying to cool off watching this powder keg heating up down on the street. At one point, she called out, “Chuckie is that you baby?”. It was Loretta, one of the ladies who used to watch over me. She started hollering at all the jitter bugs on the street. “You dumbasses back off, that’s Chuckie he’s a homeboy, sit your ass down, this his home, he’s one of my boys”. After what seemed like hours, one of the men speaks up, “you Jack’s grandson, damn boy you coulda got killed.” Others either recognized me or acknowledged my place as a legitimate homeboy. As scared as I was when I arrived, I now felt as safe, as if I were in my barracks with my “Dark Green Marine Brothers”. I was welcomed back home. It was July of 1977, ten years since the riots. I had a blast that week, I got to do things in Detroit that white boys didn’t get to do anymore.

    August 2017
    I went back up this summer, 50 years since the riots. I went to the old neighborhood. Our building is still there, boarded up, falling apart. Grampops “blind pig” is still there on the corner, right next to our building, couldn’t tell if it was still open! Most of the houses are uninhabited. The big ol’ church on the corner is falling apart, very few people on the street. I met a Housing Authority Cop on patrol of the area. At first he was a little hesitant to talk to me. I mean here’s this bearded ol’ white guy with Florida license plates in an area not known for bearded ol’ white guys from Florida. I told him of my history growing up there and the walls soon fell. We had a nice long talk about the life of the neighborhood then and now. Turns out we were born at the same hospital, him four years older, we attended the same elementary school. He grew up just a few blocks away on the other side of 12th Street. It warmed my heart that the area is coming back. I got twin boys, 18 years old. They’ve been bored to death with all of the stories. Next week one of them is coming up for a visit. He wants to see where his ol’ man came from. He wants to see Hitsville, Ford Museum, Woodward Ave. all of it. Believe me when I tell you that I am proud to do it. For me, being from Detroit has always been point of pride for me. I mean, I am a Marine, but I am also a Marine born in the “D”. Now that’s some bad ass shit there!
    Sorry I got off on a tangent but it really is a small world.

    1. Daniel

      Great story Chuck would make a good movie or play!! When I got out of the Corps in “66” and joined the P.D. my assignment wasn’t far from 12th. and Bethune east of the Lodge, you were in the 10th. Precinct which was considered the worst in the city. Since the riots and by the opinion of a lot of knowledgeable people who are willing to speak of what they really think the Coleman Young era started Detroit in a downward spiral which ended in being broke and a waist land in fact Farms where thriving neighborhoods once were. By all accounts a comeback has started but like always the downtown area is getting all the cash and the neighborhoods are still in shambles. I guess the best thing to do is wait and see!!!!!!!

  11. Dino

    I discovered an awesome youtube vid made from 8mm movies shot by some young guys driving through the aftermath of the 67 riots. These guys held the camera still in their car, and did not constantly pan around or zoom in & out all the time. It is SO well done. They documented the damage better than any other video I’ve seen. I don’t know if these guys looked at the newspaper accounts and hit all the worst locations, or if they just drove around at random, but they did manage to drive past almost ALL of the “best” spots. I’ve identified close to 100% of the location shots. That was a real project. Enjoy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrFoNG-X8F8&t=81s

  12. Doug

    Chuck, I read with great interest your story. I grew up north of you in Highland Park, south end near Hamilton and Webb. Never realized until later in life what a blessing that was. Didn’t think about at the time of course as we were just kid’s growing up. On my block with single family homes and small apartments on Hamilton. It was I guess a polyglot neighborhood. On my block there were Blacks up near Hamilton, Chaldeans up and down the street, two German family’s, Italian family with twin sisters, Lithuania family next door and family from England on the other side. They were all immigrants as was my family and my cousin’s who were across the street. Those languages were all spoken in the house and the kid’s used english on the street. It was rough and tough. Could never keep a bike around, has six or seven stolen, even the rat bikes put together with parts. Never had any money until you got to know the guy’s. The, ” You going to lend me some change” with a knife showing. Those guy’s. Got older, things happened and I ended up on the Wayne Co Sheriffs Dept working at the jail across from DPD Hdqs. About the first week or so I was walking the 5th floor at the jail and someone called out to me and it was one of those guy’s who who got tired of trying to take our money and I got to know. Seems he was in for a murder and waiting on a trial. I would see him on the rounds and chat a bit then I heard he had taken a plea and gone to Jackson. Then I went to the DPD and into the same class with Daniel, who posted above. We both ended up at #13.

    I remember getting called out very early on a Sunday morning in July to get into work. That early morning I somehow ended up in Scout car with Sgt Frank B who was a black Sgt and I think another PO Joe S. Sgt B stated he wanted to see just what was going on and told me to drive. None of us had any idea. Short hop over the Lodge and up towards 12th street. That was I think maybe 9am or something, remember fifty years has gone by. Made a mistake, pulled out on 12th street and all you could see was smoke, fire, and hundreds and hundreds of people, men, women, kids, of all ages, just going nuts. It was like mass hysteria. Little red wagons were filled with loot, people were loaded down with whatever they could steal and carry or drag away. Storefronts were broken out, wire grills hanging loose, street was covered with bricks, glass and debris. The smoke was starting to billow out some of the upper windows. I think back and realize that these were all people from that neighborhood, for the most part good people, probably church going people, hundreds if not thousands of normally good people just stealing and destroying. I remember Sgt. B just saying, No, No, No. Then the bottles and rocks started to hit the scout car and off we went. Ended up at Herman Kiefer Hospital Command Post with four flat tires and I think the windshield smashed. We worked out of that command post for at least the next four of five days I think. Have never forgotten trying to take a nap at night at the post and watching the tracer fire light up the sky and constant gunshots would jolt you awake just when you nodded off. The Salvation Army people seemed to have set up even before were there. Hot dogs and coffee and they never left. Bullets flying, tracer fire zinging across the hospital roof line and they would ask if I wanted a coffee and a donut. The very best people. I have never forgotten that.
    I think Danny may be correct in that the number of deaths in that time are not really correct. Not at all sure they recovered everyone as people were shot and ran away. People were in buildings that burned and fell in. The human death smell lingered in areas of the city for weeks.

    Chuck, sorry I ran on with this but read your post and could relate with it. It seems to me that those of us who grew up in a multicultural neighborhood may have somewhat more empathy and understanding of the human condition that someone who hasn’t. Of course the parent or if lucky the parents
    can be the guiding light so to speak. I was very lucky in that. I know what you mean when you say I was from Detroit and proud of it. I would tell people I grew up in the Park and worked the streets of Detroit and was thankful I had that life experience. Most of the time they look at me dumbfounded. Take Care.

  13. Lisa Biggs

    Reading the article and the comments I am really struck by the raw feelings that are still circulating around the riot/rebellion/uprising of 67. I’m working with undergrads at Michigan State University to develop a show about the events that focuses on the experiences of women and girls. Where were they? Where are they now? Why don’t the stories about the riots include them very often even though they were out on the streets, they were taking care of family, they were shoplifting, they got arrested, they ran from the gun fire and the tanks and the fires….

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