Recollections of the 1967 Detroit Riots-- what's yours?

SoulfulDetroit.com FORUM: Archive - Beginning May 30, 2003: Recollections of the 1967 Detroit Riots-- what's yours?
Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (205.188.209.38) on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 08:34 pm:

Just recently, WTVS-TV 56 (PBS Detroit) ran a program segment regarding the 1967 Detroit riots, which started in the early hours after the Detroit police raided a 'blind-pig' on July 23, 1967... here's one of my own vivid recollections, I never forgot about this one:

I remember when my 14 year old friend, Larry Cardenas, from southwest Detroit, jumped in the car with his mom (yes, his own mother), and they drove off (in their 1966 Ford Fairlane convertible) down to where the all the looting was taking place somewhere on 12th street, which thereafter they had returned with a large, brand-new 'Philco' color console television nestled in the back seat of the car, but with the 'rag-top' down...!

While his mother sat watching behind the wheel, my friend said he jumped out of the car after picking a store that was already being ransacked, looted, saw what he wanted, and then he had someone already there (they were looters), help him load up the large damn thing in the waiting car, mom behind the wheel... they came home with a brand new console Philco TV, and it was free!

Some more of mine coming, later on... in the meantime, what's your most vivid, '67 'Detroit riot' recollection that you may want to share with us, right here?

Top of pageBottom of page   By STUBASS (205.188.209.38) on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 02:43 am:

HEY JIM: I PLAYED A GIG AT COBO HALL ON THE EVE OF THE RIOTS...LEAVING COBO AT ABOUT 1:00 AM...DROVE UP THE LODGE FREEWAY...PASSING THE RIOT AREA PROBABLY JUST BEFORE IT BEGAN!!!...FOUND OUT THE NEXT MORNING WHAT WAS GOING ON!!!...4 OR 5 DAYS LATER...MY REGULAR GROUP...THE STRIDES...WERE ASKED TO PUT TOGETHER A SHOW FOR THE FEDERAL TROOPS THAT WERE CAMPED OUT AT THE STATE FAIRGROUNDS!!!...WE PUT TOGETHER A SHOW...WENT OVER THERE...AND PERFORMED FOR A BUNCH OF SOLDIERS...I THINK THE 101ST AIRBORNE...AND THEY REALLY APPRECIATED IT!!!...NO...BOB HOPE DID NOT EMCEE THE SHOW...WE DID!!!...IT WAS AN INTERESTING EXPERIENCE!!!...ANOTHER INTERESTING TITBIT!!!...SEVERAL YEARS LATER...I WAS SOMEWHERE (PROBABLY SOMEWHERE I SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN)...AND WAS INTRODUCED TO "GREENSLEEVES"!!!..."GREENSLEEVES" IF YOU REMEMBER...WAS THE GUY CREDITED WITH STARTING THE RIOT...BY RUNNING UP AND DOWN THE STREET...AND INCITING PEOPLE TO RIOT AFTER THE "BLIND PIG" WAS BUSTED!!!...HE WAS APPARENTLY WEARING A SHIRT WITH GREEN SLEEVES...SO THE POLICE REFERRED TO HIM AS "GREENSLEEVES"!!!...PLUS...I ATTENDED A WEDDING ON THE SUNDAY NIGHT...NEXT NIGHT...AFTER THE RIOT BEGAN!!!...STU

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm (68.113.15.28) on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 10:16 am:

Three thoughts come to mind.
A date and I were at The Music Hall watching a Cinerama film (The Sandpebbles?) when the manager of the theatre stepped out on the little stage during intermission and said that the mayor requested everyone please go home. Then driving back to Ferndale, looking at burning buildings.

I worked downtown (Mary Jane Shoes) and mom wouldn't let me go to work for the next week. When I did go back, I remember 1) a soldier coming into the store in full gear and walking up to the manager. Turns out this guy had worked there a couple of years before, and 2) the shock and sadness of looking out the front door of the shop and watching an armoured personell carrier traveling up Woodward. Sad times.

Top of pageBottom of page   By hiram (159.53.238.243) on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 10:35 am:

I experienced the Detroit riots from near Patton park in southwest Detroit. I remember the looting going on near Vernor ave. and the national guard camping out in Patton park. Jeeps manned with machines guns on the back were up and down our neighborhood streets. A lot of the fathers in my hood got all their hunting firearms ready and some even made molatov cocktails ready for any vandals who might think to start shit in our hood. I remember hearing a lot of gun fire at night. I also experienced the L.A. riots after Rodney Kings' trial. It just never ceases to amaze me when it come to the logic of individuals who use an opportunity to take advantage of others and the overall circumstance. I guess "those who has not...take from those who has"..! Unfortunately...those who come to take from my house will definetly get more lead then they have.

Jim,

No dig intended toward you. But that guy and his mom sound like quite the stand up characters.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (152.163.188.68) on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 06:02 pm:

Hi Hiram,
You know I still reside in the same neighborhood which you had described, I NEVER left... the very neighborhood which centers around the boundaries of Patton Park, on W. Vernor Hwy., near around Woodmere and Dix!

One other recollection of the 1967 Detroit riots that I remember as well, you had witnessed likewise, the very same thing... Patton Park was a 'military staging area' which had been used a base (one of many) to include U.S. Army firepower suc as 'tanks'; Jeeps, equipped with mounted 50 caliber machine guns, troop carriers; and there was even an Army 'chopper' or two. They were there for mant days thereafter, when the 'disturbance' was quelled after four days in which Detroit had witnessed then, the bloodiest, the worst civil upheaval in recent American history, back in 1967....

Further west toward 'downtown' Detroit on W. Vernor Hwy, was Clark Park (near Western High School on Scotten), there, another 'armed' camp also reserved for the U.S. Army and the Michigan National Guard, called for 'combat' duties in the burning neighborhoods and streets of Detroit... a horrific and most disturbing scene, not unlike we have ever witnessed and experienced since-- thank God!

Top of pageBottom of page   By hiram (159.53.32.41) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 09:33 am:

Jim,

Sounds like we were neighbors at one time. Some of my old retail hang outs were: Levitts hardware for H.O. slot car accessories, Federals, Cunninghams Drug Store, A&W Drive In, The yearly carnival at Dix & Waterman, Tasty Freeze on Springwells, etc. I fondly remember the pie eating contest at the July 4th Patton park festivities. We use to hang out in Woodmere cemetery and dodge the caretaker in his black station wagon with his German shepard guard dogs. Many a poor boy spent a few hours in a cell at the Fort & Green precinct waiting for our parents to get us out. My friends' Family owned the Carnival bar across from Clark Park. We use to buy our army jackets at the army surplus on Fort & Junction and frequent Shoe Fair on Fort St. I'm sure that brings back a few memories. How about Sammys' Pizzaria and Roman Village. My sister was a secretary at Levy's slag company during the 60's. I occassionally hit the old hood and was down there last week. I guess we could go on for days about the neighborhood. Anything sound familiar?

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 12:52 pm:

In the 50's, I went to Gillies Elementary on Junction near Fort St. I believe there was a Cunningham's store on the corner. My father took us to Clark Park and the waterfront at the west end of Grand Blvd. (Belle Isle was at the east end of Grand Blvd.)

The riot was an unbelieveable surprise to me. 12th street used to be crowded with lots of people all the time, and lots of blues clubs. Not to mention the after hour joints called "Blind Pigs." I attended some after hour joints. They were meeting placed after the clubs closed. They had a juke box and dancing, sold alcohol, played cards, and shot dice. You would see big and small named entertainers. The after hour joints were innocent other than selling alcohol and gambling. After the riots, most of them were gone.

What stands out in my mind about the riot, is the troop holding a gun to my back, ordering and escorting me and my father into the house.

In 1985, a friend of mine took me to an after hours house in Southwest Detroit. It brought back so many memories, and I was happy to have gone there. I couldn't believe it was there.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (62.252.128.6) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 01:22 pm:

I envy the club memories Sis.

David

Top of pageBottom of page   By hiram (159.53.32.41) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 02:37 pm:

Sis,

I went to a couple of parties in Del Ray where everyone and their mother played congas. What a trip. It was like Santana meets War. Guys with the name like CHEWKA and VAHTOE wearing trench coats and driving old Caddys.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (63.85.105.20) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 03:06 pm:

Hiram,
That's wild -- I can see that as vividly as if it was a film.

Funny thing is, blind pigs are so much in the fabric of Detroit culture that they're still there. I went to one just a few years ago; in person I'll recount that story, not here (laugh). Very innocuous, right on a busy street, no biggie.

The memory of the riots is still painful to me even though I was in school, well out of the line of fire ..

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 03:49 pm:

Thank you DMeikle.

Hiram - Del Ray was a little town all in itself. I remember going down Solvy(sp)Street near Jefferson with my parents. Solvy was a busy 12th Street, crowded. I am trying to remember the name of the little club that used to be on that street.

Sue - I was talking to a friend of mine who went to school with GC Cameron and lived in the same Southwest Detroit area. He said they used to sing to and from school. We grew up with my friend, but I cannot for the life of me remember George Cameron.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (64.12.97.7) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 04:51 pm:

FYI....
Oh by the way, www.soulfuldetroit.com's very own SUSAN WHITALL (Sue), did an exceptional article on an HBO documentary which aired last July 30, 2002, for the Detroit News, in which reference was made, for the most part, of the 1967 Detroit riots, and how a baseball team brought a 'divided' city "together" during their drive for a baseball pennant the following year in 1968, commonly refered to as... "1968, The year of the Tiger".

You can read Susan Whitall's (July 21, 2002) News article by clicking now:
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0207/21/a13-542060.htm

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 05:43 pm:

Great article Sue.

WTG Dennis and Ralph!! :o)

Reminds me, a member of the Tiger's team used to frequent a club on Michigan and 24th Street. Dennis Edwards and Philippe Wynne used to frequent there and sometimes sang there also. I can't remember the name of the club. But my sister remembers everything, and then some. Her late husband hung around with Philippe.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (205.188.209.38) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 11:02 pm:

Sis,
You went to school in Southwest Detroit for a while? Where G.C. was? Philippe grew up in G.C.'s house too so he was in that neighborhood...

G.C. told me where he went to school; I'll check what I wrote down.

Thanks Jim, the best part of doing that story was, I got to talk to Willie Horton AND get his cel phone number ...

Top of pageBottom of page   By LTLFTC (12.210.76.205) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 11:42 pm:

Wow - that's a beautiful article , Sue. Thanks for the link , Jim. My older brother took me to a lot of games in '67 and '68 - I remember being so shocked at the physical damage done by the riots as we would cruise around listening to the radio.
In fact , going to the games with my brother was the only time I ever got to hear WKNR. Growing up outside of Lansing, I was a hardcore CKLW fan but Keener didn't reach this part of the state. My bro hung out in Detroit quite a bit, though , and was up on the radio stations - I'd forgotten that little fact of my life until I read this thread.
This site sure can induce some serious time travel....

SteveK

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 12:04 am:

LTLFTC - You are right about that. So many memories came back to me. I can't believe the life I had, and never paid attention to it before.

Sue - My friend is the main lead singer in the Metros. He said he and George went to Lister elementary (or Jr. high) school. He said he and George always hung together because both loved to sing. He lived further southwest than I did. He lived near Del Ray. The other day he mentioned something about Home Street, and Peterson. His parents and mine were friends. So, he would be over our house or my brother would go over to his house.

I lived on Junction between Jefferson and Fort Street when I was young and going to elementary. When I think of that area, I think of Little Willie John.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 12:17 am:

When the troops got to town, my mother had to drive to Ecorse to pick up my brother who was singing at the "Visger Inn" on Visger road. Flash Beaver was the opening act. She told us that some troops stopped her as she was on her way there, and she told them "I have to go and get my son." He told her to hurry, and when she get back home to go into the house. My poor mother. I think I'll go over tomorrow and remind her of that time. She, being 81 years of age, likes to see me come over because I am silly, and I make her laugh.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (81.135.13.190) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 02:53 am:

The Visger Inn has quite a reputation Sis. Must have been some place.

Frances Nero gave me a sketch. She recalled herself and Kim Weston playing there.

Mindblowing!

I'm going to photograph the building in May as I believe it's still there.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (81.135.13.190) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 03:00 am:

What a stunning story Sue.

The image at the end is "fantastic".

David

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 03:31 am:

DMeikle - I woke up just now and turned my computer on at 3:30am. Now you see what Soulful Detroit does. You go to bed trying to remember things, and you wake having remembered. (LOL)

Sue - I remember the baseball players name. I believe it was Gates Brown. Was there a Tiger player by that name? And the name of the club on Michigan and 24th was the J&J Bar. I think they may have also called it "The Bucket of Blood." (LOL) I only went there once, and it was extemely crowded. But my sister went often because her husband worked there.

Going back to bed. :o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By radiogoon (206.148.224.54) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 03:57 am:

Yup Sis, Gates Brown was a Tiger. I remember growing up on Hereford just off Warren Ave. Watching all the fires on Mack (nothing like 12th, but rioting none the less) during the riots (I was a kid, but that stuck). Dad worked day shift at Jefferson Assembly, 6am start, got stopped by the Nat'l Guard every morning on the way into work wanting to know why he was breaking curfew!

Dr.Z

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (205.188.209.38) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 04:28 am:

SisDetroit,
Now you certainly have my 'perked' curiosity-- Junction, between Jefferson and Fort, and why would that area remind you of 'Little' Willie John?

Remember Gardner White Furniture and Bi-Lo Super Market, used to be there just right around the corner on Fort, from near where you had lived? And the Lincoln Theater, long ago, been torn down, used to sit near the corner of Calvary and Fort?

But anyway, that 'stretch' of Junction always seemed to remind me of "Shorty" Long's one, (1966) 'major' Motown hit, "FUNCTION AT THE JUNCTION"... wonder if there was any correlation drawn into that song, only because they knew of that long 'paved' stretch was on the map right along there, here... in Southwest Detroit?

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 11:10 am:

Dear Detroiters:
When I was in Detroit late last year, I visited what was the old Tigers Stadium. Does the city plan on using it for any purpose or will it be torn down? I was fortunate enough to take pictures of the area when I was there.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 01:05 pm:

KevGo - They have plans for Tiger Stadium, but I'm not sure that they are.

Jim Feliciano - I lived within houses from Jefferson. Thinking of that area reminds me of Little Willie John because that's what my parents were playing when we lived over there. He was extemely popular, and I remember that well. My parents loved him. This was in the 50's, and blues was prominent back then.

(That's where we lived when Emmitt Till was murdered. I will never forget my sister showing me his picture in the Jet. I went into hysterics. I was in the 3rd grade.)

In 1967, I was married, with 2 sons, and back home with Mother after fleeing from my ex. Didn't take me long to know I needed to be with my mommy and daddy. (LOL) They were living on Monterey between Woodrow Wilson and 12th. So, that area was lit up during the riot. It was horrible. So there was a "Hot Time in the Summertime", and Motown was the norm.

Top of pageBottom of page   By hiram (159.53.238.243) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 02:03 pm:

Sis,

You mentioned little Willie John. I happen to be friends with his son Keith John. Keith is an excellent vocalist who sings backup with Stevie Wonder and Babyface. In fact, in the SITSOM movie, Keith can be seen directly behind Stevie at footage from Earls V. Funeral. He's the guy with the Flat top Fade hair doo. Keith still lives in Detroit but spends a lot of time on the road. He is a riot to hang out with and does an excellent impression of the Carlton character from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Keith just hasn't been given the right opportunity to showcase his lead vocal ability as of yet, but I'm sure it will come due to his talent. I have some footage of him on stage with my band acting a fool. I told him as soon as his career takes off, I'll be blackmailing him

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (152.163.188.68) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 03:33 pm:

KevGo',
There is a website online ["CORNER CHATTER- Michigan & Trumbull] now posted, that was designed specifically in dealing with the "Tiger Stadium" issue at hand.

You can go here now:
http://www.wowappeal.com/michigan/index_saving.shtml

For the very 'latest' on Tiger Stadium, open the menu bar seen on the left side of the page, and look under LETTER FROM THE FOUNDER and also LATEST NEWS.

Kevin, you'll notice also the site has a DISCUSSION BOARD and QUESTIONAIRE thread as well.
I think you'll find this site helpful as to the old ballpark's current status and what possibly lies ahead for Tiger Stadium(???)... and what may well be, in the very near future....

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 08:33 pm:

Hiram - I did not know about Keith. I'll look for him.

During the first day and a half of the 1967 riot, the police/sheriff allowed the looting to go on. They just stood around watching. They cruised slowly pass the looting, and watched the cars filled with stereos, etc, pulling away from the various stores. The only facilities they protected were the liquor stores, the pawn shops, and the jewerly shops. I asked my father if I could borrow his car to go and see the fires. He said "Ok, but you'd better not bring not one thing back with you." When my father spoke everybody listened. So, I missed out on getting anything "free" as I stood with a police officer watching those that did. It was amazing, and scary.

When the troops finally got there, the street lights were turned out, and a curfew was put in place to be in before dark, unless there was a set time.

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm (68.113.13.31) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 09:28 pm:

Sis....
....I remember it being a dusk to dawn curfew put on, except for shift workers at the auto plants.
One thing I remember was the quiet. We lived in Ferndale about 2 blocks off Woodward, and I didn't realise how noisy it actually was until there was no noise.

Top of pageBottom of page   By StingBeeLee (68.43.129.202) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 10:10 pm:

I can remember a rumor that the African Americans that lived in the riot area were going to come over to my neighborhood (Livernois and 7 mile) and "get" us African Americans who had moved into the neighborhood; my Mother was scared to death. There were fleets of helicopters flying overhead, one of them buzzed me and my friend, and we screamed and cried while laying on the ground. There was a store called Merchandise Mart on Livernois near 7 mile and it burned to the ground. I was not supposed to go past my corner, but my friend and I had to see the jeeps rolling down Livernois. At that time and at my age at the time, it was real exiting to me...the adults were the ones who were scared.

Top of pageBottom of page   By TD (68.70.126.246) on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 01:22 am:

I was 12 years old and living in Warren -9 mile and Mound area.
It was a scarey time for a kid my age. I just remember being a huge Mickey Lolich fan and reading that he was in the national guard and had to be involved directly in the riot.
I remember that Mickey almost single handidly got us into the World Series that year by pitching shut out ball during the last few weeks of September. Of course he made history the next year by winning 3 games in the World Series.

TD

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (62.252.128.6) on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 02:54 am:

This is a fantastic thread folks.

Keep it coming....and thanks.

David

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (152.163.188.68) on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 08:24 am:

David, no words could ever fully express the reality of fear, the sudden 'apprehension' felt which seemingly engulfed the entire city, during those very 'hot' days in July, 1967.

Nobody really knew where this urban civil disturbance was going, when, would it all end. But the general consensus then, was that the Detroit population was waiting for the anticipated worse, being that the public 'chatter' in general (and I vividly recall this, back then) was prepared to take up arms in the wake, and 'defend' the very streets from which the intense 'flames' which could be seen, even felt, from the rising fires and smoke seen all over Detroit, at the time.

Looking back... it could be said that we had witnessed in Detroit first-hand, civil 'urban-warfare' at it's very worst, and this had well gone against Lyndon Johnson's grand 'illusion' for America, against his plans... for the "Great Society."

David, take a good look at some of these stark images of 'Detroit in flames' which appeared in the Detroit News in August, 1967:

http://old-detroit.com/riots.htm
PS: Hey, and check out the GI's, checking out... the strolling, 'foxy' chick!

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm (68.113.13.31) on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 10:25 am:

The other thing I remember is the aftermath, and the decline of downtown Detroit. I had a friend who worked for Hudson's in the promotion/advertising department, and they were trying desperately to find ways to lure suburbanites back to the big store. Business at the two downtown shoe stores I worked in (Mary Jane and National Shoes) dropped dramatically after the riots, eventually leading to their closure.

Top of pageBottom of page   By The Mad Monk (68.42.158.47) on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 10:53 am:

"Burn, Baby, Burn!" The '67 riots were consisered kinda' of a farce compared to Watts, Compton, Brooklyn, Newark and other places. It was the first riot covered by national television in "live and living color!" (remember those new color TVs?) I'm sure the fires at night were considered spectacular!!

But I see no one has mentioned the underlying ANGER that pervaded the community, nor the resentment toward a crooked para-military force called the Detroit Police Department, or the URBAN REMOVAL strategies of the various governments, de-facto segregation, discrimination, etc., ad nauseum!

If you really want to remember, think of the reasons the riot started .... and not just the "blind pig" catalyst. Betcha .... you can see the same thing occurring today, only under a cover of silence. Repeats, anyone?

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 03:19 pm:

Mad Monk - I know the strategies have always excisted. I know the system as it relates to blacks. It's like chess. Remember what they said in "The Godfather." It's like that. (But I've watched the Godfather about 50 times.) :o) All of a sudden in the early 60's there was drugs all over. Where in the hell did it come from? We had never dealt with drugs before. And remember Hoover. The devil in disquise.

I believe plans are charted years in advance. Not to far in the future, Southfield and Farmington will be all black, and Detroit will be predominately white. Right now, due to an unfair law, 5,000 properties will be taken by the County. Look at the Court system, the schools, etc. being taken over. I predict Highland Park will be a new plush area with homes blacks cannot afford. So, you are right about the "blind pig" it is more to it. I believe it was in the plan. As I stated previously, the police just stood around watching, and the tv news spread the story to the public, the looting excellerated the next day. That's why my father said what he said. "Don't put a damn thing in my car." (LOL)

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 03:39 pm:

BTW - I loved Malcomb X. It broke my heart when he was killed. When he left the Honorable Elijah Mohammad, I was in Malcomb's corner, and my husband was against him. Malcomb was murdered in 1965. Yes, DMeikle, I have been through nine lifetimes, and working on my 10th. :o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (152.163.188.68) on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 10:20 pm:

Mad-Monk and Sis,
Everybody seems to have forgotten about this one, Detroit police 'racist' incident, which had included certain elements of the National Guard, both in concert hand in hand, which had occured on July 25, 1967.

This 'incident' which took place, was the calculated, systematic, 'cold-blooded' execution of three unarmed "negroes" all found shot dead, then, at the (infamous) Algiers Motel.

Later there was an alleged 'trial', but of course, NEVER was anyone ever convicted for this one for the very crime, which became better known as... "the Algiers Motel incident."

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 10:41 pm:

Jim Feliciano - Everyone remember the Algiers. There was a book written about it. Depending on your age, perhaps you wouldn't remember this, but when I was a teen-ager, the 3rd Precinct on W. Vernor was "hell on earth." (I think the name of the Precinct used to be called the 2nd. I'm not sure, but I believe they switched the name because of the reputation.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (62.252.128.6) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 10:30 am:

There is not a trace of this building left...for obvious reasons.
1

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (62.252.128.6) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 10:44 am:

1
This image gives you a good perspective of where the motel was in relation to downtown. The Saxy Record Company (Betty Bibbs etc) leased an office in the building on the right, which was built in the mid sixties. We are up at block 8400 here.

The motel's address was 8301 Woodward and was where the gas station now sits.

Not too far behind the gas station sat the Geneva Record Company which was on Virginia Park.

Kris Peterson told the forum she was living beside the motel, on Euclid, when the incident happened.

Remember that members of the Dramatics were almost caught up in those awful murders.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (64.12.97.7) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 11:23 am:

I don't know anyone in Detroit who was alive at the time, who's forgotten about the Algiers Motel incident.

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm (68.113.13.31) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 11:49 am:

...or that whole ugly time and how it effected them.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 12:56 pm:

DMeikle, Sue - To the far left of the gas station, the buildings with all the windows, isn't that the General Motor's Building?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (152.163.188.68) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 02:01 pm:

Sue, you are absolutely correct--

Nobody... has quite 'forgotten' about what actually took place at the "Algiers", the killing of three unarmed blacks by the 'racist' Detroit police force, and the National Guard.

Both 'armed' groups responded immediately to the call, of 'alleged' sniping going on from that location... all they had found there, were eight black men, two white girls, of which one was reputed have to have been severely beaten, kicked by the police.

No weapons were ever found-- but three of the eight blacks, were shot dead to death....

Again yes... I don't believe that nobody had forgotten about the 'incident' in question, which took place, on July 25, 1967.

It just seems that no reference is ever given, seemingly, by the mainstream press, news journalists, and the various television 'accounts' given, even 36 years after the fact-- in other words, like nobody wants to talk about that "sort of thing" that happened here during the riots, and anyway, like that was "a long time ago."

But there is a new generation growing up, historically, not 'knowing' that this 'racist' incident actually took place then, and that it happened in our lifetime... and it happened here in Detroit.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Lynn Bruce (65.60.202.214) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 02:03 pm:

It seems to me that things were starting to heat up at least back to 64(we could even go back to the riots of the 40s during ww2).
In 64 whenever Bobby Martin(of the Martiniques),myself and our wifes would go barhopping on 12th st or any African-American clubs,he would demand that he go in first to check out the vibes.He wanted us to not have to fight or be insulted by hotheads.
Because of him doing that,we never had one problem and we all were treated like the good costomers that we were.
During those troubled times there were a lot of places that if you were the wrong color things could get a little dicey.

If I were the King,I would ship all the ignorant,racist,son of bitches of the world to a small island and let them kill each other over different eye or hair colors.
(Of course if I were the king I'd put them out of their misery before they got there)

His Royal Majesty, Lynn

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 03:38 pm:

Your Royal Majesty - I remember a movie where the criminals were sentence to life on an island to live with nothing but other criminals. They did whatever they wanted to do on that island. (LOL)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (64.12.97.7) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 09:42 pm:

David, thank you for the information you had provided above, along with those scans!

Man, what contrast in the scan... how the Algiers was nestled in the vicinity as it looked back then, in 1967. It almost looked like some tropical retreat, of course minus the 'palm' trees... in it's former surroundings!

Now, you had mentioned the Dramatics.

How did they came to be into the Algiers 'picture', and, this being since I never had heard of them ever being (somewhat) connected to this story.

Realized-- you probably had told this forum the same 'ole story before, but briefly, maybe somewhere on this thread, you can enlighten us by repeating to those that don't know of the "dramatic" (same) story', as it actually happened?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Heikki (62.71.79.239) on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 10:07 am:

Hi Jim!
I haven't read the book about the incident and I think David can tell us, how it's described in there, but here's what Ron Banks had to say about it in '99:

"We had played our first big show out of town at the Regal Theater in Chicago. It was great time, for seven days with Johnnie Taylor, Syl Johnson, Brenton Wood, Smokey Robinson...and the dancing girls. They were young like us. We got real close and we invited them to come to Detroit, cause we were going to play there with J.J.Barnes, the Parliaments, Ruby Andrews and a couple of other acts.
One night after the show we're sitting in the dressing-room, talking in-between shows, and we looked at the window and saw this big fire that you could see from the fourth floor of the Fox Theater. It was a little distance away. There was a big fire on the 12th street. That's when the confrontation with the police started.
When we got off stage, they cancelled the very last show that night. We went out on the street and people had just gone crazy. We jumped on a bus going towards our homes, but at one boulevard there was sniper fire. The police pulled us off the bus, told us to take cover and we had to find another way to get home. So - we being smart - we know we were supposed to be going home, but we still had some money in our pockets and the girls were still in town, so we checked everybody in to the Algiers, a street hotel in Detroit. When I say 'street', it was everything and anything. I lived about six blocks away, so we were really being smart! We stayed there for a couple of days.
Next morning my mother came to get me from there. She embarrased me calling 'baby, come out of there'. So I went home. That night we got a phone call approximately 2:30 - 3:00 o'clock in the morning. All the looting had started happening in the city and Algiers was one of the places, where they had a lot of stolen items and other things. They had come in with the national guard and police and raided the place. Thank God, I wasn't there. Police had come up and beaten Larry Reed and a gentleman that used to always be just around named Fred Temple. They killed Fred."
(Soul Express #4/99; the Dramatics Story, part 1).

Best regards
Heikki

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 12:29 pm:

Jim, SisDetroit & All:
Thank you for the info regarding Tigers Stadium.
I was barely a year old when the Detroit Riots broke out in 1967 but I remember my Dad telling me years later about what happened then and the state of seige that took place with the Guard. Also, Rochester NY had two race riots - in 1964 and 1968. My father was called into the city by the mayor's office to help quell the violence. It angers me when years later what we see is a society that is becoming more & more separated thanks to Urban Removal - whoops, I mean Renewal - and other tactics to keep people "in their places." Like Detroit, the areas in Rochester that were hit by the riots have been "rehabbed" and turned into beautiful homes/properties that are priced sky-high while those who were uprooted because of the uprisings were shifted into "apartment complexes" (a fancy term for housing projects). My parents' church sits between these two lands and it bothers me everytime I visit my hometown to see this separation. One can only hope that there is a way to bring folks together and not allow the powers that wanna-be to have this control.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (152.163.188.68) on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 05:24 pm:

Hi Heikki,
Thank you for sharing and relating that 'particular' side of the 'Algiers' incident... and what a close brush, Ron Banks had, with death... I'm sure that Ron had thanked God, and his own mother, for saving him!

Kevin-- I couldn't agree with you more, of your expressed sentiments. The same 'route' took place, it happened here in Detroit just as you had described it, what occurred in Rochester, New York, likewise... AFTER the riots in 1968.

In wake of the Detroit riots and it's 'ugly' aftermath, the immediate area affect by the distubances was, consequently, neglected by the city itself, thru 'bureaucratic' bickering and political 'red-tape', which in return only upheld the economic process to proceed, and, the impeed te 'promised' rebuilding progress from taking into effect... this for many years, after the fact, and the area, is for the most part visibly 'barren' even today, despite state government funding and setting up of the 'NEW DETROIT' Committee, after the riots back then.

The 'NEW DETROIT' group was immediately formed with the pretense to give back to the 'affected' community in need... but unfortunately, even years after-- the committee had 'failed' of it's intended goals.

In reality, the 'NEW DETROIT' Committee never quite lived up to it's own name. If you were to travel down 12th street today, take a good look around, and you'll see there's not much of anything, that really there.

Hiram-- and yes, you just about covered it, what was there, in the 'neighborhood' in Southwest Detroit.
Couple of places that we can add, used to be on W. Vernor Hwy., between Springwells and Central Ave., like "Jupiter's" and "Kresge's", and Roberta's Bakery, didn't she had the 'best' cinnamon rolls... seems they were always so fresh, delicious, and warm!

Barringer's Record and Music store, near Central... that's where I used to pick up the latest "WKNR Music Survey Guides" every thursday, after school... that was, Woodrow Wilson Junior High... right there on Lane and Central!

Here's a couple of more from the 'hood', remember the "CHAT & SHOOT" poolroom, located near Vernor and Springwells? And the "GULF KING" poolhall, across from Clark Park, that was further down, near Vernor and Clark?

You know in the summer of 1967, I got a 'scholarship' to attend Western High, with the opportunity to 'advance' into a higher grade, well, you know I failed the course.

That's 'cause I spent all of my school 'time' across the street, at the "GULF KING" instead, with all my friends 'shooting' "snooker" and, shooting... "nine ball"!

Top of pageBottom of page   By hiram (159.53.32.41) on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 12:18 pm:

Jim,
Jupiters.......wow, how could I forget that one. Chat & Shoot....My bro was forever hustling up and down Dix and Vernor.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. (152.163.188.68) on Sunday, April 20, 2003 - 12:53 pm:

By the way... FYI:

For a more serious study of the 1967 Detroit civil disturbance, you can read the entire governmental report online, a report examination study of the events which lead to the 'cause' of the riots, and it's aftermath... the report was compiled by Special Assistance to the Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance, as was officially presented to (then) President Lyndon Baines Johnson, sometime in late 1967, and it is now available for review... in the link below:

http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/oralhistory.hom/vance-c/detroitreport.asp


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