Race and Revitalization in the Rust Belt: A Motor City Story.

February 2007

Reynolds Farley, University of Michigan; Mick Couper, University of Michigan; and Maria Krysan, University of Chicago at Chicago.

Download 'working_paper07-07.pdf'.


On Saturday evening, July 22, 1967 two black undercover Detroit police officers, Charles Henry and Joseph Brown, sought unsuccessfully to enter an illegal drinking spot at the corner of 12th and Clairmount on the city’s west side. About 3:30 on Sunday morning they slipped into the blind pig, expecting to find a dozen or so clients. Since the plainclothes officers did not return promptly, the back-up officers on the street broke down the door, rushed the place and declared a raid. Patronizing after-hours drinking spots in Detroit was not a major crime. Customers were typically booked and released while the owner was charged, released and later paid a fine. Instead of just a few drinkers, the officers found a crowd of 85 African-Americans, some celebrating the return of two servicemen from Vietnam. The officers held the crowd of law violators on 12th street until police wagons arrived—a slow process because of the large number. By 5 AM on Sunday morning, hostile crowds gathered. Their remarks for the police were not complementary. Some of them yelled Black Power slogans and called for violence. By 6:00 AM, windows were being smashed and by 7, Detroit police alerted State Police, the National Guard and the FBI of a possible riot. By 8 AM, the police estimated that 3,000 were in the area starting to smash windows and loot. Hardys, a black-owned pharmacy, was the first store to go.

Economic Development, Race and Ethnicity, Urban Poverty