tv AHTV Looks Back at the 1967 Detroit Riots CSPAN August 29, 2017 12:55am-2:57am EDT
part of this bigger story. in that way, allowing them to take these people's opinions and perspectives through social media, but also through video, it gives them a chance to be able to really think, ok, this is how i see the world, but why is it that i see the world this way. can i extend that a little bit by taking in other people's perspectives? >> tuesday at 8 a.m. east -- 8 p.m. eastern, on c-span. >> next, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 detroit riots. part of c-span's american history tv. this is two hours. three of the detroit riots is >> one it was over five days
later, 43 people were dead and 7000 have been arrested. president lyndon b. johnson said -- send in 5000 troops and property damage was estimated at more than $30 million. affected areas still bear the scars today. are lingering questions about how far depart -- detroit has come in addressing the issues that led to the writing. -- rioting. we are joined by professor heather nan -- heather and thompson and we will be live for the next two hours taking her calls, tweets, and facebook posts. can we start with definitions in
the sense that we hear this event that took place described as a riot, would you describe -- describe it as such or is there a better way to define what happened? that term connotes chaos and suggests everyone showed up and destroyed the city for no reason and it suggests how we should understand how -- what happened and the impact of it was. we prefer to think about it like a rebellion because all of the energy and anger act -- and activism that went into that moment had long been predicted. steve -- people had been begging for remedies for the housing discrimination, the economic discrimination so that frustration cannot be understood as chaotic and incoherent. it was a rebellion.
stephen: the word i have come to overtime's uprising which i think captures all the things that were going on that week. the things that had been going on for decades in detroit to marginalize and oppress african , destroy african american communities even. that was the buildup to what happened in 1967 and the flashpoint was back specifically against police aggression. police brutality. but you also had lots of other kinds of pushback, the people who were in the streets looting stores were pushing back against the economic oppression that was taking place, they were pushing back against the housing discrimination like heather said. the uprising captures all of that in a way that does not [inaudible] is linkr thing is true which has power. the word riot was used to dismiss all those things after what happened. it was used to say ignore this,
do not worry about the things that are defined this, we have taken care of it with police response and we will move on. what else was going on across the country as other areas were savoring the same kind of riots or uprising, however you want to describe it? stephen: there are common things, newark was 11 days wasre detroit, los angeles a few weeks later. moment partially fueled, i think, by the questions asked by the civil rights movement. this was a time when african-americans were no longer just sitting back and saying, we will wait for equality, we will wait for justice. we want it and we want it now. at the same time they were
realizing how hard -- far they were from that realization and there was this effort to deny them that. still systematically. so you see this outbreak happened in cities across the country all in that same time. 1964, philadelphia interrupts, rochester, new york interrupts and harlem erupt for the same reason, that same critique of police activity and the sustained critique of we passed all the civil rights legislation, we have made it right legally. why is there still such disparity in income and lifestyle in general, and this is the culmination of what had been a decade of saying we are not going to ask anymore, we are going to demand. host: there are several ways you can join.
208-748-9801 for mountain and pacific. if you live in detroit or lived during what happened in 1967 we invite you to call as well. 202-748-8902, you can tweey and -- tweet and post on our facebook page. let's go back to 50 years ago today. put in context specifically what happened on that day. was ar: specifically it night like many other nights, it was a night where folks in the black committee in this case at an after-hours drinking establishment were having a party, having a get together and d by the detroit police department. this happened routinely. people were routinely pulled over, routinely thrown up against cars to my stopped and frisked. in this instance it touched a nerve. this particular community i
think had experienced a lot of that aggressive policing even more than others. it was a match to kindling. pig. at the blind stephen: that is a term we used to use to talk about after-hours bars because the pigs, the cubs were blind to them. they went on, everyone knew that they were there but they often avoided the gaze of police officers. host: the celebration was about a couple folks act from vietnam, people are taking out when the police come. what happens then? stephen: there is a conflict between the people inside the bar and the police. i think history shows this was planned by the police. they were there to show some force and to be particularly aggressive. it spilled out into the street
as they are trying to get people in the paddy wagons and arresting a large number of people out of this establishment and there are other people out in the street to see this and start to see this, start to ask questions, to say this is not right, we are tired of this. heather: they are concerned what is going to happen to these guys because there was a long history of arrest. it was not simply that someone got arrested, locked up, tried, and charged, people ended up up, a longaten history of people being severely injured. the people's concern was not just frustration, it was a genuine concern for what people knew to be true. just loseolice control. there are more people than there are officers at some point in the cannot control what is going on. host: if you go to the detroit free press on its headline of
its coverage you will see on the front page, we got troubles, the statement from the police chief at the time talking to the mayor. role,bout the mayor's when he put the police in action, how it can about to do that. stephen: the mayor at that point is jerome kavanaugh who is in our history this very hopeful figure, hopeful political figure, elected with great promise in the early 1960's around the same time as john kennedy who there are comparisons drawn between the two of them in their early careers to my but also -- careers, but also pretty dark mother things he ignore that was mayor andas he how he handled this. it catches him by surprise. in a way that it should not have. about warned many times the things that were going on inside the police department
with regard to the community and in the community with regard to segregation and dissemination that was going on in the city. he kept saying i think we are going to avoid the things we are seeing other places. it was naive of him at best. his response is to let this police department loose on the community. that i think is not only what leads to the massive confrontation over the next few days, but it needs to the end of his political career. it really ends jerome kavanaugh. host: how far does it spread over these five days in terms of acreage in detroit and why do you think that happened? heather: it just spreads and spreads but again, the only expert nation is to understand that prehistory. kavanaugh should have now because his own police commissioner, so many appointed
to remedy this happen with brutality, george edwards, quit. ,e said the police department 90% is so bigoted is -- it is not reform of all. andyone who hears the story it spreads and law enforcement is shooting out lights and people are fearful. it is chaotic. that kind of spreading was inevitable because of the way the policing operated after that initial confrontation. imagine the city where there is no lights, fires are burning, people are armed, then there is this rumor of sniping even know there is no evidence in retrospect this was what was going on. sniping becomes the excuse to continue shooting at people, fatally wounding them but also giving people lifelong physical damage. stephen: it is also a license
with the bad actors inside the department to go do the things so far under doing the cover of darkness. they are doing it in broad daylight and they are doing it wantonly. there are people wandering the streets shooting into houses because they say someone is inside and i need to take care of that. mckinnon who was a police chief was a patrolman, one of the few lack patrolman in detroit. he is accosted by two other officers who say they want to kill him. it escalates to a point where there is no rationale for the behavior that the police are undertaking and that makes everything worse. that fuels what goes on through the next few days. mckinnon will join
us to give his context and experience. twoou live in detroit, 02-748-8902. we will start out calls with david who lives in detroit, michigan. thank you for calling. you're on with our guest. go ahead. david: good due see you this morning and i have a question -- good to see you this morning and i have a question. , they are going to be releasing a new movie called "detroit." could you speak to the accuracy or if there is going to be much in the way of accuracy historically with this movie and then secondly, i would like to reflect for a moment with regard to the 1967 riots.
we lived in grand river and i was seven years old, and i remember how it rolled out. i remember hearing the sirens and everybody was startled and then you saw the billowing black smoke that came up and i imagine that must have been from cunningham's that was on the corner and subsequently, real quick, i am seven years old so this would have been a day after or a couple days. i ventured up there and i called andlf -- caught myself grabbed some shoes that did not fit me. it seems like it was yesterday. it is surreal. that inou could answer terms of the historical accuracy
of this new movie that is coming out. thank you. host: thank you. heather: thank you for telling that story. one of the things that it shows is that even the so-called looting, people were getting practical things they needed often. shoes or clothes or food, and that is often missed when we talk about the riots, back to the reference to terminology. as for the film, everyone who experienced it is going to have to decide whether they feel it is -- it captured the algiers motel murders accurately, i know that there is an incredible historian, danielle mcguire who is doing up book on this, -- doing a book on this, we will get the nitty-gritty on what will -- what happened. i hear the film does capture the most important thing at that algiers which is the extraordinary level of violence that was directed against young people, particularly young black
kids and the way in which nobody was held accountable for that kind of violence. theso if nothing else, if film captures that than it does a service to what that experience was. host: put in context the algiers incident. stephen: a group of african-american teens are in the algiers motel in the city with some white teens and i do not remember what the reason was, the police show up. but over several air -- hours it escalates to the point where they kill some of these black kids and there is never a good reason for that killing. there is never an excellent nation. as heather points out, they are never held to account. no one is ever brought to justice. heather: again to be clear, these were kids who were in this hotel because there is so much chaos in the street, three of
these kids were musicians, they had come from performing a gig and the parents say do not come home to my stop and hotel so you will be safe and this pulled -- the police show up with the rumor of a sniper and the kids are tortured in eaton and the police play russian roulette and three of them end up dead. and that captures that is critically important because that is a microcosm of the reason why the city erupted in the first place. host: let's hear from philip in las vegas. go ahead. are you there? talk about -- go ahead. philip: can you hear me? am a christian man and i want to say i was born and raised in america and i love america.
i do not love the way some of the people have rented and i also want to emphasize on everything that you are [inaudible] it starts with you have to remember, we were the only people at gunpoint. second, you have to remember and didworked for free not get a dime and when lincoln supposedly set us free, that was middle class, nonblacks at that time did not have any work. and they became employed after slavery in the we had to work at all. from that point, we do not receive what we were supposed to get. we were denied like the indians to get a treaty, they were senators and congressmen who
stood up and fought and said african-american are too ignorant to do -- be able to discuss a treaty or whatever. so you have whatever you call it. host: thank you. we got your white. stephen henderson, to the economic question that he brought up. for the average like person in detroit, what was it like economically? stephen: there were a couple things going on. you did have this emerging black middle class in detroit and my family, my mother's family was part of that black middle-class living in russell woods just off dexter avenue which is one of the flashpoints of the uprising, one of the commercial strips that was hit hard. you had an emerging black political class in the city. people being elected to city council and congress and at the same time, you have got this
underclass that is being pushed further and further behind and further and further marginalized. the area around 12th and claremont had become an african-american neighborhood because of one of the other prime get american neighborhoods in the city had been destroyed. they had nowhere else to go. and the opportunity they could see not only whites and joined but other african-americans enjoying was a real source of -- source of tension. question that people understood that if you were african-american, your chances of moving ahead were and the deck was stacked against you. heather: yeah, completely agree. that is why it is so important we are commemorating this at 50 years because detroit is now the
comeback city, detroit is doing lots of gentrification again, much like a slum clearance of yesteryear that eradicated the black ottoman areas of the city -- wadham areas of the city. it made people homeless. and we had this opportunity to reconsider or consider how did things go so wrong the first time? people do not realize that detroit was the model city in 1967, it was the apple of johnson,n's i -- eye, shriver, they all said this is the best we accomplished in that it goes up in flames and everyone is surprised. that is a real lesson for us today. detroit is coming back it is it going to come back for everybody or just for the middle class and just for rich white folks who can move in the city? heather anne thompson is a professor at the university of michigan, ann arbor where she
teaches afro-american and african-american studies and stephen henderson is the detroit free press editorial page thompsoneather anne earning up pulitzer prize for .er book and to janet in east lansing, michigan. janet: i wanted to draw a verbal picture of what it was like to be in the city when everything will -- blew up. i was in the northwest side of the city for blocks west of greenfield, people who know the city will know that is a major northwest, north-south artery of the city on the northwest side. was visiting my parents who still lived in the house i grew up in and got a phone call from a friend who lived much closer to where everything was burning
already. and she said, you had better get home. we lift up in the lat -- lived up in the lansing area 90 miles away. said what is going on? nothing was on tv. nothing was on the radio. nothing. said, some kind of riots going on, you better get out of there and i said, what are you saying, what are you hearing? she said i'm hearing a lot of gunshots and i said ok, bye-bye. i drove all the way back to lansing, 90 miles. where you saw nothing but army vehicles, not tanks, but trucks and -- full of soldiers with weapons and helmets and overhead, helicopters and everything was going into the city. from all these -- from the expressways. they were coming from army bases in lansing, you name it.
100 mile radius around the city coming in. this was my first experience of what it is like to live in a city or country where martial law takes over. host: thank you for the call. thank you for the perspective. she is referring to governor romney's decision about the national guard. with that and talk -- in context. -- put that in context. stephen: there was some debate in lansing about what to do. romney does say we have to bring in the national guard and that makes things much worse. the national guard troops bring -- they bring are not remotely prepared for what they are encountering in detroit and most of them are not experienced in any sort of an area at all. stories, thes of
kind of racial tension they heightened with their behavior. once the federal troops arrived which is later, that actually has a better affect than the guard. the guard was responsible for a lot of the escalation in those early days. of the uprising. heather: including one that was killed by a fellow guardsmen. it was so chaotic with the is aing that anyone target. imagine a situation so chaotic that a fellow guardsmen shoots -- they are shooting one another. stephen: they were scared. the troops they brought in were young and inexperienced, they had no idea what was going on and they were frightened. when that happens, you get the kind of chaos. host: was that a quick decision cavanaugh?
neither of them is quite sure what they are dealing with or the scale of what they are dealing with. the early days, there is a belief that maybe this will just subside on its own if we wait it out. did president johnson factor in when it came to the national guard? heather: there was real tension. romney has to make choices about whether he will bring in federal troops. it is admitting he lost control of his city and estate. this is a tense moment. the apple of washington's eye. there was lots of funding coming into detroit via the office of economic opportunity funding, all this is in jeopardy. what is interesting is because detroit was so important to the johnson administration, after this, johnson himself is a little shocked, he is a little stunned and this is the first time we get calls for a federal
study of what in the world is going on. notably, even though he calls for this, he does not take it ultimately seriously and he does not implement what the so-called mission suggests was needed. but it was that moment, detroit was the moment when everyone woke up. host: longview, texas, you're on with our guest. good afternoon. pierre: wide to say that this is an interesting story in that just to put this in perspective, i am a third generation free man, i was born in 1969 in longview. my mother was born in 1941. my grandfather was born in 1896 and slavery was a holliston -- abolished in 1865. was aat-grandfather
slave. so you know him growing up in 1896,e sun relayed some of those slave tidbits, poster manic to my son. my grandfather related to my mother which is -- was born in 41 and some of that rubbed off on me. that, i am some of , into med school and all. to put this in perspective, we still have police brutality today and some of those same apprehensions toward the other side just like it was passed out to me from my mother and great-grandfather, that also was passed on the other side from same feeling.
just it in perspective. it is -- this is not too long ago. -- this uprising happened in 1967. we are not that far. we are a couple steps away from that and we are still having that especially in dallas, texas, longview, there is so much stuff that is still going on and we need to sit down. host: thank you for that. heather: he could not have said it better. this is why it is so important 1967,e pay attention to the uprising, why we pay attention to why it happened, what its legacy was and was not. it is not the uprising that destroyed the city. it was a response to it. if we do not get that right, we are on the precipice again. we are in a moment when folks are erupting and ferguson and baltimore and chicago and in dallas, and the reasons are the same which is people want equal justice under the law.
and frankly, things have gotten worse in many respects. we have mass incarceration, we now have not just things have gotten worse in many respects. we now have mass incarceration. we have not just criminalized the community and certain moments and instances, but there hs that have been criminalized. if we do not pay attention to the past, we're sitting on a powder craig. give us a snapshot of what the police force looks like today. >> there are a few african-americans who have been hired but they don't go past a couple percentage points. is a much more integrated force. not as integrated as the city, there is still an imbalance there. but it is really different. chiefs datinglice
to the early 70's. we also have a different relationship between the police and the community today than what we did then. that is something i hope to take credit for in the city. tensions we don't have or issues, but the fundamental relationship between police and the community here looks a lot different than it does and a lot of other cities right now. going back to even 1960 seven, you heard about the programs known as big four and stress. talk about that and talk about the effect it had. heather: stress is really important. i mentioned it was not the uprising that destroyed the city but the response to it. rather than try to remedy what had caused it in the first
place, the city doubled down on criminalizing the black community. stress was an undercover decoy operations that essentially went around terrorizing folks in the community. many folks ended up dead before they made it to the booking room. democraticon of the profile of police is so important because often times, folks will say, if the police force is more black, how can we still have a problem with police brutality or have it still be about police brutality? we began a whole war on crime. we double down on criminalization and journal. by the time we get the 90's, your job is to throw people off against police cars to see if they have marijuana or heroine or crack or whatever. existed, eventill
after police departments became more integrated. pedro: patricia. go ahead. caller: i am looking at your program. i was 12 years old and the rights started. on claremont. a block from where it began. 12, but i remember it as if it were yesterday. tensionday morning, the that camelike a wave through the city, the block. another thing i wanted to point out. i was 12. we didn't have electricity after that. in the evening, everybody came porches, and i
remember the tanks going down the streets. we were just -- we weren't used to it. we were alarmed by it. another point. there was a junior high school and central high school in the area. that is where the national guard .tationed themselves -- i remember going up to the school in washington asked the national guard. like i said, i was 12. i remember them propositioning us and we were young. that really just traumatized us. these were waste guards.
to deal withw how that. in fact, i don't even think we came home and mentioned it to our parents. pedro: thank you so much for that story. put it in context for those people who don't live here. guest: when you talk with people who are around that -- and i should say, i wasn't born until three years later in the city. memories from my family and i know lots of people who hear the same sort of tone attention in their voices. about things they saw in the things they experienced. this is 50 years later, and you can hear in her voice the sadness almost at the things she saw. this takes rolling down the ouret or the fear
uncertainty about these guards propositioning her. there was all kinds of stuff going on during those days here in the city that really changed s lives. it changed who they were. we have come a long way and 50 years. lots have gotten better, some stuff got worse, some hasn't changed at all. people who are still here so carry all of that weight with them a half century later. from awe heard earlier collar about the possibility that you could have had these live ins happen but another area and they would never know. why was that? stephen: there was a media blackout, which is hard to understand or think of today. the idea you could they we are not going to report on this at all and then everybody would do it. alone shatters the
construct. hard for some people who were not seeing what was happening to understand what was happening. some other people who were being what was happening but not hearing about it were really can use. i see smoke, i hear sirens, that the radio doesn't say anything is going on, the television doesn't say anything is going on. i am not sure what is happening g. heather heather: imagine what happens with the rumors. rumors that arms blacks would come down and attack whites in their homes. -- brewersremarks and possibly true stories of theal assault going on on parts of outsider members of law enforcement, namely the national guard. who knows? but with the news blackout, noah knows what is going on. it just creates more tension and chaos. you had white people
standing on groups with shotguns a blackfor the "mob" people to come to their house. from athere is a column police officer back in 1967. astalked about the incidents part of oral history that is being done here in detroit. we will have a listen to that and then we will get our guest to respond. [video clip] enforce theold to law, and that was the law. you couldn't do anything in that a.m. and you:30 had to be licensed. in one thing to mostly sell liquor. prostitutes and you can go in a room and do whatever -- whatever you wanted the prostitute to do. then there would be diced tables. you would gamble.
you can do all that stuff in a blind pic. anytime somebody took a cut of .he money, it became illegal becky was the right to break in -- that gave us the right to break in and rescue the undercover officer that was inside the place. after we saw him walk in the door, we would give him five minutes to make a wager or buy a drink and see the guy except money. accept money. we would raid the place. it was from 1962 when i started to the riot, the night of the riot july 23, 1967. crowds would gather when we made a raid. but we never had a problem. but, the country was getting tense.
things were happening all over. a lot of the black community was unhappy. segregatedhey were and they couldn't get employment and they wereed stuck in apartments that had been cut up and one apartment became two. few people had air conditioning in the hot, summer nights. they would go out on 12 three and dexter-- 12th street and dexter and see what was happening. it got out of hand. pedro: how to set square to what history and experience tells us? heather: i think that was a really amazing rendition of what happened. entrapment in was the sense that the police officer would go in and hope that something illegal happens so that a rate could commence. there aretable is
after-hours jerking establishments all over the city. they just weren't being policed. this is resident today. it is above the law wasn't being broken. as he says, they were there to reinforce the law. the issue was, where was the law always being enforced and where was it not? clearly, the board gambling and having poker parties and selling and serving alcohol in the white it was only when it was in the black community that the police would show up or there would be an undercover officer or a raid and everyone knew it. everyone knows more white folks do drugs and some more drugs olks, but if thought were the police were. stephen: it is really interesting for him to describe that so clearly 50 years later. think of how clearly he can recall those things. the one thing he doesn't say if
this was selectively enforced. the police knew about the blind paints in the city. this was part of the culture and the blind pigs in the city. this was part of the culture. the problems and tensions only existed between police and the black community. this was not the only time they decided to goand raid thatd a place -- night, a place there was. about the behavior that me to escalate to a higher level. it's spilled out into the street and there were people out there. that is what becomes the flashpoints. mesa, michael is from la
california. he was in the national guard. good afternoon. caller: the only unit actually thehe city of the time was summer camp. we were there and there were 300 of us. i lived on eileen street. city. the ton truck..5 as they would bring the prisoners to the trucks, the police would beat them up. it was unbelievable. i would never forget. shocked to see this going on in my city. it was literally heartbreaking. pedro: was the national guard involved in that as far as the roughing up of african-americans or was it just the detroit police?
caller: from what i can tell, it was just the detroit police. i was driving the truck. basically, it was just the police raid the national guard -- police. the national guard, most of us were in shock. i don't think it was the national guard. we were kind of out of control. we didn't know what was going on and what we were supposed to do. the confusion and the fear. this is a guardsman who actually lived in the city. he was clearly in the minority of the troops that they sense. -- they sent. unfamiliarity with the city and the tensions that already existed between the police and the black community did lead to some pretty bad behavior. as heather pointed out, one guardsman ended up shooting another at some point, probably out of confusion.
that fear, it was not something that got better because they were here. is interesting is we have this long history in the 20th century of these terrible decisions they in these moments him lawing to send enforcement who are not trained, who bring their own present just prejudice to the table. to hear that in his voice, one of the results of this is people are traumatized who participated in it, as well. it is living to hear that and see a fellow member of law enforcement seriously hurt someone else who is not doing anything. and all of these rebellions of this. where there are a lot of bad and good guys, there are a lot of really traumatized all. both members of law enforcement and the community numbers that suffered abuse. pedro: for those two are
participating in the looting and everything else, what was the general reaction from the police? did they take a stronger hand in trying to stop them? with his history tell us about that? stephen: they were very aggressive. this is where the reported 43 deaths come from. i think reported because most of us believe that number was a bit higher. there are pictures and film footage of the kind of brutality that was inflicted upon people ng" duringaught "looti those days. there was a sense, if you talk to people who were in the dpd at the time, there was the sense of almost revenge that was being pursued. there was an embarrassment on their part that they have lost control and that things had gone to the point where they were. they wanted to show they could get control back. one of the ways they did that
was extreme violence. amazing to think with all the presence there, it took five days to bring an end to what was going on? heather: yes, but again, only amazing when you can did or how they handled it, which was shooting out streetlights. creating a situation where there is so much gunfire that members of the fire department cannot get to nor want to get to burning buildings. a situation where people inside their homes are too terrified to come out. it is the decisions of how to handle that that make this thing go on and on and on. from milford, kim michigan. r: i'm glad heather said that about the firemen because my father was a fireman. we're at a cool party and all of
the firemen had to leave. it was just this -- it was just us kids. my dad was shot at while he was trying to put out fires. he had cocktails thrown at him. my grandfather was the fire chief of the water division. it was difficult for the firefighters to do their jobs while being shot at. we lived in the northwest side anyetroit, so there wasn't of that happening where we lived, but it was very dramatic -- traumatic. i didn't see my dad for four or five days. we knew what was going on. all i wanted to say was it was difficult for the firemen and i am sure for the policemen. they were trying to do their job and they were getting shot at. michigan. from thank you for your call.
stephen henderson, we had a chance to shoot video of rosa parks boulevard. give us a sense of what that neighborhood was like. we see green space where it took place. give us a sense of what was going on around the neighborhood. stephen: this was a commercial on the near west side. lots of businesses, lots of jewish-owned businesses along that stretch. lots of african-american-owned businesses along that stretch. -- much of the city was changing demographically. more and more african americans were moving into the area and the density is the thing that is the starkest contrast. every lots along with that along thatevery lot stretch had a store on it. each of the residential streets had home after home after home. , it isgo there now
pretty green and bearing. we don't have that kind of density and almost any part of the city anymore. that is what the things that this did change about detroit. it sends us on this downward ,piral that had already started that started but it accelerated it. pedro: do they have no sense of recovery from this incident? heather: it is a mixed legacy. people think about the uprising the moment white folks just leave the city. in fact, that is not actually the case here in for the next five years, there is a real runest over who is going to the city. is the city going to remedy itself? is it going to desegregate the police department? or will it double down and law enforcement? . during 1993.
when white folks lose the because that is -- at thewhat it is, end of the day there is an abandonment. we will at those empty fields, we are inclined to say because uprising. emptye look at the fields, we forget detroit still has over 700,000 human beings living in it. overwhelmingly lack human beings. overwhelmingly black human beings. this is still a city with a whole lot of children living in and a whole lot of old people and families. vern from us go to detroit.
and someone served on the district court at the time of the '67 riots. now her daughter is on the district court. she is also a grad. would you be interested in writing and interviewing these persons? [laughter] pedro: thanks for the rollcall. heather: first, go technicians. no matter where in the country i go to give up top, there is always a technician summer sitting in the audience. it is one of the most important magnet high schools in the city of detroit. the beginning,om it still exists as one of the best different public high schools, and it does have a long pedigree of folks who have graduated from it. i will definitely consider that. in the meantime, i do feel -- i did write a book "whose
detroit," which is a lot about this. period. there is this incredible detroit pride still. even in those moments of trauma and crisis, detroit never went away. detroit did not disappear or collapse. pedro: does the younger set of detroit understand what happened? stephen: i'm not sure. so much of it we have try for a really long time to be honest to us. behind 10 years ago when we have the 40th anniversary, i had a conversation with the mayor at the time. we were talking about -- he and i were born in the same year.
grew up in the city in the wake of all of this. we talked about how we did it see it as the thing that was shaping our children's to try and future. i think now that seems like a little bit of wishful thinking. it is a little bit of naivete on both our parts to say the student matter 40 years later -- matter 40 or 50 years later. it seems like it mattered more than it did 10 years ago. heather: it has come full circle. it resonates with people. -- i donts at michigan a history of detroit class. they don't necessarily know this history, but they are deeply interested in it. not because it is history, but because it resonates with them. there is part of it that they are like, that could be today. pedro: beth is in east hampton, connecticut. beenr: this has
interesting. native from detroit. bus and ourke a back and forth. i was in high school during 1967. a mile or less from the armory. the trucks,earing and i thought it was also takes coming down eight mile. scary.kind of all that coming through. just a couple of things. when i used to go driving in detroit, often times we would be black and white in the car because my circle of friends and family has always been black, white, all kinds of different people.
we would have the police stop us -- afor a liked being out light going out. i was in the university of michigan. we were black and white in the car and we got stopped by the police and ann arbor. it was pretty scary being stopped by them. what would you like our guests to address? caller: i want to agree with them. we didn't see it as this was a riot. we saw it as a rebellion because there was so much inequality. in differentuality neighborhoods in the city. pedro: thank you for your story. we really appreciate it. again, everybody who is
of a certain age in this city has the same kind of memories of growing up and learning to navigate these things. learning how to deal with police entirelythat is not appropriate. i can remember when i was 16, this is in the mid-1980's in detroit, the number of times i would be pulled over because i was driving a car that looked in new or expensive even though it wasn't. they would search the car, takeh the truck sometimes, everything out looking for whatever it was they thought. this is a common experience for , and weere in the city can also remember that. heather: i like her comments also to remind us. she mentioned she was often in and whiteblack kids kids. i think that is another part of the story we haven't really
mentioned, which is as divided as the city was, there were a lot of progressive white folks in the city who were -- who consider themselves real allies for fighting against police brutality and show up against stress. to file lawsuits against the police department and who didn't leave the city. i think that is important to know. i know there were a lot of white families who stayed in the city as a real self conscious decision to not flee.that is why i went to the magnet school. was all about racial tension, but it was certainly about between police and community, and certainly and some white neighborhoods it was a problem. pedro: we will hear from robert's. you are on with our guests. caller: thank you. several things they said you and the rest of
them were laid off. i said you have a percentage of minority employment would lose a federal contract. right now i live in a 60-year-old subdivision but for the first 30 years or so it was all white. how can someone who is young how can they say they cannot make it based on something that happened to their family 150 years ago? one more comment i would like to make is my son, who is a white male, was pulled over two nights ago by the police because he had a low beam out. i think things have really
changed in the past 50 years. my main question is how you can say you cannot make it today based on something that happened to your family 150 years ago? i would like to hear an answer to that. >> stephen anderson? whole idea of 150 years ago, yes, slavery ended about 150 years ago. the discrimination they can to our system continues today. i tell the story all the time about my father. not somebody i read about in the book. not some ancient relative. my father was born in 1933 in mississippi. he goes off to fight in the korean war. comes home to a mississippi where he cannot sit at a lunch counter, he is not allowed to vote, he does not get to participate in the g.i. bill that are offered to people coming back from the war to go to college where he can't get
whereme loans offered they are building big suburbs. these are things that shaped his economic life. i am his son. how could it not have any effect on me? there is tremendous opportunity available now for people that there wasn't 50 years ago or 150 years ago, but we are still dealing with the nation whose fundamental infrastructure is about inequality. it is about saying african-americans could not be equal. it is difficult. i get everything the caller is saying about his personal frustration with the circumstances, but you have to put that in a much larger context of the country we live in. >> i also wanted to add to that two things. one, i am always sorry to hear when people lose their jobs that the employer tells him it is
because of some black person getting their job. we need to know the history and know the employers throughout the american history, when they have wanted to downsize, when they wanted to cut wages, they pitted black workers against white workers. i don't know the exact circumstances of the caller's employment, but there is a long history of this not being true but white workers made to feel very present all about black employment. the fact his son was pulled over, that was my point. muchve not criminalized so the user being criminalized in general. the final thing i want to say is as a white person the grip in detroit and writes about a lot of race, i think there is a moment in american history where white people just need to start being much more honest about the way in which we are privileged, even if we are not in a privileged position ourselves. we may not make $1 million, but
we do know it makes a difference being white when you are pulled over by police officer versus being black. we know about the hiring prejudices. we do know that. when white folks get together, they are honest about that amongst themselves. i feel like it is really important we start being more honest about this publicly. >> let's hear from rick in stockbridge, georgia. >> thank you, and thank you heather and thompson -- ann thompson. four years old, i remember diving under the bed, ducking bullets of my brother and cousin and sister in family. hear the stories about how the way people would stick their dogs on my brothers going to school, for turn the water sponsors on that water sprinters on.
indian mothers and black mothers had a teach their kids underground in the basement because they connected to school. coming up through the school system, i remember getting summer jobs. one of those jobs of the police cadet. instilled thisd in us, but i was becoming best beginning to understand you were part of the problem or the solution. remember graduating from the police cadets. i noticed it is an armory, right there on grand river. i don't know the corner, but it is an armory. mile there was another armory. now i am getting ready graduate from high school. on graduation day we are walking down the hall going to see our teachers and saying bye and getting some wisdom before we
leave, and this teacher who i never had but i would hear my brothers and other friends talk about this teacher and other teachers. he had the nerve to put his middle finger up at us. i am a child, i was 18. i turned around and laugh at him because i had -- i was more man in me to be able to laugh at him, even though it pissed me off that he was in his powered way. i'm glad miss thompson brought up -- black leaders almost of a milquetoast way of approaching it. being more honest about how cowardly it has become in the covert miss of it all from -- covertness from then to now. i went into the military and saw my own white authority figures were the one blocking our promotions.
i called home and said this is racist, mom. she said it is racist everywhere in america. >> thank you for your story and forgiving is perspective. stephen henderson talks about moving forward. he talked about this idea of trying to make the best of this situation. what did you take from that? >> take the two last callers together. one of the real issues we have is the idea that it has to be in either, or. well,rst caller believes, because i experienced things are unfair, white people have nothing to complain about. the second color explains it is really different being african-american and the experiences you have. those perspectives are not mutually exclusive. we don't have to shout one side down to acknowledge the other. that is the difficulty in the racial discussion today. the instinct is to say the other
side has no legitimacy at all. that is why we cannot get past all of this. >> where do we go from here? it is not a simple question to answer in the final minute, but had his detroit move forward? detroit is moving forward. it is not even. it is not entirely just the way that changes coming to the city, but this is a different place today than it was 10 years ago. >> three years ago. >> there is no comparison between the two. we have real challenges in making sure everybody benefits from what is happening and the investment that is coming makes its way around, but i don't think there is any question we are heading in the right direction. >> if you go to the detroit free press, stephen henderson --
sorry. you talk about your home you grew up in. tell us a little bit about this story and how it relates to today. >> the neighborhood is just a block from the 10th precinct, which is where the people arrested at the blind pig in 1967 were taken. a neighborhood that has been forgotten. tremendous depopulation. there are hardly any schools left in the neighborhood. my childhood home sat empty and was stripped for several years. i decided i could not have that go on forever. i started a nonprofit that is taken the house, partnering with a local college to make it a writers residence and focus on change from within by the neighborhood. the idea is not to change the
neighborhood, to make it appealing necessarily to other people, but to make it better for the folks who are there. we had a soft opening yesterday at my house. we are on to several other houses on the block, and hopefully in a few years we will turn the corner. >> the idea of moving forward? >> i think stephen's story is a perfect example of how the whole rebuilding of detroit is not just on the outside coming in. it is not just investors coming in. it is detroiters reinvesting in the city. i think moving forward we have a lot of hopeful signs. the historian in me says we really need to be very cautious as well. we need to want to for all deal with the question of racial inequality in this city, and everything from job-training to mortgages to access to water, access to schools, good schools. detroit willthat,
be an amazing place again. or for the first time for some people. if we don't, we proceed at our peril. we have got to get this right. we cannot solve every social problem in american cities through criminalizing them. it is a failure. we can do it differently. stephen's example is a way to do it. i am hopeful but cautious. thompson, ann professor on issues of these subjects. thank you for your time. stephen henderson, thank you for your time. our conversation for continue on this day 50 years ago, looking back at what took place in 1967 in detroit, michigan. two other guests joining us later on. some history about the event of that day. we spoke with a man who was at the forefront of making sure people understand this story and what went on at the time.
force they felt if you look across the park it is hardly that this was a booming business district but it really was. stores owned by black, white come you name it. there is a lot of people that did a lot of business. iraq was thrown, glass is broken , looting occurred, fires started. it wasn't just black folk. it is one of the most integrated incidents that ever happened. city and across the lot of different components. it was something that spread. time, therticular unrest we had in america, it was a lot of lives lost. for some people it divided us even further than what we already were. one of the reasons that they decided to target this part, when we started we came over here and there was no history.
there was nothing here to tell generations of young people to -- young people the true story, given them the context. we learned that another parts of the world, they don't learn from history -- they learn from history. what we decide to do was work with the city of detroit to put in a historical marker with full context of what happened. a park canhow that be a symbol of revitalization. not historical societies, city governments for the people who live in these communities, the people who have to move away or those who fought. this is their park and want history to be at the forefront of why it is valuable to our future. it is a level of moralization and how we all together it to a point of moving forward, not moving forward past what happened at moving the conversation forward.
moving the engagement forward collectively and showing how if we're going to move together inclusively, the community has to be involved. we are hoping that we can be a part of this community. i hope people walk away with a few things, understanding how we got to 1967. what happened here and around the community. there was not a peel at the end of that sentence. this is still an ongoing narrative and if we do not take control of our narrative by leading with action and finding a way to move forward, we will -- the young people and the people in the community have just as much utility, opportunity and responsibility to shape the year 2067. and if a part can be something to trigger that and get people engaged and show promise, then
that is what we're looking for. aboutal devastations history is relevant. there are other components that we have launched in regard to gordon park. a place making initiative, using gordon park as a pilot to provide micro grants to organizations to the community to demonstrate in contrast of everything destroyed 50 years ago how we can build and grow and develop things in our communities, whether a mural, a part, a playground, something that will bring people together in the community and not separate us. >> you are watching american history tv on c-span3. we are backlit in the detroit free press newsroom.
50 years ago today, a police raid on a bar known as the blind pay triggered five days of rioting and racial unrest. here to continue our conversation, former detroit police chief isaiah mckinnon, and university professor tim kiska. thank you for joining us. chief, can we start with you? you were an officer back in 19 city seven. can you give your purse -- 1967. can you give your perspective? >> probably at this time i was in the heat of all the things going on. the weather was similar, extremely hot and humid. we had loads of people on the street who were looting. some are just spectators, but we had probably 5500 police officers. of those officers we had probably 100 left to her african-american. it was such an incredible time. some people were enjoying the
spectacle of what was going on. others were looting. it was a very difficult time for everyone because of the fact that we had assumed in detroit this was not going to happen. that things were ok. eventually i worked for the mayor. people assumed what was going to happen. the police department unfortunately was woefully unprepared to handle the situation of things that occurred in 1967. >> with you think that was? >> the police department assumed everybody was happy. they did not and had not looked at what had occurred at this series of incidents. we had horrible police-community relations. pourable relationships with the black community in particular. a lot of people have been beaten up. i was one of those people in 1967 severely beaten up by the police.
detroit commonplace in for the police department. in fact it was probably around that time the naacp attempted to integrate the police department and the department went on a blue flue, in essence a strike. there had been a number of people, probably in the 1950's and early 1960's shot and killed by the police. all the things festered in addition. we had a great number of people moving up on the south who wanted to get jobs in detroit because of the big three. they found that things are probably as bad here is a was in the south. they were really frustrated in terms of things going on. >> we continue our conversation with our guess. if you want to continue with her calls. 202-748-8901 for the mountain and pacific time zones. if you live in detroit and were
part of what was back then, 202-748-8902. tim kiska of the university of michigan, we referenced this earlier. was everybody aware what was going on during the riots? >> in the newsrooms, yes. but there was a blackout the first day. mayor kavanaugh, who had a pretty good press relations -- the police chief was a former detroit tigers reporter. but he got in the horn. and news director was on golf course and gets a call from the mayor who said, look, can you sit on this thing? i think we can put this thing down. if you go live with all this, it is not going to help. he had a lot of people buying into that. the first day it became particularly strange. the detroit tigers were playing the new york yankees at tiger stadium. full house. call fromaster gets a
the general manager saying under no circumstances are you to make any references whatsoever to the smoke over the left-field fence. which in hindsight, what you do? the you go on the loudspeaker and say there is a riot going on, please exit gracefully. yes, people exit gracefully. away --thing had gone there have been an incident on the east side of the year before the cup put down after a couple of nights. these news directors might have hailed for their separate responsibility. strangely enough, there was a tv station across the river and first, canada who broke this at 2:00 the afternoon. they set up a camera on the river. they said something is going on over there. there is a civil disturbance. all the info you is what it looks like.
people sat on it for the first day. >> if you go to the detroit free press again, they cover piece is the baseball game we just referenced. there was smoke that people can see at the time, but not much awareness of what was going on. >> none. i think people left the baseball game -- one of my former history professor for members driving up with the smoke as family going, what is going on here? pretty soon everybody found out. >> as far as the actual incident, what you think as far as what -- there were a lot of intervening factors. what about the police's role? crewsad been part of the throughout my first two years of going to the line -- blind pigs and rate these after our places. we would have four men. one black and three white.
maybe we would arrest 50 or 60 people without incident. because of what occurred throughout the country and the incident that occurred on the east side in detroit in 1966, i think there are people who wanted to get things started. this was the right place and the right time, and maybe the wrong place in the wrong time, but again the law enforcement community was not prepared to handle this. once it started, it was out of control. in regards to attend just said -- to what tim just said, there were so many fires going on. it was impossible not to see this. wherever they might be, you had to see the smoke. for those of us who were there it was truly beyond the number of stores in place is on fire. you would see the smoke and fire. you for the fire engines all the time.
it was very chaotic. >> again, if you want to give us a call. the first call come from hendricks in california. go-ahead. >> thank you for having me on the show, gentlemen. i was seven years old at the time. a street called tracy in 7 mile. the riots rock out and there was such a fear. one of the things that six out of in my mind and look at the old film footage is the national guard with their bayonets on the rifles, which to me writing is something you would use in a true war zone. what that did to a lot of the people on the -- the residents of detroit, and if you guys could possibly speak on the issue of redlining. i work as a news photographer for a long time so i have a very broad perspective of the riots and the history of this country. thank you very much for letting
me be on your show. >> tim kiska? >> i grew up on the east side. there was a dividing line, connor. i went to a great school six blocks away. i did not have a single african-american student in the class. i went to high school on connor. once again, no african-americans whatsoever. this is 1965-1967. this was not healthy at all. the goofy wonder why race relations. it was because of stuff like that. when the kerner commission talked about several societies, i think it was very much true. i think that has changed a lot. my son went to an area high school which it previously been all white. i think it's about 20% african-american right now. no problems. then, the-- back
redlining part was contributing to the problem. >> very few people, in particular in politics for asking those kind of questions. people were saying, what is going on? hadas in the late 1950's we investigative arrests. they would say in person is 6'2", 250 pounds committed a crime. any young black man who fit that description to be locked up over a weekend. they arrested 1000 young like men for a crime that occurred. the detroit police department was very proud of this. in fact, the community says this is crazy. again, an attempt to integrate the department to stop this. eventually it did stop but it was out of control. regards to the national guard, i worked with these guys during the rebellion. unfortunately for the national guard's people, they were not looked upon as anyone to do the
job. they were looked upon as weekend warriors. there was a lack of respect for them. i saw them with their bayonets on their guns and so forth. they were people who are not been trained either. neither one of us are trained in how to handle these kinds of. it was kind of frightening, and the fact they did not know how to handle this, nor where they fully equipped to deal with these situations. once the 101st got in, the community says these guys just got back on the war. they are different. you will see they did very little shooting in comparison to the national guard and dpd. >> we moved right over the city line the second day of the riot. it had been prearranged. illustrates to see the 101st.
they use the church parking lot as a turnaround spot. it was totally jarring to sit there and say, wait a minute, this is detroit. hasn't come to this? a lot of people, that is their memory. the tanks. particularly the tanks. anybody who saw a tank rolling of the street, where ever it was, they will not forget it. >> i had a friend for years in the air force prior to this, the last year in vietnam. and to back to my city see tanks rolling down the street and be a part of this as a law-enforcement officer and to say, wait a minute. there are serious problems and what are we doing about it? i keep going back to the fact there have been a history of problems that existed, whether it is policing, housing, poverty, jobs. there was very little done about it. i think people wanted to sweep it under the rug. look, this is something they can
take care of. meaning someone else when the minority community. it was not a healthy. circumstance for our city >> even call on the phone lines to ask questions. you can tweet us at c-spanhistory. we have a facebook question from peter. are there any historical resources on the people who died in detroit? >> there is one particular. the free press did a piece in early september of 1957 called "the 43 who died." most people who thought the 43 who died were looters, snipers. they did a thorough investigation and found up more than half were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. ike, you are in the middle of all of this. bullets were flying and sometimes the bullet was not the main concern. it was that bad. >> but go this way.
it was where people could dehumanize someone. if they had those tendencies to shoot or kill someone, this was the perfect opportunity. officer,w as a police and i was usually the one black officer with a series of white officers, they would say -- there was a sergeant with 11 officers. on the one black officer. we are driving down linwood avenue. people are looting. thousands of people looting. i will use a word. they are driving on the street. the sergeant stops the three cars. everybody out. we had our bayonets. we are standing in the middle of the street. he yells to these thousands of people, all you niggers get off the f-ing street. i thought i'm going to die.
i went through vietnam. when he says that, all the police officers looked at me. most of the black people are looking at me. this guy has got to be out of his dmaamn mind. visit what did you say? i said all you niggers get off the street. we were in our cars and took off. the three officers in the car with me said, he is out of his damn mind. but that was commonplace. adid he was saying that the hundreds of black people, over other people saying at the time to incite? >> anton from rocky river, ohio. go ahead. >> i just wanted to get my perspective on this. the economical impact, after the uprising -- i will not terminate a riot, it decimated the city
because of white flight. along with the inherent trust, we do not trust black people. we do not trust white officers, and especially white male officers. it was always violent. that if the issue you see today. with the young kids and their actions with white officers. and in the psychological impact is there because it makes the whole neighborhood fight the police -- frightened of the police. whenever and goodwill towards them. that will be until we start recognizing and lookingat everybody's humanity -- looking at everybody's humanity. >> the economic fortunes? >> huge. there were a lot of african-american businesses and entrepreneurs on the old hastings street. they get wiped out.
there was a great essay my anend, her dad owned iconic record shop. >> joe's music shop. >> he gets burned out on 12th street. if you talk to marcia, she did a great essay about this. we just rank himself to death. -- drank himself to death. think that story got repeated over and over again. there has been a lot of talk about african-american capitalism and my that is important. this did not help. it trashed a lot of african-american businesses, and white businesses. i want to not conflate something. store inned a jewelry 1969. he left. not because of this, but because a junkie came in with a gun and took everything. there is a lot of heroin. the old french connecti on the f -- old french connection.
this had nothing to do with the uprising or race if you want to know the truth. it just became crazy. that was not good. >> marcia is my neighbor. we talk about this quite often. this was not a race riot. this was an equal opportunity riot. you would see more and more i think iting, but was an exceptional opportunity for people to do things. during the course of this, the first two days or so, people would go into stores, break windows and things like that. but it was almost comical. for instance, we were driving down the street and we see this white cadillac convertible. there are two african-american men in the front seat. both of them have portable tv's. one is driving with a portable tv. two black guys, they had a sofa
on the back of the convertible. he was comical. both of them had tds. they looked at us and we look at them. the reality is we could not arrest that many people. each car could probably get one or two people in the car. once the rest of those people, we would take them to the station. people would go back and do what they were doing in terms of looting. it was always comical the things going on because we just did not have -- >> have we play the conrad take it? -- tape yet? >> he will be in in an hour or so. >> i don't spoil it. a guy walking out with 10 hats. one on top of the other. -- he livedstore above the store. we got a knock on the door for the cops saying, look, we don't
know it's going to happen on the site or how bad this is going to get. my indirect memory is that monday morning -- enduring memory is loading every last watch in diamond in the back of our station wagon. >> a lot of people stay in their businesses and armed themselves. it's a great number of them. in fact, we had the first wave of asian business people who would put on their windows -- not to be demeaning -- but put soul brothers. some were protected that way. we have seen this and hope it never happens again. it is the reality of what occurred in our city. the humanization of what it -- dehumanization. >> let's go to cheryl in fort
lauderdale, florida. >> but they complement you first of all on a great job you all are doing with this coverage. my cousin worked for 40 years at the detroit free press and was very proud. i'm sitting here emotional and i have tears in my eyes. not just because of the horrible memories, of because i miss my hometown so much. i lived in fort lauderdale, florida, but i was born and raised in detroit, michigan. whenever i meet anybody from detroit, i feel a warm and fuzzy because detroiters are so special. i'm so proud to be from detroit. i graduated from wayne state university in detroit before i moved to florida. my father had a big business and mile road in the
1960's. it was destroyed. proudmy father, a detroit-born man, revealed his business. i remember the fear and spoken feeling of wondering when it would all end. this is an emotional call, as you can tell by my voice. this is a very couple of emotional hours for me. i am so glad to watch this and be able to say i am from detroit. thank you so much for listening to me and for the great job you are doing. >> cheryl, thank you. >> she mentions, when will it all end? we sat on our new front porch that monday and we are listening to the gunfire because there was a lot going on about a mile away. that was the thing my brother damien, who was four years
younger, even in sitting there saying we got out in time. i'm thinking, what is next? 1968, theor member of next year, everyone is wondering if it will light up and fire again. nobody knew. it is like the fear kept on going. among manyly one of things. there were a lot of things going on. i think that five to 10 year period with your preceding guest mentioning this, 10 years is key in the city's history. our reaction to all of this and what we are going to do next. >> that was always the fear. i go back to the kerner commission and the two societies. what did we do? hadave any detroit and we -- the new detroit and people who tried to do, whether it was new detroit or the other
businesses that started up in detroit because of that. but there was always skepticism. detroit.ople who left to mississippi and were killed. by people who left detroit to go and help with the civil rights movement. many of those people were active here, but also want to other places. we get people in the seminary who went out to the street to try to help. priests whoters and went out to the street to try to get people to understand what is best for the city also is the best for them. a great number of people work hard. we had anfortunately lot of people who played the blame game. they burn your houses down, let
them suffer. the flight from detroit started long before 19 the seven. it started after -- 1967. it started after the second world war. in 1953 we are close to 1.9 million people. as a young boy my family could not a place to live because of race. all these things were an integral part of what we had to live with and try and remedy. >> this is griggs in livonia, michigan. >> how are you, sir. i was enjoying your program. i was raised on language street. i heard -- lynwood street. i went to central high school. during the riot there were troops, national guard troops. that not like it because was my chance of going and getting my drivers license. i could not do it because of the
riot breaking out. when it first started, the first couple of days it was kind of festive. after that it was no fun anymore. year.ed 17 that i was not a kid but not a grown man. my mother did not play that looting stuff. if i stole something, i could not have brought it back to the house. i just watched. you want to blame anybody -- this is coming from the truth. it was the fault of those white cops. they would come through the neighborhood. they had big board, they would call a group of them. they would just bring havoc on us. it was no fun. we couldn't do anything. it turned a lot of people to the criminal mind. my god, if i can't do anything right, let's do something wrong. you could not enjoy yourself. there were just some places
there was nothing to be coming in are tearing up stuff and arresting people for. it was just drinking, having fun and the likes. >> dr.. -- gotcha. thank you very much. he talked about the festive nature of what was going on. >> it truly was. he is a central grad. [laughter] at us.ould always be there really was a festive nature the first couple of days. in the shooting started in a got worse and worse. people will look at us and smile because they knew we could not arrest them. probably most of the things that happened or minor things. people who owned the businesses, they would try to protect as much as they could. you would see kids going in grabbing things. some parentsid
thought their kids are bringing stolen stuff to their places. i saw this. i saw mothers in particular grabbing their sons and daughters who had stolen something and try to take it home, they would literally be heck out ofat the the kids. that is something we should talk about because we had some parents who did this. >> talk about how ugly it got. it was totally frightening. a friend, stephanie davis from cbs here spent the last part of the riot in her bathtub. that was the safest place in the house, reading books. it was that frightening because bullets were flying everywhere. nobody knew what was going to happen next. it was out of control. >> the kerner commission and some other accounts mentioned the idea of sniper fire.
what was the reality of that? >> talk to ike. >> there was not as much as was reported. i was shot at multiple times. i think the reality is the police were shooting a street lights. issued aption was bullet up it will go someplace. i would hear and feel bullets. road with some national guard people. bullets were skimming along the pavement. the assumption was people were shooting at us. no. on the other side of this ever national guard he was shooting at the streetlights. there was not as much sniping as was reported. the other part of this, as you rode with people who were frightened, petrified. they would see someone in a
window. they would start shooting at them. with god the people i rode did not hit anyone. and a guyway chicago with this machine gun started shooting at this window. what the hell are you doing? there was somebody in the window. it was a kid. think god he missed the kid buddy for the house up -- but he for the house of. >> there was a four-year-old girl who died. fire ande been cyber her uncle is sitting next to her. elect of the sigrid and -- he likes of the sigrid and the national guard just lit the place up and took her out. later it was unclear how much sniper fire there was. i don't think it was any question later that even though there might even sniper fire,
you don't light up a whole house with machine gun fire. >> you mentioned central high school. we bivouacked there. probably hundreds of officers there at some point. i guess they had to figure someplace we were going to be. i remember specifically a helicopter flying over. they told us there were two guys on the roof across the street who had weapons. that was the one case specifically that people were armed. most of these instances, that was not necessarily so. >> deanne in macon, georgia. >> hi, i am a native of detroit. in 1967 years old riots. at the fox theatre when they sent us home because the riot started.
one comment about the blind pig. i am a retired nurse and i have met many people during my job. one particular patient i talked with, she was there at the blind pig during the raid. she said the soldier was home from vietnam on leave and they were giving him a party at the blind pig when he got rated. -- raided. during the raid, a pregnant woman -- i don't know if this was told -- was knocked down the stairs by the police. that is when he got out of hand. i have been watching your program. i just wanted to make that comment and one more for my cousin who passed, ronald, it was working at max stamping chrysler plant during the 1967
riots. he had to get a pass to go to work. on his way to work he was shot by the police or the national guard. i don't know which one. they thought he was dead. they took him out and they had a makeshift morgue out there. they say 43 people died, but i do believe it was more because he said they thought he was dead until they started packing him. he woke up. he woke up and he lived for another 25 years. he died from cancer. he had buckshot in his head. much for thato story. tim kiska, anything you want to add? >> there were all kinds of
rumors of people being shot down in the sewers. they went into the sewers. >> to her thought it was a higher number than 43? >> i'm not sure. i don't think so because if somebody got killed and showed down the sewer, it would be a missing persons report. i think that sounds about right. you are closer to it than i was. 1967 there have been rumors that more people were killed. i don't think so. there are a lot of people shot, but i don't think so. missing,f someone is there is some kind of report on it. that was not the case. i feel for this lady, though. >> jean in illinois? >> chief mechanic, i used to work with your sister. i was nine years old at the
time of the riot. with across the street from a gas station. i remember the national guard coming down the street in tanks. batons out. positioned in front of our home. we had to sleep in the bathroom because of the gunfire in anything. i remember them coming into our house asking us for a receipt for food at the time. a friend would bring us food. he would bring us food in because we cannot get out because everything was closed off. we had to have receipts. i remember them specifically asking us for receipts. it was just a really -- thinking about it today, i looked on and saw chief mckennan. it is just a really trying time. i remember like it was yesterday, a nine-year-old. i remember our neighbors. with it right at the boston edison area, one of the most influential areas in the city now.
we lived on glenn court, which was considered the hood. but it was middle-class families. two family flats. and it was a solid neighborhood until the drug and riot decimated the area. i have a friend that lived on boston. when i went back on glenn court, the lights were off. our house was gone. it looked like a jungle. this was 2017. shame on the city of detroit. thank you. >> thank you for this story in your perspective. chief? >> pleas on say shame on my city. we are happy things are changing, making some significant improvements. i understand what you are saying, but please come back and see some of the changes we are making. i was fortunate enough to become deputy mayor and was chief under mayor archer. certainly there have been a great number of things that occurred. i can tell you this. you come back and you see the
significant changes being made. in oneay, we started location and moved from the center out. we are trying to recruit more people to come into the city. mr. gilbert said he wants to make detroit -- i think it's important he is trying to do that. look at those buildings he saw downtown that were unoccupied for a long period time. now they are occupied. not only that area, but in the neighborhoods there are buildings being built. there are businesses moving in. people are moving back into the city. that is important. please, please, don't say shame in my city. i have been here since 1953. we were trying to do tremendous things. when i became deputy mayor, it is important to understand detroit was the worst place in the world have a heart attack. the worst place.
the response time was i around 20 minutes. now we are down to just six or seven minutes. of people left. -- but people left. they would say the last person to leave, turn off the light. >> my old neighborhood was a belgian neighborhood. it was built in 1925. -- nobody wasally inspecting these things the last forever. there is not much of my new red left, but what do you do about that? you just can't wait your arm and say we will do all of this. this whole thing has been a long time. we got to where we are, and this is a long time coming. >> john from san diego, california. we are running short on time to jump right in with your question or comment. >> thank you. first of all, i think the problem then was separation between the police, the
teachers, the people who are well paid and those that were not. the problem in detroit is it has the greatest separation now as it did then. san diego has the same problem. the median wage in detroit is $26,000. police officers makes three times that amount. in san diego it is five times, and we have a lot of problems with the separation. it is like fort apache. you have police, teachers commuting to work, getting paid off the taxpayers. there is not a true integration and it is more than racial. thank you for everything you are doing. i love detroit. i was there during the riots -- the uprising. i think uprising is correct. >> go-ahead. >> john, you get something. we used to have something called residency. when residency occurred detroit
lost most of its population. we have black and white officers and black and white people that have left the city. this is the most instructive to our city. we have people who committed crimes and so forth, but this is very important. people tend to care more about the city. the mayor and i drove around the city. we could see all these vacant homes. we had 60,000 vacant homes. this takes a long-term process to remedy the situation that has been going on for 60, 70 years. more than 50 years. it will take some time to do a we have to do to change this. >> mild neighborhood was already going down 50 years ago. it got worse, particularly during the 1980's with the crack cocaine. nobody is going to turn this thing around. and stuff like de
-industrialization. this is the 1950's. >> the drug problem was so critical to our city and a lot of cities. because detroit was not like most cities that had so many high-rises, we were single homes. but drug problems caused us to be the murder capital of the world. it caused us to lose a number of police and other people. we had to have a true renaissance of people concerned not only about the city and people moving up, the rating the community of the drug problem and the impact it had on so many young people and educational process. >> what is your source of hope. you talked about the future of detroit. what is a source of hope? >> i think we are at least talking. 10 years ago i did some stuff 40 years after. people are at least talking about it and talking about the
problems. -- ink i'm starting to see do want to sound cynical, but young people moving back. around onen detroit vinyl records store at a time. there are other things. a couple of people said how much they love the city. in the end a lot of people are left that we care about. >> i see people talking about it. when i traveled that would never city or from detroit. now people say i'm from detroit and i want to be from detroit. people in the suburban community are saying i'm from detroit. it is all races doing this. that is really important. >> we have been 20 by -- we have been joined by ike and tim kiska
talking about the 50 year anniversary of what happened in 1967. >> detroit mercy. thank the detroit free press are letting us use the facility. we want to thank the detroit historical society for the input and help on this project as well. this is all taking place today on the 50 year anniversary. but want to thank you for watching as you are watching american history tv on c-span3. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, the author of shall we wake the president. talks about trump's plan to visit texas and how previous presidents have handled natural disasters. be sure to watch western journal
beginning at 7:00 eastern on tuesday morning. join the discussion. on tuesday, and above the cp -- onm president and ceo tuesday, naacp interim president and ceo talks about african-americans traveling through missouri, events in charlottesville and protests resulting from the removal of confederate statues. live starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. cooks live sunday at noon eastern, eric metastasis is our guest. >> america is not defined by ethnicity. everything that the sea -- every ethnicity exists in america. we are defined by an idea. where are the only country that was created by an idea. therefore, in order to keep the republic as franklin conjoined
us to do, we must know those ideas and understand those ideas and buy into those ideas and live them out. >> his books include by includes on -- biographies on wilbur wilberforce. -- join us on sunday on c-span2. >> c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> president trump met with the president of finland in the oval office today.