MLK Visiting Scholar Kenneth Reeves
Detroit – July 23rd, 1967
March 13, 2017 @ 11:45 am - 1:00 pm
W20-307 (Student Center, Mezzanine Lounge)
This year will be the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot. In 1967, Detroit had a large population of home-owning black middle-class and blue-collar residents, and the city was synonymous with the American Dream. This was due in large part to strong unions, high employment, and a thriving auto industry. How then did a police raid on a blind pig, an after-hours bar, cause four days of mayhem which irreparably harmed Detroit from 1967 to the present day? Despite the many rationales that were used to explain the riot, the causes are socially, economically, and racially complicated.
I will take a vivid eyewitness approach to examining the riot, which erupted three blocks from my childhood home. Additionally, I will share my analysis of Detroit stemming from monthly visits to the city over the past two years. We will discuss the future of Detroit in the aftermath of this crisis, and we will extrapolate the lessons learned from Detroit to other American cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. In essence, we will be looking back to look in order to forward.