• [1967 Detroit Riot] Abandoned House Tells Story Of Bringing Equality To Detroit In 1969


    The 1967 Detroit Riot, also known as the Detroit Rebellion and the 12th Street Riot, began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967, and resulted from high levels of frustration, resentment and anger over unemployment, under employment, extreme poverty, racism, police brutality and the lack of economic and educational opportunities for people of color. The riot was the bloodiest incident in the long, hot summer of 1967, composed mainly of Black residents and the Detroit Police Department.  The riot lasted five days, surpassing the scale of Detroit’s 1943 riot, 24 years earlier. Gov. George Romney ordered the Michigan National Guard to help end the disturbance and President Lyndon Johnson sent in the Army’s 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.  The result: 43 dead, 1,189 injured, more than 7,200 arrests and more than 400 buildings destroyed. Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot wrote and recorded “Black Day in July” recounting these events. The song was banned by radio stations in 30 American states.

    Many people were determined to help create a city more committed to equality and justice.  And in 1969 two very notable African Americans demonstrated their commitment by running in Detroit’s municipal election.

    Offering a 6 3/4 x 9 1/4 black and white photograph of an abandoned house with historic political signage for a number of Black candidates seeking election in 1969.  This house was likely part of the blight that hit Detroit at the time.

    Running in the mayor’s race was RICHARD AUSTIN, a CPA and the son of a coal miner who became the first Black person in Detroit to win a mayoral primary, though he lost the general election, one of the closest political contests in Detroit’s history, solely because of his race. Austin’s bold campaign blazed the trail for future Black candidates.  In 1974, COLEMAN ALEXANDER YOUNG was elected as the first Black mayor and held the office for 20 years.  Austin was the first Black to hold a number of political and professional offices.  He was the first Black to serve as the Michigan Secretary of State (1970 – 1994) and was the longest serving in Michigan’s history.

    ROBERT TINDAL, Executive Secretary of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP, ran for the Common Council and was elected.


    Photograph is in excellent condition with minor wear.  The images of Cole and Young are from the web.

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