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This Is How Disturbing The 1967 Detroit Riots Really Were

During the summer of 1967, rioting in Detroit left 43 dead and exposed the severe cracks in US race relations.

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Summer 1967 was a tipping point for race relations in the predominantly black neighborhood of Virginia Park, Detroit. For decades, racial profiling and the excessive use of force by a disproportionally white police department made the area feel less like a neighborhood and more like a police state.

On July 23, 1967, a police raid on an unlicensed bar resulted in the arrest of 82 black residents, sparking outrage across the community and resulting in one of the largest riots in US history. For five straight days rioting and looting enveloped the city, prompting President Lyndon B. Johnson to mobilize the National Guard. When the smoke cleared, 43 people were dead and over 1,000 more injured. In total, over 7,000 people were arrested and over 2,000 buildings destroyed.

These pictures capture the disturbing scene that unfolded during July 1967 in Detroit.


The bodies of three shooting victims were removed from the Algiers Motel in midtown Detroit on July 26. The three black men were found shot to death in a motel room.

Lee Balterman / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Image

National Guard troops disembark a Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport plane after arriving in Detroit on July 25.


Pallbearers carry the tiny casket of Tanya Blanding, 4, who was killed during riots on Aug. 1. The girl was killed as a hail of police and National Guard bullets pummeled an apartment building where she was huddled on the floor. Officials said the flare of a match used to light a cigarette was mistaken for the flash of a sniper’s gun.

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