The Civil Rights Era
Racial tensions have occasionally erupted into violence throughout Michigan’s history, but few eras were as turbulent as the 1960s. The national struggle for social justice and equality came to a head in Michigan, in some of the state’s worst race riots. Before state and federal troops restored a semblance of order in Detroit on July 23, 1967, 43 people had been killed, more than 1,000 injured, and over 7,000 arrested. Damage to property topped $50 million. This tragic event was just one of several violent episodes that marred the era.
In some ways, the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan are still digging out from those indelible events. While the makeshift yellow fences that bordered riot sites have long been replaced by new development throughout the city, the psychological scars have proven harder to heal. Race relations are an ongoing, front-burner issue in Detroit, one of the most racially divided cities in the country. Always described as the metro area’s largest “minority” group, African Americans are, in fact, no longer the minority at all, at least in a demographic sense: Detroit is now over 80 percent African-American.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel