50 years on, AP photos show violence of Detroit’s riots

 50 years on, AP photos show violence of Detroit’s riots

Protests that started 50 years ago in a west side Detroit neighborhood would grow into a riot and later a conflagration that threatened to swallow entire city blocks.

An angry crowd of blacks gathered near 12th and Clairmount streets in the early morning hours of July 23, 1967 after police raided an illegal after-hours club and made arrests. The crowd grew and a tense situation erupted in violence, gunshots and flames.

As smoke from dozens of fires rose cloud-like for five days above the Motor City, Associated Press photographers snapped shots of the burning storefronts and homes.

Just as startling are photos of the crowds that surged into Detroit streets, looters making off with stolen goods from hapless businesses and scores of national guardsmen called in to restore order.

The images have stood for a half-century, etched into Detroit’s fabric and history.

In this July 24, 1967 photo, a Michigan State police officer searches a youth on Detroit's 12th Street where looting was still in progress after the previous day's rioting. The July 23, 1967 raid of an illegal after-hour’s club, though, was just the spark. Many in the community blamed frustrations blacks felt toward the mostly white police, and city policies that pushed families into aging and over-crowded neighborhoods. (AP Photo)

In this July 25, 1967 photo, firefighters try to control blazing buildings after riots in Detroit. Hundreds of fires were reported in the city. Five days of violence would leave 33 blacks and 10 whites dead, and more than 1,400 buildings burned. More than 7,000 people were arrested. (AP Photo)

In this July 1967 photo, a National Guardsman stands at a Detroit intersection during riots in the city. Detroit wasn't the first of the riots in the summer of 1967, and it was far from the last. Buffalo, New York, and Newark, New Jersey, preceded it; in the course of the summer, more than 150 cases of civil unrest erupted across the United States. (AP Photo)

In this July 25, 1967 photo, smoke rises from a fire set at the busy intersection of Grand River and 14 Street in Detroit, near another burned out building. The fire was set despite patrols by the National Guard, police and Army troops. (AP Photo)

In this July 23, 1967 photo, hundreds of people run down 12th Street on Detroit's westside throwing stones and bottles at storefronts. The riot started after police raided an after-hours club in a predominantly African-American neighborhood. The raid, though, was just the spark. Many in the community blamed frustrations blacks felt toward the mostly white police, and city policies that pushed families into aging and over-crowded neighborhoods. (AP Photo)

In this July 24, 1967 photo, multiple fires burn in a section of riot-torn Detroit, about three miles west of the downtown area. Five days of violence would leave 33 blacks and 10 whites dead, and more than 1,400 buildings burned. More than 7,000 people were arrested. (AP Photo)

In this July 24, 1967 photo, National Guardsmen, called in to restore order by Gov. George Romney, stop their vehicle near a Detroit fire truck in the neighborhood that was ravaged by rioting the previous day. Many in the community blamed frustrations blacks felt toward the mostly white police, and city policies that pushed families into aging and over-crowded neighborhoods. (AP Photo)

In this July 28, 1967 photo, female prisoners arrested during the rioting in Detroit, board a bus at Wayne County Jail, watched by National Guardsmen for transfer to Eloise, a detention home for women on the edge of the city. Mass arrests of men, women and juveniles had taxed jail facilities in the city. (AP Photo)

In this July 26, 1967 photo, an Army soldier stands guard as men captured in the vicinity of the 10th Police Precinct in Detroit peer from under a garage door awaiting transfer. The precinct building came under fire in daylight hours and an Army force, using armed personnel carriers and tanks came to the police station. (AP Photo)

 In this July 27, 1967 photo, residents of Detroit's riot area stand in line for free emergency food from a neighborhood organization. Hundreds of grocery stores were burned or looted during the rioting. (AP Photo)

In this July 27, 1967 photo, residents of Detroit's riot area stand in line for free emergency food from a neighborhood organization. Hundreds of grocery stores were burned or looted during the rioting. (AP Photo)

In this July 25, 1967 photo, women and children stroll past the burned remains of homes after riots in Detroit on July 23. The houses were a short distance from 12th Street, center of the riot activity. After the riots, a decline that had already begun would accelerate; Detroit was the nation's fourth biggest city in 1960, but would rank 21st by 2016. The middle class fled, and a proud city fell into poverty, crime and hopelessness. (AP Photo)


Text from AP news story, 50 years on, AP photos show violence of Detroit’s riots.

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