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Detroit

Race Riots, Racial Conflicts, and Efforts to Bridge the Racial Divide

Joe T. Darden and Richard Thomas

Publication Year: 2013

Episodes of racial conflict in Detroit form just one facet of the city’s storied and legendary history, and they have sometimes overshadowed the less widely known but equally important occurrence of interracial cooperation in seeking solutions to the city’s problems. The conflicts also present many opportunities to analyze, learn from, and interrogate the past in order to help lay the groundwork for a stronger, more equitable future. This astute and prudent history poses a number of critical questions: Why and where have race riots occurred in Detroit? How has the racial climate changed or remained the same since the riots? What efforts have occurred since the riots to reduce racial inequality and conflicts, and to build bridges across racial divides? Unique among books on the subject, Detroit pays special attention to post-1967 social and political developments in the city, and expands upon the much-explored black-white dynamic to address the influx of more recent populations to Detroit: Middle Eastern Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. Crucially, the book explores the role of place of residence, spatial mobility, and spatial inequality as key factors in determining access to opportunities such as housing, education, employment, and other amenities, both in the suburbs and in the city.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Frontmatter

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. 8-9

List of Tables

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pp. 10-13

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Acknowledgments

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p. xiii-xiii

This book was made possible by the contributions of others. Thus, we owe them our sincere appreciation. Lisa Eldred provided outstanding editorial assistance for the entire manuscript. We also received assistance in bibliographic collections and data gathering from Kayla Benard, a recent graduate from ...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xvi

During the summer of 1967, Detroit, Michigan’s largest city, experienced the worst race riot in the city’s history and the most severe racial conflict in the entire nation. During a two- week period, which began on July 23, at least 43 people were killed, hundreds were wounded, and numerous properties were destroyed. This urban disorder would influence racial thinking and the collective memories of blacks and whites throughout the coming ...

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Chapter 1. Historical Causes and Consequences of the 1967 Civil Disorder: White Racism, Black Rebellion, and Changing Race Relations in the Post–Civil Disorder Era

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pp. 1-27

In July 1967, Detroit experienced the bloodiest urban disorder and the costliest property damage in U.S. history. When it finally ended, forty- three people had been killed— thirty- three blacks and ten whites— over one thousand injured, and 3,800 arrested (Fine, 1989: 299). Close to 5,000 people were left homeless, most of them black. More than 1,000 buildings had been burned to the ground. When the total damage was tallied, it soared ...

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Chapter 2. Conflict between the Black Community and White Police: Before and after the 1967 Civil Disorder

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pp. 29-66

If African Americans in Detroit between 1925 and 1945 were to name the worst racial abuses they had to encounter, without a moment’s hesitation they would have said “white police brutality.” White police officers in the black ghettos in Detroit and throughout the country symbolized a form of unbridled racism. The racial practices of the Detroit Police Department towards the black community were a major contributor to the larger racial ...

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Chapter 3. Racial Conflict over School Desegregation

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pp. 67-80

The progress of black students towards academic achievement and attainment of equality with their white counterparts is often framed within the context of the internal characteristics of the child’s family or the structures of society that, regardless of family structure, may prohibit a child’s mobility. This chapter examines both ...

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Chapter 4. Racial Conflict over Employment Discrimination

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pp. 81-91

The Detroit riot was the ONLY riot singled out for comment by President Lyndon Johnson in nearly six hundred pages of detailed reflections on important political events of the 1960s (Feagin and Hahn, 1973).
The riot lasted a week. Between July 23, when the after- hours club in Detroit’s ghetto was raided by the police, and August 1, ...

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Chapter 5. The Emergence of Black Political Power after 1967: Impact of the Civil Disorders on Race Relations in Metropolitan Detroit

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pp. 93-135

Black political power was one of the most historically significant developments after the civil disorders in 1967. White flight to the suburbs paved the way for a black majority in Detroit. Radical and some moderate black leaders wanted nothing less than black political control ...

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Chapter 6. City and Suburban Conflict over Residential Sharing of Neighborhoods

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pp. 137-154

The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (1968) reported that in the black ghetto, grossly inadequate housing was a critical problem. In Detroit, 27.9 percent of nonwhite- occupied housing units in 1960 were classified as deteriorating, dilapidated, or lacking full plumbing. The percentage (53.1 percent) was ...

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Chapter 7. The Declining Auto Industry and Anti-Asian Racism: The Murder of Vincent Chin

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pp. 155-180

During the economic recession of the early 1980s, Detroit’s declining auto industry became the source of anger and hatred against Japanese- made cars. Eager to shift the blame from poor- performing American cars to better- performing Japanese cars, some angry Detroiters went so far as to shoot at passing Japanese- made cars ...

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Chapter 8. African American and Middle Eastern American Relations after 1967

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pp. 181-198

While the racial divide between inner- city blacks and suburban whites has been widening since the 1967 riot and still remains the worst of the racial divides in the Detroit metropolitan region, other racial divides also have emerged during this period. For example, ...

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Chapter 9. Old Minority and New Minority: Black- Latino Relations in a Predominantly Black City

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pp. 199-219

Between 1970 and 1980, Detroit’s black population increased from 43.7 percent to 63 percent, becoming a majority black city for the first time in its history (Darden, 2009b). Detroit elected its first black mayor, Coleman Young, in 1973. Within six years of the riots, Detroit had changed from a prosperous, predominantly white city to a ...

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Chapter 10. Economic Restructuring, Black Deprivation, and the Problem of Drugs and Crime

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pp. 221-238

the American economy. It involves a decline in manufacturing employment (which pays high wages) and an increase in service employment (which pays lower wages). This change has consequences both for employment opportunities for lower skilled workers and for the ability ...

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Chapter 11. Measuring the Racial Divides in Metropolitan Detroit

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pp. 239-263

Present data suggest that these predictions have been accurate. The trends have indeed continued. The purpose of this chapter is to document the results by using the most recent data available to measure the extent of the racial and place divides in metropolitan ...

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Chapter 12. Interracial Cooperation and Bridge Building in the Postriot Era

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pp. 265-296

Despite its long history of racial discrimination (including two tragic race riots in less than a quarter of a century, constant white suburban/black city hostilities, and newly emerging racial and cultural diversity, which created even more tension and conflict between old and new minorities), many Detroiters continued to believe that their city could ...

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Chapter 13. Alternative Futures for Residents of Detroit

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pp. 297-317

As the quotes above and the preceding chapters indicate, Detroit has gotten worse, not better, since the riots. We have documented the many challenges for residents of Detroit since ...

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Appendix. Method of Computation of the Index of Dissimilarity

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p. 319-319

The Index of dissimilarity is based on census tracts. The index of dissimilarity D is defined as the overall unevenness in the spatial distribution of two racial groups. It is stated mathematically ...

References

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pp. 321-340

Index

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pp. 341-346


E-ISBN-13: 9781609173524
E-ISBN-10: 160917352X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611860665
Print-ISBN-10: 1611860660

Page Count: 370
Illustrations: 14
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1st
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

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Subject Headings

  • Detroit (Mich.) -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
  • Race riots -- Michigan -- Detroit -- History -- 20th century.
  • Violence -- Michigan -- Detroit -- History -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Michigan -- Detroit -- History -- 20th century.
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