Remembering Detroit-Part 2

All I know of the Detroit 1967 Riot is what I have read in history books and heard in interviews, so this won't be a reflection like the Woodward piece. In writing this I hope to do little more than remind people of the sad events that took place 40 years ago, this past week.

The Detroit Riot, which took place July 23, 1967, began after white police tried to break up a party of Black Detroiters celebrating the homecoming of two Vietnam veterans. With dozens of people taken into custody, other left behind felt that they could no longer handle the inequalities of these meausres. Thus began the looting and rioting.

Many attribute social inequalities, poverty, and racial tensions as the cause for the riot. "By all accounts, Detroit was NOT a blighted city in 1967. However, the city was dealing with issues of white flight, job loss due to automation, and corresponding tax revenue loss, as well as the social ills of the period. Some key factors are often cited as contributing factors leading up to the 1967 riots...history of racial strife...housing...economic decline...police brutality...national racial tension..." ~Wikipedia

The National Guard was in place after 48 hours, and the total losses were: 43 dead (the oldest a 66 year old man, who died while trying to protect his property from looters; the youngest, a 4 year old girl, accidentally shot by the National Guard); 467 injured, (approximately 80% wounded blacks), over 7,200 arrests and more than 2,000 buildings in Detroit were burned down.

All I know of riots is what I witnessed on TV as an 11 year old kid watching the L.A. riots, which were spurned on by the Rodney King proceedings. I can ulger little when it comes to words of wisdom in the face of such anger,frustration, or hatred. I thought I would share instead the word "peace," in some languages from around the world.

  • "Vrede"-South Africa
  • "Asomdwoe"-Ghana
  • "Pace"-Italy
  • "Utimokla"-Native American (Alabama)
  • "Pake"-Albania
  • "Salaam"-Middle East
  • "Sith"-Ireland (Gaelic)
  • "Khaghaghutyun"-Armenia
  • "Dohiyi"-Native American (Cherokee)
  • "He Ping"-China (Mandarin)
  • "Fred"-Denmark
  • "Paz"-Spain
  • "Peace"-English speaking countries
  • "Rahu"-Estonia
  • "Rauha"-Finland
  • "Paix"-France
  • "Frieden"-Germany
  • "Sula"-Afghanistan
  • "Mir"-Russia
  • "Hau"-Tahiti
  • "Layeni"-Mexico (Zapotec Native peoples)

"At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal force in the heart of man: one very reasonably tells the man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of avoiding it; the other even more reasonable says that it is too painful and harassing to think of the danger, since it is not a man's power to provide for everything and escape from the general march of events'; and that it is therefore better to turn aside from the painful subject till it has come, and to think of what is pleasant. in solitude a man generally yields to the first voice; in society to the second." ~Leo Tolstoy, War & Peace

If there is anyone out there who like to see "peace in our time," as a colleague of mine says, I encourage you to join in peaceful protests. A group from my church, called "Women (and Men) in Black," peacefully, and silently protest for peace, every 1st Friday of the month (rain or shine), 6pm, on the corner of University Drive and Squirrel Road (right in front of the main entrance to Oakland University). If you feel so inclined to join, please do. Participants are encouraged to wear dark colors.


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