By John Ruberry

Last week the 50th anniversary of the five-day long Detroit Riot passed. Or uprising or rebellion, depending on who you speak with.

I’m going with the first one, riot. It started after midnight on July 23, 1967 in the city’s Virginia Park neighborhood when an illegal bar, known locally as a “blind pig,” was raided by Detroit police officers. After arresting 85 patrons who had gathered to celebrate the return of two soldiers from Vietnam, the cops were confronted by 200 more people who threw rocks and bottles at them. The police left and crowd started smashing windows and looting stores.

Which is why I’m calling it a riot.

Rosa Parks Boulevard and Clairmount in 2015

It took 17,000 people, a mixture of Detroit and state police officers, federal and national guard troops, and firefighters to quell the riot. Over 2,000 buildings were destroyed and 43 people were killed. Only the 1863 New York City Draft Riot and the 1992 Los Angeles Riot were worse among domestic urban disturbances. Many of the buildings that were laid waste were never rebuilt, and 12th and Clairmount–now Rosa Parks Boulevard and Clairmount–was like most of the rest of Detroit when I visited in 2015, forsaken and quiet.

Sure, there were solid reasons for black Detroiters to be angry 50 Julys ago. Police brutality was rampant in the Motor City, and as had thousands of blacks migrated there from the Deep South for automobile industry jobs, many whites made that northern trek too. And the latter brought their prejudices with them. Yes, many blacks had good-paying jobs with the Big Three but often they were clustered, make that segregated, into the less desirable segments of the assembly line, the sweltering foundries or the fumous paint rooms. After World War II urban renewal and expressway building came to Detroit, as it did in other major cities, but African-American neighborhoods were usually targeted for these “improvements,” which caused blacks to sardonically label these programs “negro removal.”

What the 1871 Chicago Fire was to that city, or the 1906 earthquake was to San Francisco, the ’67 riot was to Detroit. It’s a historical demarcation line. Only Chicago and San Francisco successfully rebuilt and emerged as better and more livable cities afterwards. After 1967 white flight accelerated in Detroit–and thousands of businesses followed. Jobs too. Crime soared. In 1960 Detroit had over 1.6 million residents–now there are fewer than 700,000 Detroiters.

Blogger at Detroit’s abandoned Packard plant

“The riot was the seminal moment in Detroit’s history, the point from which nothing would be the same,” the Detroit News’ Nolen Finley wrote eight days ago.

Riot or rebellion? If it was the last one, I know who lost. Detroit did.

But bankruptcy–and the confession of defeat–like an alcoholic finally admitting addiction–offers Detroit a chance to turn things around. When I stood on the corner of Clairmount and Rosa Parks two summers ago, there was no attestion of the historical significance of the site. But last Sunday a Michigan historical marker, “Detroit July 1967,” was dedicated there.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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Detroit city limit
8 Mile Road

By John Ruberry

I spent most of last week slowly driving–to avoid potholes–and walking the streets of Detroit. Yes, I took in some time downtown, but most of my travels were in the forsaken neighborhoods far from the casinos and the sports stadiums.

When Detroit celebrated its 250th anniversary in 1951–it enjoyed the highest standard of living of any city in the world. Its population was 1.8 million. Now there are barely 700,000 Detroiters. Motown is at the top or near the top of all American cities in poverty and crime rates.

What went wrong? Detroit’s apologists quickly name off what they believe are causes, such as the building of the interstate highway system and the resulting suburbanization, as well as the decline of the American automobile industry. Almost all northern industrial cities were impacted by the former but they managed, with varying levels of success, to claw back or at least stop the bleeding in the 1990s. But by 2000, Detroit became the first United States city that once exceeded 1 million residents to have fewer than that landmark figure.

Burned out Detroit
Burned-out home

As for the car business, Michigan doesn’t have a single foreign-owned automobile plant, unless you count Fiat-owned Chrysler. The states on Michigan’s southern border, Indiana and Ohio, together host five foreign-owned car factories. You can attribute Michigan’s absence from this late 20th century manufacturing shift to muscle from the United Auto Workers and compliant Democratic politicians.

As for the latter, from 1974 until 1994, Coleman Young, a onetime member of the Communist Party, was Detroit’s mayor. His acidic rhetoric convinced many of Detroit’s remaining white residents as well as many businesses to flee to the suburbs--where they were unable to escape Young’s demonizations. While no government funds were used to build the gorgeous but money-losing Renaissance Center, he was among its biggest cheerleaders. Young was a strong proponent of massive Stalin-esqe public works projects such the also beautiful People Mover trains downtown that was expensive to build and is expensive to maintain–and it doesn’t move very many people.

Packard MP
Author at Packard plant

In 2013 Detroit declared bankruptcy.

The neighborhoods outside Detroit are pathetic sights. Vacant lots and abandoned homes dominate most streets. Retail stores are non-existent. Even better districts such as Corktown and Boston-Edison have boarded-up homes on every block. Residents usually walk on the streets as opposed to sidewalks because the walkways are often in worse shape than the roads–and they are sometimes overwhelmed by vegetation.

Outside of the world’s largest abandoned factory, the Packard plant, a man pulled up in his old Pontiac Grand Am and told me, “I hope you’re a publicist. Because the world needs to know how bad it is in Detroit beyond Packard. All the schools in this neighborhood are closed.”

I promised that I would tell the world–and I’m a man of my word.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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Mr. Howell: Young man are you accusing a Howell of cheating? I’ll have you know I’m far too wealthy.

Spy Gilligan: To cheat?

Mr. Howell: No, to be accused!

Gilligan’s Island Gilligan vs Gilligan 1966

Talking Points memo is breathlessly reporting the following statement from Ann Coulter

The quote that caused them to embed this video and was this:

“On the gun crimes, we keep hearing how low they are in Europe, and oh, they’re so low, and they have no guns,” Coulter told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “If you compare white populations, we have the same murder rate as Belgium.”

Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly titles his post “Solution is obvious” snarking:

If I didn’t really like the Belgians, I’d suggest that she get herself over there permanently right away. It might be a socialist hell in her eyes, but it would be one where she’d not only be secure, but would not be allowed within 100 yards of a camera.

In the comments at the two sites I see many adjectives describing what Ann said: “Hateful“, “Racist”, “Horrible”, but there are only two adjectives that actually matter concerning her statements:

True or False

Oddly neither TPM nor Washington Monthly bothered to dispute her statement. Perhaps it is presumptions of me to believe so, but if professional journalists from nationally known sites are going to snark over someones remarks one might think they would weigh in concerning: their veracity. Given their scorn for Coulter their failure to do so speaks volumes.

Nevertheless I’m still outraged over Ann’s Comments, not because of what she said but because of the reality they represent.  Just this week a 13-year-old black teen on his way to choir practice in Boston was shot. Nobody demand a march, nobody called for the confiscation of guns over it and no national news network outside of Fox decided the story was newsworthy beyond the city.  I didn’t see any story in Memeorandum for TPM or Washington Monthly to comment on concerning it.

Rather than be upset about Coulter I can’t forget this from afrodaddy:

In relation to homicide the number one killer of black men is other black men. It is a national tragedy that black-on-black crime ranks as the 4th leading cause of death for black men. In the age group of 15 – 34 black-on-black crime is the #1 killer of black men.

because this truth outrages me and it should outrage you too!

I submit and suggest until our friends at TPM & Washington Monthly find a way to blame the GOP for the  stats in this chart from the CDC.
Disease-Homicide
they will continue to be less outraged by Black and Hispanic mothers in tears over their dead children then Ann Coulter suggesting it is a problem.

After all why worry about a bunch of dead people’s whose parents will vote for you if you try to save them or no?