2017-08-03 / Opinion

Memories of Detroit 1967 Riot


To the Editor:

Fifty years ago, I was a broadcaster and street reporter in Detroit. That summer, Detroit imploded, exploded, and blew up.

The riots of 1967 were the worst in American history. I was in the thick of it, and thanks to a state trooper, I escaped harm. After that, Detroit would never be the same.

A new movie, commemorating the riot, is in theatres this week and directed by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow.

Forty-three people died in that riot, hundreds more were injured, and 1,000 buildings went up in flames.

For me, it was a harrowing experience. It was 50 years ago, and I can still smell the smoke.

Don Howe

St. Ignace

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Don, my sister and I were

Don, my sister and I were also in the middle of Detroit at Palmer Park when the riots broke out, enrolled in a youth city recreation program. I remember running for the city bus and heading back to our home, just north of the city proper, trying to understand what was happening. It was that riot, that prompted our family to move to St. Ignace...My mom, never wanted for us to feel that fear again. Lucky for us my mom and dad had honeymooned on Mackinac Island and the image of the U.P never escaped her...so 2 years later, we had sold our home and moved to Brevort.(then population 50) or that's what the sign said...now, that was a little bit of a culture shock as a teenager; plus it was a pink ranch house....obviously it grew on me and I'm still in the U.P. I chose to marry a YOOPER, start a business here and promote this wonderful Upper Peninsula like I had been born here:) I never gave up on Detroit though and throughout the years was always a cheerleader for its comeback. I'll never forget the racial pains of those times and will always remember the lives and families destroyed by such bigotries. I am happy to watch its rebirth which has been one painful but inspirational turnaround! Loving both peninsulas but happy to be in the Upper. Cheryl Schlehuber, Mackinac Properties, St. Ignace, Michigan

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