This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

1967 and the return of Nightmare in Detroit

Hour Magazine and Crain'sDetroit  was  first to remind us in a recent editions that this summer is the Fiftieth anniversary  of  six days (July23 to July29th)  in which 43 people died. That is the tragedy. The good news is there hasn't been anything  even r
 Hour Magazine  did  provided brief summaries of  how  each of the  of  
The well worn  pictured Book has more detail Nightmare in Detroit tells the story of the 43 fatalities  with each getting getting a chapter or more. Each is a tragedy of it's own.
When the significance of the date  became apparent to those  in the news media

That prompted this writers to go from basement to Attic looking for the  book I first found in a discount basket at a gas station somewhere between  San Diego and Los Angeles  As you can see from the jacket the book is well worn and when I at first  couldn't find I  accused my wife of putting out for a white elephant  sale or something. I later apologized when the book turned up a pile of other books and I must admit it was not the first time the book got "lost". My  fascination stemmed from the events and chronology told by two skilled  journalists Van Gordon Sauter who in 1967  covered both the Newark Detroit  riots of that summer. His Co author  Burliegh Hines in 1966 received the best feature  story 1966.
I never planned to stay in Detroit indefinitely but little things like career advances courting and marriage became provided a not so unpleasant permanence. A job at the Michigan Catholic Newspaper at Chicago and Linwood  put me more or less at Ground zero for the 12th street Blind Pig. It was also the stomping grounds for the late great Purple gang of Dry Cleaner War Fame a half century prior.

Currently  Public Broadcasting is featuring a series on revising historic Homes in what is referred to Boston Edison. In their day these homes heavy on sound deadening plaster and filigree were the best Detroit had to offer.

First casualty of July 23rd 1917 was one Krikor  Messerliam

Then  years previous almost to the day The British Commissioner in Constantinople signed  the documents that allowed the twenty year old Armenian to begin the long trek to the  United States.

Those interested the pitfalls   in such arduous  Journey perhaps taken by their ancestor should see the movie America, America, written and Directed Elia Kazan. In 1964 it was nominated for Best
 If he had a fatal fault it was that Krikor was a fighter who never backed down.  He met those that loot his place of  Business with a sword in hand. Family members found his shop  devoid of anything left  of value except an official looking  framed document signed by the high commissioner in Constantinople which began his journey to Detroit

The Last casualty  of July 29th and the last causlties recorded  was Ernest Roquemore . He was killed by a paratrooper. The landlady heard the police arrive with paratroopers she new the difference because her husband was one. It is  alleged  Ernest  ran out of the house with something  in his hand. Someone yelled he's got a gun the paratrooper positioned by the back door fired. His aim was good but Eric had no gun. There was more gun play at the house that ended when the Landlady's Husband alerted by the noise came up from the basement and the demanded the shooting stop. A girl talking on the telephone by a window was wounded.  in the words of a witness the police charged
upstairs first and asking questions later.

Crains focused on the business aspects of the black community in the days before the Freeways. and takes you to a part  Detroit many who lived here all their life never new  existed..

A  Bloomfield Hills resident who has plaques  lining lining the Hallway of his home for emeritus service  to Mayors, Cavanagh through Young. Remembers being in another the Hall when Governor Romney  and the Mayor requested aid in the form of troops waiting on the tarmac at  Selfredge Air Base. The condition was admission that local could not handle the situation. That would be useful to the President in the Election year 1968 when it was presumed  Romney would be a president candidate.
 The Michigan a front page Picture of  soldiers mustering in front of a Catholic  grade  School.

What were your memories of that Summer ?

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