Next month, Academy Award-winning film director Kathryn Bigelow will release Detroit, a recounting of the city’s devastating 1967 race riot, the most destructive period of civil unrest in American history. The riot marks its 50th anniversary this week. Lasting for a total of five days (July 23 through July 27), the riot literally tore the once gleaming Midwest metropolis, apart at the seams resulting in 43 deaths, over 7,000 arrests, the burning, looting and destruction of more than 2,000 buildings and pieces of property with a damage bill ranging in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Detroit opens on August 4. Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker) directs a cast highlighted by John Boyega (Star Wars franchise), Will Poulter (The Revenant, We’re The Millers), Anthony Mackie (8 Mile, The Hurt Locker, Captain America franchise) and John Krasinski (TV’s The Office). The film focuses on the notoriously-tragic July 26, 1967 Algiers Motel Murders.

Using The Detroit Free Press newspaper Twitter feed and its brilliantly-crafted #Detroit67 thread as a guide, below is a timeline of the first day of the infamous uprising in the Motor City.

Detroit 1967 Race Riot Timeline – Day 1: July 23, 1967

3:35 a.m. – An undercover Detroit police officer enters an African-American blind pig after hours bar at 12th and Clairmount inside the Economy Printing Company building where dozens have congregated to welcome home two returning Black soldiers from service in the Vietnam War

3:50 a.m. – The ensuing Detroit Police Department raid of the after-hours spot ends in arrests of 85 customers and staff

4:05 a.m. – As the police load those arrested into a series of paddy wagons to be taken to the 10th Precinct for booking, a crowd begins to gather and the ill will between the residents of the primarily African-American neighborhood and the nearly all-White police brigade responding begins to boil with cross words being hurled

4:40 a.m. – The crowd at 12th and Clairmount begins to get hostile, blind pig doorman Walter Scott claims responsibility for inciting the violence which would erupt into a full-fledged riot within hours when he threw  a beer bottle at a policeman.

5:10 a.m. – Glass bottles, rocks and garbage debris starts to be thrown into local businesses’ front windows on 12th Street and at responding police

5:15 a.m. – Detroit Police Chief Ray Girardin is notified of the unrest and calls to inform Mayor Jerry Cavanaugh of the situation at the Mayor’s mansion

5:30 a.m. – Responding police from the 10th Precinct receive backup called in at Girard’s command from surrounding precincts

7:45 a.m. – Police Chief Girard orders Belle Isle, the city’s most popular downtown park, closed and access blocked off to the public

7:50 a.m. – An estimated 3,000 people are now looting local storefronts, throwing rocks and bottles at police, city workers and community leaders trying to quell the unruly behavior

8:00 a.m. – Governor of Michigan George Romney is called at his home in suburban Bloomfield Hills and alerted of the growing chaos in the city of Detroit

8:25 a.m. – The first building of the riot is set ablaze, a shoe store on 12th Street

9:00 a.m. – Rioters have grown in numbers to close to 10,000 people

9:45 a.m. – State Congressman John Conyers stands atop a car with a bullhorn pleading for a stop to the violence

10:30 a.m. – Police make a half-dozen arrests on 12th Street

11:00 a.m. – Michigan State Police are alerted to be on “stand-by” status

12:00 p.m. – Police Chief Ray Girardin and Mayor Cavanaugh resist aid from the state police and issue a media blackout, encouraging press outlets from reporting on the intensifying situation as a means of maintaining calm in the areas of the city the riot hadn’t hit yet

1:00 p.m. – Fires breakout at 12th Street & Taylor, 12th Street & Blaine, 12th Street & Pingree and 12th Street & Philadelphia and crowd throws rocks and bottles at responding firefighters

2:05 p.m. – Mayor Cavanaugh seeks help from the state police and National Guard to contain the uprising

2:30 p.m. – The National Guard sends its first four units of aid to the city

3:00 p.m. – Looting and violence spreads to Dexter, Linwood and Grand River

4:00 p.m. – The Motown Records Music Revue playing at the historic Fox Theatre on Woodward Avenue downtown is cancelled in the middle of a performance by native Detroiters Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

4:20 p.m. – Mayor Cavanaugh requests additional help from the state police and National Guard

4:30 p.m. – An Armenian Linwood Avenue shoe-repair shop owner attacked and badly beaten

5:00 p.m. – National Guard sets up post on campus of Detroit Central High School

5:20 p.m. – Looting extends to Joy Road and Oakland Avenue

6:00 p.m. – Looting extends to West Grand Boulevard

6:15 p.m. – The looting hits downtown at Washington Boulevard

6:20 p.m. – The looting has moved north to Highland Park

6:45 p.m. – The National Guard spreads out through the city

7:30 p.m. – Governor Romney arrives in Detroit at DPD headquarters downtown

7:45 p.m. – Mayor Cavanaugh orders 9:00 p.m. citywide curfew, describes the situation as “critical but not out of control”

7:50 p.m. – Looting has spread to Hamilton and Webb

8:30 p.m. – Looting has spread to 7 Mile and Woodward to the north and down Michigan Avenue to the west

8:40 p.m. – Looting has spread to Livernois and Fenkell

9:07 p.m. – The riot’s first report of sniper fire as shots ring out at Seward and Poe

9:15 p.m. – The riot’s first report of a shooting victim, a teenage African-American male

9:30 p.m. – Shots are fired at firemen at 12th Street and Lawrence

10:10 p.m. – Looting and fires have spread all the way east to Mt. Elliott

10:15 p.m. – Police shoot and wound a looter for the first time in the now raging-out-of-control riot

10:25 p.m. – Mayor Cavanaugh orders all city gas stations shuttered

10:35 p.m. – Looting spreads to Kerchival Avenue

10:45 p.m. – The FBI office in Detroit contacts the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. and informs them the situation in the city is “worsening by the moment”

10:48 p.m. – Sniper fire is heard at 12th Street and Taylor

10:50 p.m. – Governor Romney orders all National Guard troops in the state to report to mobilized outposts in Detroit

11:10 p.m. – Looting has spread to the eastside’s Brewster Housing Projects

11:45 p.m. – Looting is reported at Monterey and Petoskey

11:58 p.m. – Mayor Cavanaugh cuts off all liquor sales in the city, Highland Park and Hamtramck

11:59 p.m. — The first day of the riot concludes with almost 300 buildings across the city either on fire or gutted by fire


Related Post

Leave a Reply