Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, a film about the unrest of 1967, failed to provide needed context surrounding the uprising. It is an incomplete narrativeDetroit’s unrest in the summer of 1967 forever shaped the identity of the city. It all began with a 23 July early morning police raid of a “blind pig” – an illegal after-hours drinking club. It was this raid that set the city on fire. The resulting clashes between police and the black community lasted five long days and claimed 43 lives – of which 33 were black and 10 white. More than 7,000 arrests were made. To those watching from a far, the unrest was a symbol of the tension between black and white people, which had already played out in similar race riots in New York, Newark, New Jersey, and Los Angeles from 1964 to 1967. To Detroiters, it was a reminder of what the writer James Baldwin once said: “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” Continue reading…

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