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This Is How Disturbing The 1967 Detroit Riots Really Were

This Is How Disturbing The 1967 Detroit Riots Really Were

During the summer of 1967, rioting in Detroit left 43 dead and exposed the severe cracks in US race relations.

Posted on August 1, 2017, at 5:16 p.m. ET

Summer 1967 was a tipping point for race relations in the predominantly black neighborhood of Virginia Park, Detroit. For decades, racial profiling and the excessive use of force by a disproportionally white police department made the area feel less like a neighborhood and more like a police state.

On July 23, 1967, a police raid on an unlicensed bar resulted in the arrest of 82 black residents, sparking outrage across the community and resulting in one of the largest riots in US history. For five straight days rioting and looting enveloped the city, prompting President Lyndon B. Johnson to mobilize the National Guard. When the smoke cleared, 43 people were dead and over 1,000 more injured. In total, over 7,000 people were arrested and over 2,000 buildings destroyed.

These pictures capture the disturbing scene that unfolded during July 1967 in Detroit.

A Detroit police officer lines up people as riots ensue in late July 1967.
Declan Haun / Getty Images

A Detroit police officer lines up people as riots ensue in late July 1967.

Crowds gather in the streets as armed police attempt to maintain order.
AP

Crowds gather in the streets as armed police attempt to maintain order.

Police in riot gear escort a man who they claim had been looting after the riots broke out.
American Stock Archive / Getty Images

Police in riot gear escort a man who they claim had been looting after the riots broke out.

Police officers in military helmets point their rifles at suspects on July 25.
AFP / Getty Images

Police officers in military helmets point their rifles at suspects on July 25.

Police officers confront pedestrians.
Lee Balterman / Getty Images

Police officers confront pedestrians.

Police line up residents of an apartment building in search of sniper suspects.
Lee Balterman / Getty Images

Police line up residents of an apartment building in search of sniper suspects.

The bodies of three shooting victims were removed from the Algiers Motel in midtown Detroit on July 26. The three black men were found shot to death in a motel room.
AP

The bodies of three shooting victims were removed from the Algiers Motel in midtown Detroit on July 26. The three black men were found shot to death in a motel room.

A federal soldier stands guard as buildings burn during the riots on July 25.
AFP / Getty Images

A federal soldier stands guard as buildings burn during the riots on July 25.

Detroit buildings burn out of control as riots rock the city.
Declan Haun / Getty Images

Detroit buildings burn out of control as riots rock the city.

A woman carts away the merchandise she took from a shattered storefront window.
Graham Bezant / Getty Images

A woman carts away the merchandise she took from a shattered storefront window.

An armed police officer searches a pair of suspects on July 25.
AFP / Getty Images

An armed police officer searches a pair of suspects on July 25.

The Detroit fire department attempts to make its way to burning buildings amid riots.
Declan Haun / Getty Images

The Detroit fire department attempts to make its way to burning buildings amid riots.

From the White House, President Lyndon B. Johnson directs federal troops to quell the riots in Detroit.
Historical / Getty Images

From the White House, President Lyndon B. Johnson directs federal troops to quell the riots in Detroit.

National Guard troops disembark a Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport plane after arriving in Detroit on July 25.
Lee Balterman / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Image

National Guard troops disembark a Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport plane after arriving in Detroit on July 25.

Federal soldiers stand guard on a tank in a Detroit street on July 25.
AFP / Getty Images

Federal soldiers stand guard on a tank in a Detroit street on July 25.

National Guard troops (left) stand guard in the streets of Detroit. Black shop owners (right) protect their store while holding rifles.
Getty Images

National Guard troops (left) stand guard in the streets of Detroit. Black shop owners (right) protect their store while holding rifles.

Firefighters are protected by police as they attempt to put out a fire that broke out during the riots.
Declan Haun / Getty Images

Firefighters are protected by police as they attempt to put out a fire that broke out during the riots.

A Detroit fire truck is visibly damaged as firefighters attempt to put out fires that swept the city.
AP

A Detroit fire truck is visibly damaged as firefighters attempt to put out fires that swept the city.

Litter is left scattered across the city in the aftermath of the Detroit riots.
AP

Litter is left scattered across the city in the aftermath of the Detroit riots.

Women, who were arrested for various offenses, are loaded onto a police bus en route to Wayne County Jail on July 28.
AP

Women, who were arrested for various offenses, are loaded onto a police bus en route to Wayne County Jail on July 28.

Pallbearers carry the tiny casket of Tanya Blanding, 4, who was killed during riots on Aug. 1. The girl was killed as a hail of police and National Guard bullets pummeled an apartment building where she was huddled on the floor. Officials said the flare of a match used to light a cigarette was mistaken for the flash of a sniper’s gun.
AP

Pallbearers carry the tiny casket of Tanya Blanding, 4, who was killed during riots on Aug. 1. The girl was killed as a hail of police and National Guard bullets pummeled an apartment building where she was huddled on the floor. Officials said the flare of a match used to light a cigarette was mistaken for the flash of a sniper’s gun.

Smoke lifts from burned buildings in aftermath of the riots.
Declan Haun / Getty Images

Smoke lifts from burned buildings in aftermath of the riots.

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