45th Anniversary: What has changed since 1967 Race Riot?


Blood spilled onto the streets of Detroit 45 years ago.

Racial tensions exploded outside a blind pig, triggering what would be a 5-day riot in which 43 people were killed and 467 injured. The city would never be the same.

During the riot, which started on this day in 1967, overzealous police clashed with black people with violent results.

Fed up with decades of discrimination and abuse, tired of broken promises of inequality, some black people considered the riot “an uprising” against institutional racism.  It had been a century since the first race riot broke out in the city and 24 years since the bloody 1943 race riot. And still, life didn’t seem to change for black people confined to substandard jobs and housing.

Now 45 years after the 1967 Race Riot, Detroit is a predominately black city with the same problems – poverty, inequality, substandard education and poor housing.

With the force of a slow-motion Hurricane Katrina, Detroit has been devastated by racism and intolerance. It’s no wonder so many Detroiters are suspicious of the state intervening in the city’s finances. The result so far: The diminishment of police and fire protection.

Until we acknowledge the root of Detroit’s problems, the city will never heal. Let’s stop pretending everything is equal in Detroit.

Let’s pledge to be better to each other and create a city that is tolerant and hopeful. Let’s grow together.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.