Detroit’s 1967 Rebellion Story is being told everywhere. It’s the pulse of the city right now. Mixed reviews have gone out as some declare they don’t want to relive those painful days. The city has never fully recovered and, although the divide sent people running to other cities for solace, one newcomer has called it home ever since.
Anthony King, Founder of Detroit Area Dads Parent Teachers Association, never looked back to his home that carried memories of deep segregation. King wears Detroit logos on his clothing daily: Detroit Pistons, Detroit Tigers, Detroit PTA, you name it, he reps his city well, rallying fathers and community members to rise to the needs of their community. He is a force to reckoned with.
King shared his reaction to those summer days of 1967 in response to this week’s movie premiere.
“During the 1967 uprising in Detroit. I was 17 years old, working an after-school job at Greenfield-Union Elementary School on 7 Mile Street.
Ironically, my family had just moved to Detroit the year before (September 1966) from Mississippi, a place of complete segregation, to a place where I’m sure my mother had dreams of a better life for us. I remember that the man I was working with took the long way that day by going up John R to 8 Mile, and then dropping me off at home on San Juan Street. He could not go from 7 Mile to Livernois because of what was happening along the main street.
Of course, we were kept at home, not venturing anywhere, hearing the rumble of tanks protecting the Avenue of Fashion on Livernois. I could only think of coming all the way from down south to Detroit and someone is trying to burn the city down. It was so frightening, a time to grab your loved ones and pray.
I can only equate my story to that tragic time in Detroit because we were coming from a place that still had segregated water fountains, restrooms, etc.
Years later ( 1984-86 ), I worked at Perry Drugs in the shopping center on 12th near Clairmont and got to meet a few people who grew up in the area during 1967. Some were still angry and bitter, and some were still in pain from losing loved ones or property.
That year was a life-altering experience for many, kind of like the life-changing events in Flint where people will be forever scarred in some way. Children were traumatized in ’67, just as children are being traumatized today.
“Something must change people, in the hearts of mankind ( in America ) something must change.”
I agree with Mr. King. This city has suffered some hard blows that it may never recover from, but some that pushes great leaders like King to do more, speak out, raise awareness and learn to love a city misunderstood by the world. Anthony King made Detroit his home and fights to change the narrative of a city that rioted to one who was and still is tired of being deemed unworthy of hope. We are the comeback city! We stayed!