Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Detroit at Crossroads 50 Years After Riots Devastated City

Deborah Chenault Green is 62, a writer. But 50 years ago she was a pre-teen, sleeping on the porch to escape the oppressive heat, awakening to see a sky that glowed unnaturally.

Azerine Jones is a retired baker. But in 1967 she was the 12-year-old daughter of a barber who watched his business go up in smoke.

Girard Townsend is 66 now, living in a seniors building near the Detroit waterfront. But a half century ago, he was just a kid on a city bus.

The bus stopped near 12th and Clairmount streets. Townsend stepped off — and into the very start of the Detroit riot.

"I saw all these guys with masks and shields," he said — city police officers, most of them white, far outnumbered by a seething black crowd.

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