Like many, 17-year-old Kenneth Snodgrass was walking near 12th and Clairmount streets in Detroit during the five days of civil protests. That intersection was the center of the city’s civil disorder and violence. He recounts a moment when police jumped out of their car, approached him and pointed a gun in his face. He discusses the frustration he felt from those around him and why he calls it a rebellion.

 

This is part of a series of eyewitnesses to the civil unrest that broke out in Detroit in 1967, after a summer of nationwide outbursts. The violence lasted five days and left 43 people killed, 1189 injured, over 7000 arrests and more than 2000 buildings destroyed, making it the deadliest instance of civil disorder since the Civil War draft riots. It served as a catalyst for Pres. Johnson’s establishment of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, which was tasked with finding the cause of these outbreaks. Their conclusion: “We are moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.”

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