Northwest Community Organization pamphlet, 12th Street Detroit
On the evening of July 23, 1967, the Detroit Vice Squad officers raided an unlicensed bar on the corner of 12th Street and Clairmount Avenue in the center of the city’s oldest and poorest Black neighborhood. The people in the bar were celebrating the return of two Black servicemen from Vietnam. The officers arrested all 85 people present at the party, and what transpired afterwards was one of the largest urban uprisings of the 1960s. Lasting five days, 43 people died in the urban rebellion, 342 were injured and nearly 1,400 buildings were burned. The deeper causes of the 1967 Detroit Riots were the Black community’s high level of resentment, frustration and anger at persistent racism and residential segregation, poverty, police brutality and lack of economic and educational opportunities. In the aftermath of the uprising, many community groups formed to address the area’s complex problems. The Northwest Community Organization (NCO) is an example of this effort. NCO’s focus on integration after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 demonstrates the limitations of legislative victories in their ability to change the everyday experiences of Black people.
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