The Detroit Race Riot Of 1943

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  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    #1 syscom3, Oct 28, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2009
    The Detroit Race Riot broke out in Detroit, Michigan in June 1943 and lasted for three days. Thirty-four people were killed before Federal troops restored order.

    The American Experience | Eleanor Roosevelt | People Events | Detroit Race Riots 1943

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Race_Riot_(1943)



    The Beginnings
    In the summer of 1943, in the midst of World War II tensions between the black population and white population of Detroit were growing. One of the reasons behind this growing tension was that 18 months after Pearl Harbor, Detroit's population had grown by 350,000 people. 50,000 of those people were black, many of whom came from the South in search for work in Detroit's newly converted defense production factories. Additional support for the migrations came also from the 1941 rulings of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) which declared that there could be no discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries (such as the mass production of military hardware, airplanes, tanks, and other vehicles in Detroit, a center of the “Arsenal of Democracy”) due to race, creed, color, or national origin.

    The Riots
    The altercations between black and white youth started on June 20, 1943 when they clashed on Belle Isle. The clashes soon escalated to the point where black and white mobs were “assaulting one another, beating innocent motorists, pedestrians, and streetcar passengers, burning cars, destroying storefronts and looting businesses." Both sides were said to have encouraged others to join in the riots with false claims one of “their own” was attacked unjustly. According to Thomas Sugrue in The Origins of the Urban Crisis, "Many Detroit police openly sympathized with the white rioters, and were especially brutal to the blacks; 17 blacks were shot to death by the police, no whites were."(p. 29)

    The Aftermath
    The Riots lasted just three days and came to an end once Mayor Edward Jeffries, Jr. and Governor Harry Kelly asked President Roosevelt to intervene. Federal troops were the ones who finally restored some form of peace to the streets of Detroit. Over the course of three days, 34 people were killed, 25 of whom were African Americans. Out of the approximately 600 injured, blacks accounted for more than 75 percent, and of the roughly 1,800 people who were arrested over the course of the 3 day riots, blacks accounted for 85 percent.

    After the riot, leaders on both sides had an explanation for the riots. White city leaders such as the Mayor, pointed the finger at young black “hoodlums.” The Wayne County prosecutor believed that it was the leaders of the NAACP were to blame as being the instigators of the riots. Detroit's black leaders, on the other hand, pointed to a handful of other causes from job discrimination, to housing discrimination, police brutality and daily animosity received from Detroit's white population.
     

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  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I was born in the 60's, and it blows my mind that this happened not too very long before that.
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Most people know about the "Zoot Suit" riots and probably have heard of the Port Chicago mutiny. But few have heard of this riot.

    I think there was another mutiny in the AAF involving a B25 outfit that was segregated, and the officers revolted demanding full rights and recognition as AAF officers.
     
  4. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    I think it was probably difficult for many to quantifie the reality of who we where fighting, why, and what was going on at home...:(

    Interesting , thanks!
     
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