1967 riot drove people away, but fear finally gone from air

Published 4:56 pm Monday, July 23, 2007

By Staff
Two generations after the July 1967 Detroit riot left 43 dead, the damage lingering 40 summers later isn't so much the kind you can see, but white flight and population loss still sap the Motor City.
The riot took its toll on Motown's image.
Another 25 years would pass before anything comparable to it occurred in the United States – when Los Angeles erupted in 1992 after the Rodney King acquittals.
A generation or more of suburban youth grew up with 8 Mile Road as a border they were warned not to cross, diminishing Detroit as a regional destination.
The more people avoided Detroit, the more it perpetuated its perception as a murder capital or annual arson festival.
Every city fire and killing reinforced the subtle warning to avoid the Motor City if you know what's good for you.
That seems to be changing. A new generation has ventured back downtown, which teems with music, casinos, the first-place Tigers in Comerica Park and a rejuvenated riverfront.
Some, born without all the '67 baggage, even choose to inhabit new lofts and condos and call downtown Detroit home.
Perhaps Detroit still has a serious crime problem, but it also has lots of positive attributes going for it.
Fear fuels crime and walking around downtown, that fear just isn't palpable in the air anymore like it used to be.
There are signs of Detroit getting back on its feet, like the new look along Woodward Avenue.
We hope Detroit can learn from that sad chapter and continue finding a new way forward.
Michigan needs Detroit to succeed.