Detroit Race Riot 6/20 (1943)


Pulling a Man Off a Streetcar, Detroit Riot, 1943

The Detroit Riot of 1943 lasted only about 24 hours from 10:30 on June 20 to 11:00 p.m. on June 21; nonetheless it was considered one of the worst riots during the World War II era.  Several contributing factors revolved around police brutality, and the sudden influx of black migrants from the south into the city, lured by the promise of jobs in defense plants.  The migrants faced an acute housing shortage which many thought would be reduced by the construction of public housing.  However the construction of public housing for blacks in predominately white neighborhoods often created racial tension.

The Sojourner Truth Homes Riot in 1942, for example, began when whites were enraged by the opening of that project in their neighborhood.  Mobs attempted to keep the black residents from moving into their new homes.  That confrontation laid the foundation for the much larger riot one year later.

On June 20, a warm Saturday evening, a fist fight broke out between a black man and a white man at the sprawling Belle Isle Amusement Park in the Detroit River.  The brawl eventually grew into a confrontation between groups of blacks and whites, and then spilled into the city.  Stores were looted, and buildings were burned in the riot, most of which were located in a black neighborhood.  The riot took place in an area of roughly two miles in and around Paradise Valley, one of the oldest and poorest neighborhoods in Detroit, Michigan.

As the violence escalated, both blacks and whites engaged in violence.  Blacks dragged whites out of cars and looted white-owned stores in Paradise Valley while whites overturned and burned black-owned vehicles and attacked African Americans on streetcars along Woodward Avenue and other major streets.  The Detroit police did little in the rioting, often siding with the white rioters in the violence.

The violence ended only after President Franklin Roosevelt, at the request of Detroit Mayor Edward Jeffries, Jr., ordered 6,000 federal troops into the city.  Twenty-five blacks and nine whites were killed in the violence.  Of the 25 African Americans who died, 17 were killed by the police.  The police claimed that these shootings were justified since the victims were engaged in looting stores on Hastings Street.  Of the nine whites who died, none were killed by the police.  The city suffered an estimated $2 million in property damages.

Sources:
Allen D. Grimshaw, ed., Racial Violence in the United States (Chicago: Aldine Publishing, 1969); Stephen Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom, America in Black and White (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997).

Contributor:

University of Washington

– See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/detroit-race-riot-1943#sthash.SE2l3O76.dpuf

history… February 20


673 – The first recorded wine auction took place in London.

1792 – U.S. President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act that created the U.S. Post Office.

1809 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the power of the federal government was greater than that of any individual state.

1815 – The USS Constitution, under Captain Charles Stewart fought the British ships Cyane and Levant. The Constitution captures both, but lost the Levant after encountering a British squadron. The Constitution and the Cyane returned to New York safely on May 15, 1815. The Cyane was purchased and became the USS Cyane.

1839 – The U.S. Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia.

1872 – Luther Crowell received a patent for a machine that manufactured paper bags.

1872 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City.

1872 – Silas Noble and J.P. Cooley patented the toothpick manufacturing machine.

1873 – The University of California got its first Medical School.

1880 – The American Bell Company was incorporated.

1901 – The first territorial legislature of Hawaii convened.

1921 – The motion picture “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” was released starring Rudolph Valentino.

1931 – The U.S. Congress allowed California to build the Oakland Bay Bridge.

1933 – The U.S. House of Representatives completed congressional action on the amendment to repeal Prohibition.

1944 – “Big Week” began as U.S. bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers during World War II.

1952 – Emmett L. Ashford became the first black umpire in organized baseball. He was authorized to be a substitute in the Southwestern International League.

1952 – “The African Queen” opened at the Capitol Theatre in New York City.

1958 – Racing jockey Eddie Arcaro got win number 4,000, as he rode the winner at Santa Anita race track in Southern California.

1962 – John Glenn made space history when he orbited the world three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes. He was the first American to orbit the Earth. He was aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule. Glenn witnessed the Devil’s Cigarette Lighter while in flight.

1965 – Ranger 8 crashed on the moon after sending back thousands of pictures of its surface.

1987 – After 11 years, David Hartman left ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

1987 – A bomb exploded in a computer store in Salt Lake City, UT. The blast was blamed on the Unabomber.

1993 – Two ten-year-old boys were charged by police in Liverpool, England, in the abduction and death of a toddler. The two boys were later convicted.

1998 – American Tara Lipinski, at age 15, became the youngest gold medalist in winter Olympics history when she won the ladies’ figure skating title at Nagano, Japan.

2001 – FBI Agent Robert Phillip Hanssen was arrested and charged with spying for the Russians for 15 years.

2002 – In Reqa Al-Gharbiya, Egypt, a fire raced through a train killing at least 370 people and injuring at least 65.

2003 – In West Warwick, RI, 100 people were killed and more than 230 were injured when fire destroyed the nightclub The Station. The fire started with sparks from a pyrotechnic display being used by Jack Russel’s Great White. Ty Longley, guitarist for the band, was one of the victims in the fire.

2008 – The U.S. Navy destroyed an inoperable spy satellite with a missile from the USS Lake Erie.

2015 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average set a record high when it closed above 18,100.

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