Community Members

Title

Community Members

Description

These oral and written histories feature individuals who were adults living in Southeastern Michigan in July 1967.

Publisher

Detroit Historical Society

Date

06/16/2015

Rights

Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI

Items in the Community Members Collection

One early Sunday afternoon my wife, my 2 kids and I were coming home from Cedar Point. As a speeder I usually drive 5 10 or 15 over the limit; driving a ‘63 Chrysler 300, it was very unusual to see anyone pass me. But driving up 75 and 94 at…

We set out on Sunday morning from our home near Plymouth and Meyers for K-Mart, three of us looking for things for our little daughter. The radio was on, and suddenly the music was interrupted by announcements that, "many blocks of inner-city Detroit…

My name is Sandy Livnat (formally Shmuel Livnat) and I was born in Detroit on December 4, 1948. Describe the neighborhood(s) you lived in. Socioeconomic and/or racial and ethnic demographics as well: At the time of the riots, my family lived in…

Shirley Davis, June 12, 2015
In this interview, Davis discusses growing up in Southwest Detroit and her recollections of the 1967 civil disturbance. She recalls interactions with looters, encounters with violence, property destruction, and the military. She also opines on…

Girard Townsend, June 12, 2015
In this interview, Townsend recalls being on 12th Street in the early morning hours of July 23, 1967 and seeing the beginning of the civil unrest that occurred throughout that week. He also speaks about his involvement in the arson and looting of…

Father Michael Varlamos, June 25, 2015
In this interview Varlamos discusses his parents’ migration from Greece to Detroit, growing up in an integrated neighborhood on Detroit’s Westside and his father’sbusiness, Niko's Party Store,at the corner of Mack Avenue and Lemay,…

John Porter, July 23, 2015

I was born in Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. My parents lived on Crawford Street in Delray, apparently where the new bridge to Canada is to be built. It is maybe coincidental that a popular restaurant in the neighborhood was a Hungarian restaurant…

Shirley Schmidt, July 9th, 2015
In this interview, Schmidt discusses growing up in an integrated neighborhood and attending integrated schools on the Eastside of Detroit in the 1940s and 50s. She discusses being pregnant and the mother of a toddler during the 1967 civil disturbance…

Marc K. Shaye, July 25, 2015

Our family lived in Sherwood Forest at the time of the 1967 riot. The riot began on a Sunday and I had been at a friend's house in Palmer Woods during the day. We had no cell phones then and had no knowledge of the events unfolding during the day. We…

I have a story for you. I was married on the Friday of the riots. I had jokingly sent my future husband a wedding invitation. If I had not done that he would not have been allowed into Michigan! Lee, my husband. was in the military (Air Force) and…

Deborah Chenault Green, July 26, 2015

At the time of the 1967 Riot, I lived on 12th Street, along with my family. During the summers I would visit my aunt and uncle's house, who lived on Hazelwood and 14th, just two blocks from the epicenter of the riot. The night of [July] the 23rd I…

In 1967 I was 23 years old, attending Wayne State University, married with a 1-year-old son and living in a highrise in the Jeffries Housing Project, reserved for WSU students, faculty and staff. I grew up in the all white Redford neighborhood, but…

Cynthia Garner, September 23, 2015

My dear friend and I were in for a sudden, astounding awakening. Due to the dawn to dusk curfew imposed on the citizens of Detroit during the 1967 Riot--we were unable to enjoy a night on-the-town or be entertained by dates. My social life and…

In this interview, Williams discusses growing up in a multi-ethnic community in Detroit and the causes and effects of the 1967 disturbance. She also discusses working in the Detroit school system and the changes that occurred over the years she both…

Carol Tough, March 21st, 2016
In this interview, Tough discusses growing up in a Polish and Ukrainian community in Detroit. She discusses her personal reactions to the unrest.

Cynthia Garner, October 10th, 2015
In this interview, Cynthia discusses her neighborhood relationships growing up, where she and her family were during the unrest and her particular memories of it. She also compares the events of 1967 to the 1943 riots, as well as discusses how the…

Robert Garvin, December 10th, 2015
Originally from Decatur, IL, Robert Garvin recounts his experience being a new resident to Detroit days before the unrest in 1967 began. He also briefly explains the changes of the Boston-Edison area along with some changes to the Dearborn area…

Ken and Carol Sopiak, March 19th, 2016
In this interview, Ken and Carol Sopiak discuss their experience planning and then enjoying a traditional Polish Catholic wedding, reception, and Poprawiny in Detroit during the events of July 1967.

Brenda Perryman, March 19th, 2016
In this interview, Perryman discusses growing up attending multi-racial parochial schools in the Detroit area, as well as a life-changing car accident and her role in the events of July 1967.

In this interview, Yvonne Anderson discusses growing up in a multi-ethnic community including the black association in Detroit. She also discusses the discrimination and the extreme disturbance at that time.