Linda Gilevich


Linda Gilevich


Linda Gilevich was 20 years and old and worked for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company in 1967. The day the unrest started, her boss told them they could go home but many were prevented by the participants.


Detroit Historical Society




Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI






Written Story


I was a young 20 year old girl, and having been raised in a quiet suburban family, had accepted a job with Michigan Bell Telephone Company which had an office for customer reps on Fort and Green in Detroit. I was very apprehensive to work in the city, although I had black friends in high school and I worked with some really sweet and kind black girls at the phone company. The day the riots hit, we could see the smoke and hear the sirens from our third floor location in the building. The National Guard arrived and took up post in our lobby and we were told that we could stay, or we could get to our cars and go home. As some of the employees left to do that, groups of blacks joined hands and made a human chain across Fort St. so they could not drive through. Some of us were too afraid to try to leave, so we stayed in the building all night and by the next afternoon, some of us made it out without being stopped. Scared, scared, scared. Most of us did not return to work for 4 or 5 days, until things were more controlled.

In the years following and working in a suburban MBT office, we were sometimes sent to downtown Detroit for special projects. This always instilled fear in me, as I never caused any trouble with blacks having been raised that they were the same as us, but witnessing how they hated whites and police officers, I was always on edge.

Even 40 years later, I asked a black woman that I worked with and had shared lots of laughs with at times, if she would tell me how she fixed her fried chicken because she had brought it to one of our functions and it was the best I had ever tasted. She looked at me for a moment, and then said, "Why? Because I'm black and you associate fried chicken with us??" All I wanted was to get a recipe so I could fix it for my family, knowing they would love it too.

Since the riots, it seems that many blacks have no use for whites, and it is so sad, because we weren't even alive when their own people sold them as slaves more than a century ago. I don't want to be fearful, but experiences have stayed with me, and of that, I am saddest of all.

Original Format


Submitter's Name

Linda Gilevich

Submission Date





“Linda Gilevich,” Detroit 1967 Online Archive, accessed December 16, 2019,

Output Formats