Jay Williford


Jay Williford


Jay Williford had just graduated from high school the summer of 1967 and remembers watching nearby shop owners prepare to defend their stores.


Detroit Historical Society




Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI






Written Story


Graduated High School 67. The summer of the inseruction. Lived in a downstairs flat in a once glorious victororin home . A little neighborhood sandwiched between the Cass Coridor and Skid Row. The house was on the Cornor of Fourth and Plum street. , the best view of Plum Street , from my front porch.
Robert Cobb was a teacher at my school, (Westren Hugh) he had been my slum landlord before we moved to the house on Fouth and Plum . One of the owners who refused to sell to Cobb and Sharprio .
July 67 we watched the shop owners run around Plum street , guns in hand , meeting in little pods planing how to defend the burning and looting, which never came. Tanks with soldiers sitting atop with riles rolled by . Patrol cars reminesice if the Big Four patrolled by . The burning and looting never came.
Our whole neighborhood is now engulfed by the dam MGM Casino We were far in the middle , kinda isolated we looked to the northwest, could see lots of smoke.
The poorest part of town was always integrated. Black, White, Hispanic, Eastern Europeans . Grew up running the streets, playing ball, eating at each other's houses. We all stood on the corner wacting.
I like to suggest your really from Detroit if no part of your family history has stories of hiding in a barricaded basement waiting for the " Roit " to engulf the city.
The third day we took my 58 Ford Fairlane drove up Twelfth Street up To Clairmount , people in cars looked a little timid, usually a raised fist or Two fingers got a response.
A few years back I was visting my old JR High ( Pelham) The nice young Principle told me " the school was built as result of the neighborhood being burnt down during the "roits " . I looked at him and laughed , " no homes in this area were burned down. Besides take a look atop the school"s Front passage , this school opened in 1963, I attended that first year. We need to get our stories together .

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Submitter's Name

Jay Williford

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“Jay Williford,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed June 2, 2020, https://detroit1967.detroithistorical.org/items/show/292.

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