Kevin Thrasher


Kevin Thrasher


Kevin Thrasher was a 9-year-old living on the east side of Detroit, patrolling his home in July, 1967.


Detroit Historical Society




Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI






Written Story


East side of Detroit, Michigan


The riots took place just after my ninth birthday. I am now 56 years old (turning 57 in July) and will never forget the mood, fear and concern for my safety my parents experienced.

I was always an advanced child. I was giving the gift, by God, that children rarely possess - a very high IQ. I knew and understood more about certain things than the average adult.

My mother, when I was on "punishment," would only allow me to read encyclopedias. I took to it the as instinctively as mammals instinctively draw a breath upon entry to this world.

Further, I was extremely fortunate to grow up in a two parent household with two parents who received an above average income. I never wanted for a single thing! My father bought an additional set of encyclopedias because I complained that the World Book Encyclopedias we had did not cover subjects I wanted to learn! Subsequently, while on "punishment," I read voraciously. By the end of the day, I would have a myriad of A - Z volumes from both sets in my room!

Naturally, I was fascinated by the riots. I read everything I could about riots. Most of the social and psychological elements I did not understand. Everything else I did, after all, I was only nine years old!

As a result of the anguish I saw on my parents faces, every day at 6:00 am I got up, put on my army uniform, and patrolled our front porch with my pellet rifle. I only went inside to use the bathroom and when my mother made me come in and eat and time for bed. I did not miss a single day that the city was in a state of emergency.

I lived on the east side of Detroit at the time. Not much was reported about the east side. But, I am here to tell you that all hell broke loose on the east side of Detroit!

The National Guard was stationed three blocks from my house at the fire station. Every day the same Guardsmen came down my street and gave me a salute as they passed. I saw them laughing and pointing at me; but all that mattered to me was the salute I got from them! That was the first time I actually experienced pride in myself and felt what pride in yourself feels like emotionally.

I will never forget the PRIDE I felt and applied to every aspect of my life from that day to this!

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Kevin Thrasher

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Eastside Detroit, Michigan National Guard




“Kevin Thrasher,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed January 17, 2022,

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