Michael Slusser was a member of the Michigan National Guard. He was called to duty in the summer of 1967 and stationed at Central High School.
Detroit Historical Society
Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI
I will begin by telling you I was a resident of Grosse Pointe Park & a member of the Nat'l Guard, during the 67 riots. I was returning home, with my girlfriend, from a trip in northern Michigan. It was getting very late in the evening, when I finally arrived home.My brother had arrived much sooner than I & he left me a note by the phone, telling me to call the Artillery Armory. I had not heard anything on the car radio, stating a riot. I called & was told to report immediately. Here I was, thinking I would get a few hours sleep, before going to work & finding out I had to rush to duty with hardly any gas in the tank & a long distance to go. I changed into my fatigues & headed west, down Eight Mile rd. Upon arriving at Woodward, I stopped to talk with a policeman, searching the median, for what I assumed was a weapon. I explained where I was going & he told me " Don't stop for any traffic lights & be careful" Thankfully, I arrived safely & must have had just fumes in the tank. Our group arrived at Central High School on the second or third day of the riots. Central High was the prime location for the Nat'l Guard, State Police & Detroit Police, as it was where the action was. Upon arrival, we broke out rations for our battery, who had been there for at least a day or two before. After a long day, I decided to spread out the cardboard from the rations & get a few hours of Z's. As dusk set in, sniper fire began. I sprung from my location & hollered for someone with a weapon to shoot out the light, above the school entrance, illuminating my location. Some JERK, disagreed, but thankfully, was overruled by my Captain. This began a long night & a long two weeks of war in Detroit. Upon entering the school the next day, we sadly discovered bullet holes in the windows & ceilings, notes in the water fountains telling the students what time to leave & large black letters, one per locker, in the main hall, stating "F.U. WHITEY". Gee, wonder who orchestrated that? There are many stories I could tell, but the most important is The wonderful organization known as the SALVATION ARMY. The only group to be on location all day, every day! I have never forgotten them & never will. Everything was FREE. One other item I will never forget, is we were accused of stealing equipment from the school, weeks after the riot. That was a complete LIE. Whomever was operating the school system then, must still control it now. There was no way, we wanted more equipment to get ready for inspections!!!
“Michael Slusser,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed October 22, 2020, https://detroit1967.detroithistorical.org/items/show/347.