Crystal Edwards


Crystal Edwards


Crystal Edwards remembers scenes from her neighborhood in July 1967.

NOTE: Edwards' account was previously published in July 25, 2007 by the Michigan Chronicle - Volume 70, Number 45, called "Eyewitness Account of the 1967 Riot"


Then published again, called, "At The Time of The 1967 Detroit Riots", pages 67-68, Passager, Martin Luther King Issue,, March, 2008.


Michigan Chronicle
Passenger Books




Michigan Chronicle
Passenger Books






Written Story


"I was 15 years of age. I guess you would say that it is the 40th Anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Riots, but it is an anniversary I don't care to celebrate! I don't know about you, but the summer of 1967 was a traumatic experience for me.

At the time of the riots, I was living on the eastside of Detroit. Though the riots started on 12th St., it left a profound effect on me for the next three summers. I hated to see summer come due to being afraid that a riot would happen again.

What I was were angry people, death, destruction and greed! Why would you loot and burn to destruction your own neighborhood/ It did not make sense to me then and it doesn't make sense to me now and I'm in my fifties.

I stayed close to home, so the curfew implemented for the evenings did not affect me. People like my mother, who worked in the afternoon and evening, were supposed to be given some type of pass to show why they were out after the curfew.

I remember my mother was not home at her regular time from work. I waited at the back door worrying that she was in jail due to not having that pass. It was stated, if you did not have an excuse why you were out after the curfew, you were hauled off to jail.

When my mother came home, I broke down and cried. Matter of fact, due this time, I could not eat, sleep and my nerves were shot!

I remember my father woke us up at 2 am telling us that the music store around the corner and the pawn shop were on fire. People had looted those establishments earlier in the day. I'd asked myself, why did my father wake us up? I was finally sleeping. Well, I was messed up after that.

My parents and our neighbors hosed down their garages with water because it was a threat people were going to burn down our street. It was one the nicest streets in the neighborhood. Again, I was messed up.

What also disappointed me is when the firemen were attempting to put out the fire at our corner drugstore and I saw a couple of the deacons from our neighborhood church taking pictures of the firemen's efforts with cameras that had price tags HANGING from them.

I've read reports that police brutality, economic and social factors contributed to the riots.

I will agree that there were problems with the Detroit Police Department, but to loot and burn down your own neighborhood to get a new camera, clothing and furniture does not make any SENSE! Also, did it make sense that LIVES were lost during this time?

Though I don't know what a person feels from their experiences in a war-torn country, I know I never, never want to see anything like the summer of 1967 again!

Let us PRAY that some day all Nations can come together in Peace!

Chrystal J. Edwards

Note: This event was 49 years ago and the article was written over 9 years ago and it does not seem to get any better.

Original Format


Submitter's Name

Crystal Edwards

Submission Date





“Crystal Edwards,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed March 3, 2021,

Output Formats