Marie Hopkins, January 31st, 2017


Marie Hopkins, January 31st, 2017


In this interview, Hopkins discusses her impressions of the events of July 1967.


Detroit Historical Society




Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI






Oral History


Narrator/Interviewee's Name

Marie Hopkins

Brief Biography

Marie Hopkins was at Marygrove College in Detroit during the events of July 1967.

Interviewer's Name

William Winkel

Interview Place

Monroe, MI



Interview Length



Julie Vandenboom

Transcription Date



WW: Hello. Today is January 31, 2017. My name is William Winkel. This interview is for the Detroit Historical Society's Detroit '67 Oral History Project, and I'm in Monroe, Michigan. I am sitting down with—

MH: And my name is Sister Marie Hopkins. My voice is awful.

WW: No, it's not.

MH: How well do you know Detroit? Do you know where Marygrove College is? All right. I taught at the college. I lived at the convent. Do you know where Meadowbrook is? Out at Oakland? The concert center?

WW: Uh-hm.

MH: Oh I'm glad you know all this, okay. There was a concert going to be held. And I was going to go to it and I had two others from Marygrove and me. That would be three of us. And my good friend had been transferred from Marygrove down to be principal at Girls Catholic Central on Parsons, off of Woodward. So you kind of get that picture.

So we went down to Parsons— we went down there, picked her up, and we scooted up I-75 to Oakland and went to the concert. Concert ends, we leave, we're coming down I-75 and I said, “You know what? I would like to cut over to Woodward now and see what Woodward's like at eleven o'clock at night.” So we scooted over, and I said, “My glory, there isn't a car, there's nothing here!” I didn't know it was that bare at night.

And the next thing we knew, we came to the corner where— what's the name of that store? Demmer's (?). Demmer's is on a corner. I don't know if you can remember that; you're too young. And here stand two soldiers with guns. Well, that scared the living daylights out of us! And we were so dumb, we didn't even think to put on the radio and find out what was going on.

I said to the car, we've got to get Marilyn home, down to Parsons. We're almost there. So we kept going and now we began to see soldiers here and there, holding guns. Still didn't know what was going on. And so we got to Parsons and dropped her off at the convent there, and I scooted over to Hamilton, and I was going to take Hamilton up to Six Mile. We came to the first stoplight and we got the red, and I stopped, and a motorcyclist— not a policeman, not a soldier— pulled up beside us and he yelled, "Get the hell off the street!" and we yelled, What's going on?

At that the light changed, and he took off. We still know nothing. I kept going to Six Mile and back home. When I got to Marygrove Convent, everyone was tense and upset. Now, next to the convent there's a wooded area. Half of that property is wooded. And we had been told there might be a fire in it, so we were to sign up and take turns staying up all night just to check the woods to make sure there was no fire. So that was my first night of the riots. And didn't know a thing until we got home to the convent.

WW: Wow.

MH: That's it, there.

WW: What did you do the rest of the week? Stay hunkered down?

MH: Say again?

WW: For the rest of the week did you just stay at the convent?

MH: Oh yeah. We stayed right there, and we really monitored the woods, day and night, for a few days there. And other than that, if you remember, nobody came down Six Mile. And really, our area was not touched in any way. But we didn't know that was going to happen. So that's the end of my story.

WW: Just a couple quick questions. Did this change the way you viewed the city?

MH: Did what?

WW: Did '67 change the way you looked at Detroit? Did you still feel comfortable in the city?

MH: Well, I was never a Detroiter. I came from Flint, and I would say, as far as fear, I just thought, this is a big city, and that's what happens.

WW: Is there anything else you would like to add?

MH: And?

WW: Is there anything else you would like to add?

MH: No dear, that's the end of my tale.

WW: Thank you so much.


Original Format



5min 24sec


William Winkel


Marie Hopkins


Monroe, MI




“Marie Hopkins, January 31st, 2017,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed May 18, 2021,

Output Formats