Wyleana Bivins

Title

Wyleana Bivins

Description

In this interview, Wyleana talks about moving to Detroit, her experience growing in Detroit, the 1963 march, the 1967 uprising, and what life was like before and after those events.

Publisher

Detroit Historical Society

Rights

Detroit Historical Society

Language

en-US

Narrator/Interviewee's Name

Wyleana Bivins

Brief Biography

Wyleana Bivins was born in Georgia in 1940 and moved to Detroit in 1957.

Interviewer's Name

William Wall-Winkel

Interview Place

Detroit, MI

Date

10/19/2018

Interview Length

43:25

Transcriptionist

Frances MacKethan

Transcription

WW: Hello today is October 19th, 2018 my name is William Winkel. This interview is for the Detroit Historical Society’s Neighborhoods Oral History Project and I am in Detroit, Michigan. I am sitting down with: WB: Wyleana Bivins WW: Thank you so much for sitting down with me today. Can you please start by telling me where and when were you born? WB: I was born August 9, 1940 in [inaudible] Georgia. WW: When did you come to Detroit? WB: 1957 WW: What brought you up here? WB: My father was here and it’s better living. My mother could do better here so we came here. WW: When did your father come up? WB: My father came - he was back and forth since - he went to school here. He came to south Georgia and that’s where he met my mom - well he knew my mom down there for - because his people they were across the road from my mother. They met each other as kids. He would stay there for a bit and then he would come back because he didn’t like the south. My mother was afraid to come north I guess. Then we moved to Gadsden, Alabama. In 1957 my mother said she couldn’t make it no more living there so they moved to Detroit. WW: When you came to Detroit what did you think? What was your first impression? WB: It was the biggest place I’d ever since in my life and I thought the train station was the prettiest place. I come in on train. I’d never traveled that far before. [laughs] It was exciting. So I thought it was really nice. And then I left a lot of - there was a lot of bad things happening in the south I was glad to get away from. Lots of things. They had the - well just a lot a. I don’t know if you want to hear that or not. WW: Feel free to tell me. WB: Well there was a lot of killing. That’s when the movement started. And I was there when Emmett Till was killed. And we were under curfew. A lot of blacks were beat up, a lot was killed and it was scary. You couldn’t come out - you had to be very careful during the daytime not to be caught by yourself. And then we’d be under curfew from six to six. It was a lot of things and I really was afraid of the south all my life because the Klu Klux Klan march when I was four and seven. And they used to tell me “Oop don’t do that! The boogeyman's gonna get you.” And we lived on a farm so I thought the boogeyman was always behind the door where the bodies [inaudible] was. This was in Georgia. [laughs] So anyway, when I saw them - to see that it was something you would never-. For a child like me, I could hear the noises for a long time “boomboomboomboom” like that. And I didn’t know what that noise was at and she said “That’s alright let’s keep walking”. We was walking on the road, we didn’t have streets like they have. They had the roads down south. You just walk on the side of the highway. And finally I saw it coming. There was a big cross with lights. There was a truck. And there was drums, no music just drums. And my mother told me to stand still. So we had to stand and you weren’t allowed to really look at them. You know you had to turn to the side. So I did that. And this one man he said “Boo”. Scared me so bad I almost passed out. I don’t know how many cars there was, just so many cars. I’d say there was 200, but there wasn’t no 200 cars. [laughs] But they had on hoods and it was the scariest thing, I just knew the boogeyman had come. So then mother explained to me what it was after we got home. And from then on, it was a scary time for me. Nobody never paid no attention so when I saw them the next time it was like, they gonna come and get me. And I always had it in my mind. When they would burn a cross someplace they would tell us about it or we’d hear it. And it was hush hush hush and put everything dark up to the window, no lights, because if they see lights they might shoot in there. It was just scary, you know. Anyway, I used to pray at night, I said “Lord take me away”. I wanted to leave so I wouldn’t have to see that. And I wouldn’t have to - I’ve been to trees where they’ve hung people and it’s awful. I didn’t see it, but they told us about it. That was to let us know, don’t cross the track. They say “How did you all know how to live in the south like that?” It’s simple, you learn from here. They showed us everything that was bad and let us know, don’t go there. So when I got a chance to come here I said “Oh my god I’m safe.” I felt safe. There was a lot of things I could do here I couldn’t - I was afraid to even go out the house there. We lived in fear. Lot of things they did was wrong, just wrong. I’ve seen people get hands cut off, I’ve seen people leg cut off, feet cut off. And they say that’s what’ll happen you know. So we learned how to stay on the - how to stay on the right - stay on the other side of the track. So like I said, when I came here I thought it was just great. So when I saw the riot it was just like oh my god we gonna die, this is gonna be worse than what I just left from. WW: Before we get there, do you remember what neighborhood you moved into when you came to Detroit? WB: Yes, I lived on Philadelphia. I can’t remember the address, I used to keep it in my head. But it’s where the John C Lodge is now. This is Philadelphia and Hamilton, now it’s Philadelphia and the John C Lodge. WW: Do you remember what the neighborhood was like? WB: Beautiful, nice, it was a nice neighborhood. WW: Was it an integrated neighborhood? WB: I don’t remember because we didn’t stay there long. It was the first place we stayed. We stayed there about two, three months. But I think it was one or two. I’d say one or two whites was living in there. Because it was a real nice neighborhood then. WW: What neighborhood did you move to after that? WB: We moved to 604, I think it was 604 Canton, that was between Lafayette and Jefferson. WW: What was that neighborhood like? WB: It was nice! We used to bike to Belle Isle it was fun. It was real nice, I liked that. WW: How long did you stay in the neighborhood? WB: We didn’t stay that long because that’s when we moved to the west side because my dad didn’t like the east side. We just stayed there for a while because we was just trying to get a place, you know, stable place. And so, anyway, we moved back to the west side and we moved to 1644 West Euclid. We stayed in three different places on West Euclid [laughs]. We moved from there down the street to 1690 then we moved to 1674 in 1963. And I been there - I stayed there until I moved to Novi. WW: And how long were you in that neighborhood? When did you move out? WB: Nine years ago. So how many years was I in that neighborhood, I don’t remember. Long time, 57. WW: So after you moved into that house and you’d been staying there for longer than the 3 months or so. Did you like the neighborhood? WB: I loved the neighborhood, it was beautiful. It was a mixed neighborhood when we moved there but then they started moving out, starting new businesses and stuff. It was a lot of Jews over there when we moved in there. And they moved. I think about, I would say about 1961, all the whites had moved out by then, I think. WW: Do you remember what shops you frequented? WB: Well we went to - we could shop on 12th St. We could actually shop, we didn’t have to [inaudible] We had dress shops. I don’t remember any names though. We had restaurants, we had bars, we had drug stores, we had everything. It was like our little own city. We used to, back in 1957 we had a man who used to go down the street with a white coat on and clean the street in the morning. We had a lot of good stuff going on. Then it started deteriorating once all the people with money left. All the people without money, they couldn’t afford these places so some kept them and some, they started deteriorating. There just wasn’t no money. Seemed like everybody and their - it was just a few people in that neighborhood that was working. Because the plants made off, I don’t know what year that was Ford laid off, he laid off 116 days, if I’m not mistaken, it’s in history, how long they was off. And then everything just fell. Poof, like that. And just about everyone in the neighborhood was on welfare or something. You couldn’t find a job. Because me, myself I would do restaurant jobs and clean up people’s houses. And that was only $8 and restaurant jobs, $7.37 an hour, so you had to take two of those to make one week pay. People wanted to live like a [inaudible]. We believed in church a lot. Without the churches I don’t think we could’ve made it the way we did. WW: What church did you go to? WB: I went to Eastford New St. Peter Baptist Church and I go to Tried Stone, but I grew up going to New St. Peter. That’s about it, I guess. Motown had just started coming up. Motown was building up so that was a plus there. We had a good time with the music on 12th St. It was actually 12th Hasting and they move to 12th Street and they moved to Oakland. It was alright, I guess. WW: Being in that neighborhood in the lead up to 67, that July did you feel any tension growing? WB: I can’t say I felt tension, I felt tension yes I did, but we knew how to just stay away from it. We just really stayed away from it because it was a lot of different people would be coming in that you didn’t know. Because I worked and I stood on the bus stop to catch the bus and I used to see people. I wasn’t only, that was like organized to me, because I saw people dressed in black in cars and they had four, five men, maybe six. But there was always something strange about it that I just didn’t understand. Even the day of the riot I didn’t understand, they told me “Where you going?” I said “I’m on my way to work, get away.” I thought they was gonna mess with me, then they say “You better go back home.” And I thought somebody kept picking at me, seven o’clock in the morning, but it just didn’t see nothing. So it was a lot of changing, because one thing, I’m just gonna tell you the truth , it was like, it had gotten to a point if you wasn’t real fast then you wasn’t getting a job. It was simple as that. You was gonna get what I just told you I did. The only way was to go to school, me myself I went back to school, I even went to college too. You get a chance to get a better job. But there was no jobs for the blacks, of color. And the lady I was telling you about that worked at Hudon’s? She was the first black lady that ran the elevator. She was so high yellow you’d think she was, she was mixed or something like that. And that’s what was happening, it was dividing us. WW: What was her name again? WB: Her name was Yeela, Yeela McCrawford. And it was dividing us, if you was real light skinned you could get a job. If you was dark, then you just wasn’t gonna get a job and if you did you got measured in the back, but you’ve seen that in the history museum. They didn’t put you out front. Even me, when I was 19 I started working Big Boy. That was the first Big Boy in Detroit. It was in Royal Oak, though, but it’s called Detroit. It’s at the 13 mile, no 10 and a half mile and Woodward. The first Big Boy hit the city, everybody wanted a Big Boy. I work hard. They was ordering like 300, 400, 500. [laughs] There was four cooks in the back and all the cooks in the back were black. But they hardly ever seen us because we didn’t come out front, but we made the Big Boy. We did the, they had the Big Boy, the Slim Jims, all those that stuff. We made everything back then. We had one cook in the front, maybe two, sometimes, and she was white. So when we did start getting jobs, they made us stay back. It was basically, Detroit at one time was basically like the world down south. It was just all that different, they couldn’t, they wouldn’t try to be hanging you here like they would down there. So, that’s just the way it was. And that’s what really brought the unrest, they just wasn’t taking it. Because more people were getting educated and they knew they didn’t have to take it. And as I said, they got guts and once they started figuring out, well I can do this. I’m not going to let them do me like this no longer. That’s when you could feel the tension. Even when you was on the bus or something you could just feel. People just wasn’t, they wasn’t friendly. It was like everybody was going someplace too fast. I don’t know what they were doing. I don’t think they knew what they were doing really. It was just, I don’t know. All the love that I was used to sharing and stuff, it just went out the window. It was a hate thing. And that’s what really divided; they had divided the people so bad. Until it was just, I guess there wasn’t anything left to do but fight. WW: Do you remember how you first heard about what was going on? WB: I was on the bus stop in the morning, I was going to work. I worked at the Motel Saxon on Plymouth Road and Telegraph. And that’s when those people told me “Where you going?” and I said “I’m going to work.” I was waiting on the bus right there at Central High School on Webb and, I don’t remember the street now. It was across 14th. Webb and 14th. It down there at Central High School. That’s where the bus would pick me up. They told me “You better go back home.” And I turned my back because I didn’t want nobody picking at me, I don’t know what they would do to me. At that time in the morning standing on the bus stop by yourself on a Sunday morning, it’s not nice. So anyway, I got to work and I had been working about, I got to work at 8 o’clock and it was about 9:30-10, the lady came and got me, I was working cleaning up the rooms, and she said “Wyleana, you gotta go home.” And I said “No I don’t have to,” I thought something happened to the family. She said “They’re rioting,” I said “What’s that?” I didn’t know what she was talking about. She said “They’re fighting.” “Why, I wanna know who’s fighting.” “It’s not my family.” “Who’s fighting, why I gotta go home?” Because I didn’t want to leave, I needed the money. The $8 fare, I needed my $8. Anyway, she said “It’s an unrest, people’s is fighting. There’s lootings,” she says “Burning up. No buses coming,” she said “the last bus is going out now.” But the bus was gone, and they wouldn’t let another one come through. So some people at another motel out there they brought me to Grand River and Euclid. Honest to goodness, I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was just one little fire, I thought a fireman gonna come out and put it out. The closer we get there, the darker the sky, just big black rows of smoke. I asked the man, he said I’m gonna take this as far as I can. So when we got to Grand River and 12 Mile, they said you can’t go in. He said I can’t go no farther you gotta walk. That was a long ways from where I live so I called a cab, he said “I can take you so far.” He said “I take you as far as I can.” He take me to Hamilton and 12 Mile. I said “I can run from here.” Because when we got to, they wouldn’t let us come through 12 Mile because it was burning down. We had to go up to Chicago and come over and then he brought me down towards Euclid. And I started running and I was asking everybody “What’s going on?” And they said “It’s burning up, everything’s burning up.” I said, “Is my house gone?” “The houses burning” they said. I said, “Is my house burning?” They said, “No, your house not gone.” So I was thinking that’s my kids in there! And my mom and dad are there. I got to Hamilton and Euclid and the police said, “I wouldn’t go in there if I were you.” I said, “I gotta go through here. That’s my kids in there!” He said “Okay well keep going.” And he said, “How far you going?” I said, “I gotta go all the way to 12th street.” He said, “12th street is where it’s really happening.” I said, “I gotta go my kids are in there.” So when I did get there I almost passed it, because it was so dark I can’t even see, let alone the house. But it wasn’t our house. We lived on a little block between 12th and Woodrow. And I almost fell down when I saw my mom and dad. I was so excited I didn’t know what to do. And I asked dad, “What in the world is going on?” He said, “It’s a riot.” Because he had been in one before because he was there back in the 1940s, early when they happened and so he explained to me what’s gonna happen. I said “Oh no, can I leave?” He said, “Nothing’s going in, nothing in and nothing out.” They locked down, they wouldn’t let you go, no way.” I said, “Okay” I thought it was gonna be all over in a minute. Oh my God it just got worse. People were moving stuff out of the houses and putting it in the street. And the sparks would just come down and set it on fire. And it was a lot of houses. We lost nine houses and apartment buildings on our block. It was just, it was crazy. Like I said, I had never seen nothing like it. I had read about it, but to see it. It was nothing pretty. The police they were so dirty. They just say do whatever you want to do. They didn’t try to stop it. I said, “Can’t they do something?” But, I don’t know, seemed like they wanted it to burn. They let it burn like they wanted it to burn. It wasn’t only, it wasn’t just the riot people setting the buildings on fire. Owners were setting on fire. They caught some, and some they never did catch. They were setting their own buildings on fire. I don’t know, it was just something to see. I never forgot it. It took me like three months to sleep. Because I lived on a block with a little tiny old man and a four year old girl. It was cute. She left my house, playing in front of my house, with the kids I said, “You gotta go home because it’s curfew,” and she went home and her sister call us I guess about, 11 or 12, screaming that they’re gonna kill them. And when the police, it wasn’t the police it was the army, they went in that house and you know fought them like that. They shot through the ceiling, and I heard a shot that day. [inaudible] It was just awesome. It was just something to see. I was so scared. And they were just shooting people’s houses. They put the lights up in the daytime and they shooting around at night. You couldn’t have no light in your house. They tell you put your lights out and they call us names and stuff. So my dad, he said, “Put blankets up to the window.” And he took the smallest bulb he could find, put it in the hallway where we could just see a little bit. And that’s the way we lived. It was awful. But, like I said, the police were, I think, but they were so hateful. We had the big four, they was just, it was awful. There’d be four men it a car, big guy. And it gave them the range to just kill. All they didn’t kill they put in a jail. You couldn’t even sit on your porch. They came they find you sitting on your porch they come by “Get off the porch.” And if you don’t get off your porch they come back around and beat you up. That’s why they got their moniker “Big Four”, because they were just too dirty. It was just, it was just too much to remember. I remember more and more. I really tried to even forget that. I was one of the, I think one reason I wasn’t too afraid was because I belonged to NAACP. And I know that was a lot of help for us. It kept us, we tried not to get into any trouble, but they would get you out. I was with the march. That was before the, that was before, I forgot the thing about that. I marched in 1963, I knew Viola Liuzzo, that white lady that was killed. So I knew her. I got a chance to meet her. You know, the thing about her, she had five childrens, but she sacrificed. She knew she might not might it back, but she went anyway to that march. She was gonna do that and she wasn’t gonna do another one. She didn’t. And that got me down because I asked, “Why you gotta go?” She said “I gotta go. This is my project.” You know I think about her a lot sometimes. Anything go wrong, especially, and I think about her. She gave her life for something she believed in so strongly. So I just say this, in the process of all the shit that went on, all the white people that were bad, you had some good ones and some bad ones. Just like every race, you’ve got good and bad. I don’t care some people say it’s not, but it’s true. Because if we had not had people like her, we wouldn’t have got this far. You believe that? A lot of people say, “Oh you don’t know.” I know what I’m talking about. Because I’ve been on this road a long time. 78 years I’ve seen a lot and heard a lot. And Ive watched a lot. But the riot took me out. I lost a lot, I couldn’t get to my job. Because no buses. Just hate. It was a streak of hate that went through the United States and I guess just had to come through here. Just like we going through a hate stream now. It’s gonna pass, I don’t know when but it’s gonna pass. How it’s gonna go down it don’t know, but it’s coming and its coming too fast. Because, see, we got so many peoples that educated now, that wasn’t educated, you know highly educated, back in my time. Because when I come along, if your parents didn’t have money you didn’t get the chance to go for more school. You had to suffer to get through. That’s why when I got grown I went back to school. I wanted to get my education and I did. But now you’ve got all these educated people, they’re not going to take no. And we didn’t have that. But they’re gonna fight like the ones when I come from. They’re not gonna do that. I don’t think they’re gonna burn, I don’t think they’ll do none of that. I think they know that is really stupid. Because when that riot was, it took that neighborhood out. And that neighborhood never come back. So basically the riot didn’t do nothing but hurt the little man. It didn’t hurt the bigger man. All the stores that went down on 12th Street, that hurt us. Lot of people had jobs there, they had no more jobs. WW: Did you think about leaving the neighborhood? WB: Well if you going, you had nothing to leave home. Basically, you had nothing. And then after you stay so long, it’s just home. And all everybody wanted to was get their house paid for. And that’s home. So I guess that’s just what it was. Just stayed. I don’t know why I stayed. Some left. But they didn’t do much better, they just went like a couple miles over. Now the one’s that was burned out, they moved out. Some moved on that, one time you couldn’t move to Southfield, that was a no no. Where they would go would be 8 Mile. I don’t know, I really don’t know. WW: Well back tracking just a little bit, you marched in 1963? WB: Yes, yes I did. WW: Can you tell me about that? WB: Oh it was so pretty. I hadn’t marched before. It was beautiful, I loved the march because I could see we was going some place. It was a beautiful march. We didn’t have nothing one instant. Nothing. And the prettiest thing I see was a catholic church. This priest he came down Jefferson, I come down from Vernier because we left church that Sunday. We had everybody at church preaching on the same thing that Sunday: freedom. I sang in choir and we all left that church and went to Vernier and over to march. I had no knowledge before like that so [laughs] I had on heels, I had to put shoes on so I had to go back [laughs]. It was so funny because I didn’t know enough [laughs]. Anyway, we got down to Cobo and before we went in they stopped us. Martin Luther King that group had already gone so they stopped our group. They said, “We’re going to let the priest come through.” So, you know, we’ve always given the priests and them the highest respect. That was just a thing we always do. I always though that was really, Catholics were all high class; I guess you call it [laughs]. We just honor the priests, that’s what we were taught in church. So I don’t know his name, but he walked down the street, he had his group of kids, it was over 100 I know, and he had every nationality mixed together. And there was little kids like this height, tallest one about like that. And he brought those kids, it brought tears to everybody’s eyes. You could hear a pin drop. And he stopped and said something like a rosary, but it wasn’t a rosary, it was a little prayer. And then they let him come on through. And that was the prettiest thing I’d seen. And it brought everybody just together like that. And we just knew, we just knew that we was gonna be alright. And then this riot just ha. That just did it. But I think that from that march in Selma, that was the start of it. And we had to bus because wasn’t nobody going back to where we was, we was going forward. That’s what the pin was, move forward. We didn’t care how we got there, we was gonna go. And so that’s what, I think, that’s what caused the riots. Because there was riots everywhere. Because I was in Chicago when that was burning. We had gone over there for a family reunion. And they said “You all got to leave, you’ve got to leave now. They fighting down Stoney.” Stoney, stoney something. You know what Stoney is? Stoney something down in Chicago. Where the loop is down there? WW: Oh, okay. WB: I’m talking about that. So in town we got on 94, whatever street we had to get on. Time we crossed over [inaudible] out of the closed off Chicago. Wasn’t another car coming out. There was two cars behind us and that was it. Also no one had nothing to do. There was danger everywhere. We didn’t even look on TV, we were too scared. WW: You referred to what happen as a riot a few times, is that how you see it? Because there are some folks who refer to it as a rebellion or an uprising. WB: It was an uprising, it was. It was a rebellion. People were tired of being pushed around. And we was tired of being separated. They was dividing us. All the light skinned people could see, we knew, everybody know that our race is mixed. We have some people, I have cousins who is half white. Jews and everything. They think they been royal. They really do. You know, because they could get farther than me because I was dark skinned. You’d be surprised how the blacks themselves divide their own selves. And that’s what was happening, they was dividing us and we had to stop it, they say. Couldn’t have it no more. Which didn’t bother me because I’m dark, but sometime I would get attitude because they thought they was so much better. And I think that spilled over, I really do. It just become a hate thing. And they really didn’t know what they was hating for. It was a hate thing, but they don’t even know what caused the hate. Where it started, I don’t know. But that’s what it was. It had been building up a long time. It didn’t just now start. It started from the south and just worked its way on up. But that’s where it started. If you could get some of those people to tell you about the pain they went through in the south, whew. And there’s a lot. That’s where it started. They just wasn’t gonna take it no more. That’s about it. WW: So you talked about destruction along 12th Street, how did your life change? Where did you have to go to get your shopping and your kitchen supplies? WB: Oh we had to find a place to go shopping. I started going back downtown to Hudson’s. We used to stay out of Hudson’s. Hudson’s was the biggest store downtown, everybody wanted to go to Hudson’s. But Hudson’s, they treat us nice. Then they started hiring more blacks and then they started hiring peoples of my color. So now we get the feeling that we was getting accepted. You know, we didn’t just have to go clean up people’s houses or work in a restaurant, you could do other things. And that got to be exciting for us too. So we had to find places and that caused some problems because average person didn’t have a car. Now you have to catch a bus, cab maybe. Cabs got a good amount of money, jigglers they called them. They make money because you gotta get, anywhere you gotta go, anything we had to have, we couldn’t get nothing off 12th Street no more. That’s why I say 12th Street hurt the little man. I used to walk up two blocks to the market, shop and get the basket, put it in my grocery bag. This way I had to go way over on Woodward, way over on Linwood to get some food. Then they had one store they opened on the Boulevard, but it was a while before they opened up a lot of stores. You stand in line, it was so long. And if it was cold, lord have mercy [laughs]. I had been so cold my feet were freezing trying to wait on the bus. It was rough. But me, I was an aggressive type person. I says, “Out there I’m gonna get it. I’m gonna make a better life for myself.” I was determined, I was gonna do that. So I did a library for the St. Louis Catholic Church, for the school on 14th and, it was a high school, what was the name of that street, 14th and Warren, I think. So I learned to do that, and then I just started inching up. Just better jobs, better jobs until I got to the bank. And all that I was able to do after the riot. Because once the riot was over, everything settled back down and that’s when the jobs started opening up. It still was hard on people like me, I didn’t have a car. I couldn’t afford a car either way. And so my life didn’t get together until I was about 33, that’s when I got a good job. I had me a job and nobody could tell me nothing, I bought a Chrysler. [laughs] I had it made. I don’t know what year that was. It took us a while after the riot to be able to get back into the swing of life. As far as our neighborhood, that was the hardest hit. Where I lived that was the, I think they call it the 200 mile radius? I think they said, something like that. WW: 200 block. WB: 200 block, yeah, 200 block radius I’m sorry I got it wrong. Anyway, 200 block radius, that was the hardest hit. So they never did come back. They didn’t get no more stores. They tried to, but it just wasn’t the same. They didn’t have the money and all the rich people were gone and that was it. WW: How do you feel about the neighborhood during like the 80s and 90s? WB: Well, it was coming back, but they brought the drugs in and that was it. There was nothing else, nothing happening then because they had brought in the [inaudible] we didn’t know what that was. It was just too much. Them drugs, they just, oh lord. Even kids that I knew, kids I had put diapers on, they grew up to be killers. They just went crazy. And you couldn’t say nothing to them. They lost all respect. So I knew then it would never come back when the drug lords got in there. Drug lords, whatever they call themselves. There got to be gangs, you know. And to see my neighborhood now, it don’t even look like it ever existed. And it was the prettiest place I’d ever seen in 1957. I said, “Oh God, this is glorious, beautiful.” No more. You count the houses on one, two hands. It’s sad. WW: When did you move out of your neighborhood? WB: Nine years ago. I didn’t want to leave, but there was a drug house of this side, drug house on that side, drug house over there, over there, over there. I said, ooh ain’t no way drugs is coming out of here. Because they was shooting in the daytimes. It was like the riot. It’s not the riot, but it’s like the riot. But they was doing riots, and what the riot was this thing here, this drug thing, it –

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Citation

“Wyleana Bivins,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed October 19, 2020, https://detroit1967.detroithistorical.org/items/show/709.

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