Sunday, July 22, 2007

1967 Detroit Riot

I lived it with an army-issued weapon that fired bullets pressed against my skull. Should I forget it? No way. Should you? Definitely not!

As long as I live I will never, ever forget what it felt like to be assumed to be dangerous to society. As long as I live I will never forget what it felt like at the age of 14 to wonder if it was my last day on earth. As long as I live “no way Hosea” will I ever forget shedding tears in fear. I sure don’t want you or any current or following generations to forget it either.

This year is not just an anniversary. It is a time to reflect on the past to avoid repeating it. We here in Detroit should not allow past poor discretions define the decisions we make today. Forty years is too long to finally address an issue. We should not be asking ourselves 40 years later what should we do? At this time we should have already done it.

If we don’t begin accepting that too much of the past is still with us, it might just come back and haunt us. Why do I say this? Because after 9/11, the problems of 1967 are still with us but shifted in a new direction. Instead of racial discord between Blacks and Whites, it is now between Arabics and everybody else. Look familiar to you? Separatism is still practiced here in the Detroit Metro area. Southern whites live in their suburbs. Practicing Muslims live in their neighborhoods. Blacks are still the majority of the City of Detroit. Affluent whites own the conclaves of the Bloomfields, Birmingham, Franklin, etc. Isn’t that type of separatism is what started the 60's mess in the first place?

Why are we questioning at this juncture if we should include it in history books? Why are we asking if we should even give it a grain of thought? Why are we asking if we should talk about it? Are we afraid to face the demons inside us? As far as I’m concerned, 40 years is much too long to wait to begin discussions on the subject but, “better late than never” as the old saying goes. So now is your chance to take part in the redesigning of a section of the United States, making it so desirable that many would want to flock here to be a part of a new birth. All you have to do is get the details by talking with those, like myself, who lived it. I would love to tell you my side.

You will have a chance to hear stories of those who experienced the riot of 1967 in Detroit by joining the book signing of the anthology Eyes on Fire: Witnesses to the Detroit Riot of 1967 on July 26, 2007 at the Wayne State University Adamany Undergraduate Library between 6-8 P.M.

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