Detroit historical tour of area where 1967 riot took place?
September 30, 2013 2:45 AM   Subscribe

Over the last decade, I've heard many rumours of informative guided tours, of groups and individuals, BY groups and individuals, of the area destroyed during the 1967 riots in Detroit. I have always wanted to go, and am now trying to plan something with a friend the weekend of October 12th. The only solid lead I had, an elderly history buff and longtime Detroit resident who had given tours to family friends in the past, is no longer giving tours, and google doesn't list any tours with this particular theme. I am very much hoping someone here can help!
posted by Acer_saccharum to Travel & Transportation around Detroit, MI (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Little direct help for you here, but you may have some luck inquiring on two places:

1. DetroitYes ( has a rather good discussion forum that's good for these sort of things.

2. Perhaps contacting Preservation Detroit (formerly Preservation Wayne), While a bit more architecture oriented than history oriented, I know in the past they've done special tours in that part of town.

I'll also inquire with my partner's family (they lived rather close to there until the mid 1970s), they may still know someone.

Note that the main areas of the riots, however, aren't terribly well preserved. What was, at the time, a fully populated neighborhood is now Linwood street (mostly boarded up stuff) and Rosa Parks (formerly 12th St, now a mix of boarded up stuff, vacant lots, and, between Grand and Clairmount, redevelopment). Much of the actual history is gone: for example, the vacant grass lot across the street from Gordon Park is where Economy Printing, the site of the blind pig raid that started the whole riot, was located. A little digging, and I could probably help you come up with at least GPS locations for where some of the other landmarks used to be.
posted by kaszeta at 6:49 AM on September 30, 2013

Slight correction: looking at my photos, I had it flipped around. Gordon Park is where Economy Printing was, approximately across the street from the one existing building there (which until the late 1990s was the location of YZ Perry's Photography Studio, pretty much the only business on 12th in that area to survive more than a few years past the riots)
posted by kaszeta at 7:32 AM on September 30, 2013

The Charles Wright African American museum has displays about the riots.
posted by brujita at 7:42 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: kaszeta and brujita, both of your responses are super helpful - thank you! It looks like Preservation Detroit runs some great walking tours during the summer - I will definitely be going next year. Next weekend I think we are going to go to the Wright museum and maybe do a cemetery walking tour, and possibly make it to the AGO (and eat a ton of Mexican food). Thank you so much. kaszeta, if your family does end up knowing anyone - that would be amazing, otherwise I will contact Preservation Detroit for next summer!
posted by Acer_saccharum at 8:49 AM on October 4, 2013

Having just read This Kindle Book, you might check it out.
posted by kaszeta at 6:09 PM on October 7, 2013

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