Black History Month 2022

detroit

1943 Detroit Race Riot



Detroit, Michigan - Fights between white and black youths exploded into a multi-day riot, that lasted 2 days.

Motown Records Founded



Detroit, Michigan - Tamla Records was founded on this day. It was renamed Motown, on April 14th, 1960. Berry Gordy Jr. founded and made Motown into a hit-making machine. In fact, the home of Motown is named Hitsville, U. S. A.

Motown Records became one of the most iconic record labels in American history. Motown produced hits from Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and many more.

1967 Detroit Riot



Detroit, Michigan - 43 people died in the worst civil unrest of 1967. The Detroit police killed 14. Michigan National Guardsman killed nine (9).

Sunday, July 23rd, 3:45 a.m., Detroit Police workers raided an after-hours club (or blind pig). The raid was at 9125 12th Street, in the office of the the United Community League for Civic Action. It was above the Economy Printing Company.

Inside, 82 people celebrated the return of two (2) from the Vietnam War. The police expected a few people inside, before the raid.

Once the police left, scavenging began. Later, the police returned. At 7 a.m., some were arrested. The crowds grew. It was mixed, black and white.

By mid-afternoon, the fires started. The unrest spread across the city. Mayor Jerome Cavanagh said it was 'critical' but not 'out of control.'

At 7:45 p.m., Cavanagh began a curfew. Alcohol and firearms sales were stopped. 80% of the arrests were black people.

July 24th, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent the Army, to Detroit. Johnson used the Insurrection Act of 1807. The Act was meant for enslaved black people.

July 25th, 8,000 Michigan National Guardsmen entered Detroit. They were almost all white. 4,700 paratroopers joined them. They came from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

July 26th, the Guardsmen killed nine (9) people. None were killed by the Army.

July 27th, ammunition was taken from the Guardsmen. The unrest declined. By July 28th, the chaos ended.

Kerner Commission Formed



Washington, D. C. - The Kerner Commission was formed. President Lyndon Baines Johnson issued Executive Order 11365. Johnson wanted to know what made black people riot and how to prevent it.

The commission was created during the Detroit uprising. Johnson chose 11 whites and two (2) black people. Three (3) questions were to be answered.

'What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again and again?'

On February 29, 1968, the Kerner Report was completed. The Report stated, 'Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.'

Kerner Report Published



Washington, D. C. - The President’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders wrote the Kerner Report.

On July 28, 1967, the Detroit uprising caused President Lyndon Baines Johnson to form the commission. It was led by Governor Otto Kerner, of Ohio. The report took his name.

The report gave a cause for the black uprisings in the country. There were more than 150 riots or major disorders between 1965 and 1968. 83 people killed and 1,800 injured, and most were black. $100 million in property was damaged or destroyed.

The 426-page report named “white racism” for the violence, not a conspiracy by black political groups.

What's Going On? Album Released



Detroit, Michigan - Marvin Gaye's What's Going On? album was released. It was one of the most important and timeless recording albums of the Vietnam War era.

Motown founder, Berry Gordy feared the lyrics were too honest. Gaye said the album was a hit. Gordy released the full album on Motown's sub-label, Tamla.

1.'What's Going On' 3:53 (Marvin Gaye, Al Cleveland, Renaldo 'Obie' Benson)
2. 'What's Happening Brother' 2:43 (Gaye, James Nyx Jr.)
3. 'Flyin' High (In the Friendly Sky)' 3:49 (Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover)
4. 'Save the Children' 4:03 (Gaye, Cleveland Benson)
5. 'God Is Love' 1:41 (Gaye, A. Gaye, Stover Nyx)
6. 'Mercy Mercy Me' (The Ecology) 3:16 (Gaye)

Side two
1. 'Right On' 7:31 (Gaye, Earl DeRouen)
2. 'Wholy Holy' 3:08 (Gaye, Benson Cleveland)
3. 'Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)' 5:26 (Gaye, Nyx)

The single, What's Going On?, was released January 20, 1971.

WGPR Goes On-Air



Detroit, Michigan - The first wholly-owned and operated black American television (TV) station began its first broadcast. This was a first in the United States. It was founded by William V. Banks. The station had no network affiliation so the station created its own programs.

Banks was an attorney. He founded The International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. and Order of Eastern Stars. The Masons sold WGPR 20 years later.

On September 20th, 1995, the deal was finalized. It left black Americans with no control of any TV station in Detroit. No black television has broadcast since, in Detroit.

Source:

International Free and Accepted Modern Masons

Aiyana Jones Killed By Police



Detroit, Michigan - On Sunday, in a midnight police raid, Joseph Weekley killed Aiyana Jones. It was part of a reality television show.

Detroit Special Response Team (SRT, aka SWAT) workers burst into the home of 7-year old Aiyana (pictured left). She slept next to her grandmother, Mertilla Jones.

Unknown to them, Detroit police prepared to raid the home. It was filmed for the reality television show on AMC, called First 48.

At 12:40 a.m., the police assault team threw a flash bang grenade. It went through the front window of the home, where Aiyana slept.

The grenade caused Aiyana's clothing to catch fire. As Mertilla tried to put out the fire, Weekley entered the home. He was armed with an MP5 machine gun and a ballistic shield..

Inside the home, Weekley shot and killed Aiyana. Weekley claimed Mertilla grabbed his gun. No fingerprints from Mertilla were found on Weekley's MP5 gun.

Weekley was not fired. Kym Worthy, the Wayne County Prosecutor, cleared Weekley of any charges for Aiyana's murder.

A protest was held in 2016, for Aiyana's murder. Weekley had been selected to co-chair the Detroit Police Department's Committee on Race and Equality.

Menu