Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fifty Years Ago Today

I've been reading about today and hearing about it for weeks now.  There are stories in the newspapers, specials on TV, a docu-drama opening on Tuesday, radio reports....  It's too much.

Fifty years ago today I woke up on Sunday morning and was informed by my Dad that they were rioting in Detroit.  But when I turned on the TV and radio.. nothing.  He said he heard it on the radio when he awoke very early that morning.  By the time I awoke there was a news blackout.  It would remain that way until late afternoon.

I was twenty years old and a senior in college.  On July 1, I started my laboratory internship at Detroit General Hospital, now Detroit Receiving.  The old hospital was located in downtown Detroit across the street from Police Headquarters.

I called a friend of mine who lived in the city and was also an intern.  She knew nothing of what was going on but was going to call her boyfriend who lived in a fraternity house on the Wayne State campus.  When she called me back, she confirmed what my father had said that morning.  Later that evening I would watch National Guard troops travel down 8 Mile Road (we lived in the first house on a block in the suburbs  just over the city line) after being called in by the Governor.

When Monday rolled around I found myself at home.  The hospital was arranging for police to pick up hospital workers but only if they lived within city limits.  At the time there was a residency requirement for city employees, but laboratory workers and nurses were exempt.  Bus transportation was erratic and some lines did not even run.  I am not sure if all transportation was eventually shut down, but for a time all gas stations were ordered to close.  And I really do not recall when we were required to report that week.  It was a long time ago.

I worked in the city for the next ten years.  I was never scared to be there.  I would cringe when I heard someone brag that they never crossed 8 Mile.  What?  No Tiger ball games, no Art Institute, no plays at the theaters, no concerts, etc ?????

My Sunday paper is still sitting in the kitchen with today's section on 'the disturbance' still unread.  I can only read so much at a time.  There is much to read online if you are not familiar with what happened.  I leave you to search on your own.  For me, I need to take a break.

7 comments:

  1. I was six and paid very little attention to anything on the news. I am therefore only vaguely familiar with these events.
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  2. Detroit was so much different back in those days. I saw something on TV recently .. maybe it was CBS Sunday Morning? ... that said Detroit was once the Paris of the United States. I know this has nothing to do with what you posted except that it is hard to imagine how things went downhill. I didn't even know what 8 Mile Road was until Eminem.

    I enjoy your posts! Always something new for me to learn.

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    1. Eminem lived about one mile west of me, also north of 8 Mile. One day I should watch the movie. My neighbor was less than pleased when her daughter was dating him several years ago. Yes, Detroit used to be quite lovely.

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  3. I know absolutely nothing about this of course, lived in the UK and don't remember hearing anything about it. Sorry you still have bad memories about it.

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    1. The memories are not necessarily bad, it's just that since late last year it seems to be constantly in the news.

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  4. Like Susan, I only heard of 8 mile through Eminem. (In fact, you have me listening to One Shot right now). I have never been to Detroit. I was through Flint back in 1979. Yes, I remember the riots. I was in high school I grew up in New York City, in a neighborhood which was starting to change rapidly, and not for the better. I should blog about it more. I wasn't able to escape until 1974. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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  5. It's hard to go back to these large-scale traumatic events that we were witness to. I feel the same way about 9/11. I was in DC on a business trip and could see the Pentagon burning from where we were staying.

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