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Ashes to Hope: Overcoming the Detroit Riots

In the summer of 1967 chaos broke out in the streets of Detroit. After five days of violence 43 were dead, thousands were injured and over 4000 people had been arrested.

This summer – forty years later – Michigan Radio takes an in-depth look at the deadliest riot of the 1960's. Why did the riots begin? What fueled them? And, have we ever really recovered?

Our documentary, "Ashes to Hope: Overcoming the Detroit Riots" explores how the riots affected people, neighborhoods and even music. It explores questions such as: Whether it was truly a riot? Or, a rebellion? Is the "white-flight" that we see today in Detroit a consequence of the riots? Did the riots cripple the relationship between the state of Michigan and Detroit?

We also hear from Michigan Radio reporters as well as first-hand accounts of what it was like to be in Detroit during the riot.

The documentary Ashes to Hope Overcoming the Detroit Riots was produced by Tamar Charney. Vincent Duffy and Lester Graham edited the program. Christina Shockley narrated the documentary. Reporting by Steve Carmody, Vincent Duffy, Jennifer Guerra, Sarah Hulett, and Tracy Samilton. Dustin Dwyer produced the historical montage. Richie Duchon, Jennifer Guerra, and Maria Howes produced the first person memories. Essays by Jack Lessenberry and Grace Boggs. Production assistance from Zoe Clark, Katherine Gorman, and Brendan Lemon. 

Historic July 1967 photos from the Walter P. Reuther Library Wayne State University, photo of the MC5 by Leni Sinclair, modern Detroit photos by Sarah Hulett.

Archive audio for the series courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library Wayne State University, WXYZ-TV Detroit, and Phillip Nye.