Unveiling of historical marker at 12th and Clairmount brings back memories

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) - The hot temperatures didn't deter people from heading to Gordon Park, at 12th and Clairmount where the riots started fifty years ago today. 

The city officially unveiled a historical marker, so people will never forget what happened there. 

Ron Johnson was five years old back then. 

"You could see the smoke and people running down the street with stuff in their hands," he said. 

"We lived on Taylor just down the street. We used to watch the army men on tanks..in front of my house. They would tap on the window and tell me to close the window," Johnson said. 

His daughter, Nicole, relies on stories, but she said she felt much closer to those times here tonight. 

"It means a lot. It's history right here in our own city," Nicole Johnson said. 

People from the younger generation say they share the same sentiment. 

"It means a lot to me to come up here and cherish the moment," Martinus Franklin said. 

The riots began on this day 50 years ago. 43 were killed, and more than 1,000 were injured. It caused more than $300,000,000 worth of damage. 

It all started with a raid on a blind pig. 

Today, Gordon Park is getting a fresh start.

The park has been renovated by the city and it is now a neighborhood gathering place. People of all ages and backgrounds showed up to remember this historic day and to talk about their hopes for the future. 

 

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