Detroit’s 1967 Riot Militantly and Impatiently Surpassed Detroit’s 1943 Riot

detriots67-13_17aWhy was the riot of 1967 so much more volatile than 1943? Why did the Arab Spring occur in the countries that it did? There are countries that are just as poor as those that rose up. Why did these countries not rise up as well. The answer may lie on both sides of the eruption point.

On the one hand, there are countries such as China in which the average worker outside the special economic zones is as poor as those that participated in the Arab Spring. Yet in China, progress is being made and hope for a better tomorrow is real. On the other hand there are other countries as poor as Arab Spring participants such as Haiti in which no uprising occurred in which no hope and no way out of their dilemma is seen for the entire country and therefore the people frustratingly accept their fate.

Yet for the countries that participated in the Arab Spring, their young people understood their economies to have gotten worse after the implosion of 2008. They saw the inequities in their economies and the unfair and unequal treatment of their governments and recognized they must fight for change. It is the difference in knowledge of what could be and what is that caused the uprising.

Prior to Blacks making their migration North, they were stuck in a centuries old oppressive plantation system and had resigned to their fate of a terror filled life. Upon initially arriving in Cities of the North, while prejudice was high, freedoms were greater. As the years went by, some greater latitude was won, especially in the work place through the unions. Where initial jobs available in the cities were personal service jobs in small businesses. union jobs opened up paying more. Blacks slowly progressed from where very few had more skilled jobs to the point where WWII shortages meant that as many as half of Blacks had more skilled jobs, in line with white percentages.

They now had more income to spend and hope of a better life. Yet unlike those in China who can see the future changing before them, Blacks in Detroit at the end of WWII, saw just the opposite.Very little progress was being made. Their neighborhoods were being destroyed by the highway. Their community was being harassed by Detroit’s police. Their opportunity to spend their hard earned dollars on decent housing was being denied. Their request for access to good schools and hospitals went unanswered. They fit the pattern of the Arab Spring. They saw the promise of a better life but they could not see a path to get to it that wasn’t blocked at every turn by the institutions and white citizens of their community.

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Filed under Class warfare, Racism, social trajectory

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