July 23, 1967
Racial tensions erupted in Detroit when police raided a party for two returning Vietnam veterans at an unlicensed club. As trouble spread, city and state police were overwhelmed, and by the second day, nearly 500 fires and hundreds of separate incidents resulted in 1,800 arrests. President Johnson sent in Federal troops on the third day, and the 82nd Airborne stood ready to deploy paratroopers. Machine guns and tanks were used to regain control of several areas of the city.
Before subsiding on July 26, the riots had inspired similar incidents in Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids in Michigan and in Toledo, Ohio. In all: 43 people—33 of them African Americans—died; 467 people were injured; 7,231 people, ranging in age from four to 82—were arrested; 2,509 stores were burned or looted; 412 buildings were damaged irreparably; 388 families were homeless and damage estimates were between $40 and $80 million.