1943 : Race Riots Erupt in Detroit

June 20, 2024 all-day

Time Cover Featuring Detroit Race Riot of 1943

Race riots erupt in Detroit.

Detroit’s role as a major producer towards the war effort caused a dramatic increase in population. Rationing, however, created an acute shortage of housing for old and new residents alike. To alleviate the problem, wartime housing was constructed, but when it was decided that the housing would be desegregated, many whites became enraged. The increased racial tensions finally came to blows on Belle Island and continued throughout the city for the next thirty-six hours. Detroit police and Michigan state troopers were unable to control the riots themselves, so Detroit mayor Edward Jeffries, Jr. and Michigan governor Harry Kelly asked President Roosevelt for assistance. Federal troops in armored cars and tanks quickly squelched the uprisings, but when the rioting was done, thirty-four people were dead, including twenty-five African Americans, and more than 1800 people were arrested for looting and other incidents.

Source : Michigan Historical Calendar, Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.

Detroit Race Riots 1943, article from American Experience (PBS).

Detroit’s Race Riot 1943 – Detroit’s Great Rebellion

Images from the 1943 Detroit Race Riots, Google.

1943 Detroit Race Riot, Reuther Library, Wayne State University.

1943 Detroit Race Riot YouTube video by Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion.

1943 Detroit Race Riot YouTube video. Miss Jenoise Allen-Woods gives her account of an event many people are unaware of…The riot of 1943 that happened right here in Detroit. –Video by Lamont Campbell Photography-

Hatred on the Home Front : The Detroit Race Riots, June 1943, Life, July 5, 1943.

Michael Jackman, “The summer of ’43”, Detroit Metro Times, June 18, 2003. Race riot still reverberates, six decades later.

Michael Jackman, “Forgotten history: Detroit’s 1943 race riot broke out 75 years ago today“, Detroit Metro Times, June 20, 2018.

“The 1943 Detroit race riots”, Detroit News Blog, February 10, 1999.

For another article, see Sanjana Malviya, This Week in Michigan History, Detroit Free Press, June 15, 2008, B.4.

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