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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Another Dispatch From Detroit, 'Merka's First Throwaway City

Once upon a time Detroit was called "The Arsenal of Democracy." However, the consequences of 60 years of White Flight -- systemic racism, to be blunt -- finally came home to roost in Detroit, my hometown. On July 18, 2013, at approximately 4:06 PM EDT, Detroit's unelected, possibly illegal, Emergency Manager Kevin Orr filed for bankruptcy. 

It's conventional wisdom -- conventional, but completely wrong -- that Detroit's White Flight began after the 1967 riot. White Flight had already been going on for almost 20 years at that point. The '67 riot only accelerated the exodus.

Detroit: The Arsenal of Democracy
Detroit's race problems go right back to the earliest days of the city. In my earlier [very long] essay The Detroit Riots I report on the little known 1943 riot and the far lesser known 1863 riot. Understanding these earlier riots is the key to understanding Detroit's current demographics. Both of these earlier riots not only set the table for the 1967 riot, but also set the table for the Detroit's systemic racism, which manifested itself in the White Flight that eventually killed the Motor City.