Anne Elizabeth Moore at The Baffler:
SOME HOLLYWOOD TYPES are offering a bus tour of the city I live in and I leap at the opportunity. My presence, however, seems to raise questions about whether a writer for the national press can possibly live in Detroit. This does not bode well for the excursion, which is teeming with entertainment reporters from New York and LA, who speculate on what can be seen out the windows based on two sources of information: the ruin porn that’s dominated media since a famed 2009 Time cover story proclaimed the city a “tragedy,” and Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film, which distills five famously violent days from the city’s 316-year history into a story about one very—very—bad night.
Fifty years and two days prior, Detroit police had raided an unlicensed club—a “blind pig”—one hot summer night, making mass arrests. Bystanders grew agitated, then outraged. The display of force had hit a nerve. The officers were members of the city’s 95 percent white police force and the arrestees primarily black. The agitation in the streets spread, despite police pressure, and Michigan Governor George Romney called in the National Guard—only increasing hostilities.