50 Years Ago Today: The Detroit Riot and the Decline of Civil Rights Liberalism

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Fifty years ago today (July 23, 1967), the largest urban riot of the 1960s rocked Detroit for five days (July 23-28). An encounter with the police (shutting down an illegal after-hours bar), sparked looting and arson on a scale far surpassing the riots that had burned in other American cities. While such riots often started with incidents involving law enforcement, the police were ordered–again and again–to stand down and let a small minority of African Americans loot property of small business owners and others (both black and white).
The Detroit Riot marked a turning

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