Anita Gibbs


Anita Gibbs


Anita Gibbs was a child in 1967 and remembers the atmosphere and confusion of the city while the police searched her house.


Detroit Historical Society




Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI






Written Story


Detroit 1967
July, 1967....It was a really hot day. The men that lined our streets facing in opposite directions were called national guards, and their weapons, bayonets. Who had ever heard of this kind of police? Their eyes watched for snipers that they claimed were on our rooftops, giving them an excuse to force us inside to our cold, wood floors for cover, while they (then) shot at violators, like animals.
In the mornings, having heard the echoing of gunshots on and off all night, even the dew still had gun-smoke in its mist...the smell of dying flesh wreaked in concert with, and amongst the smell of gunfire.
Gun shells riddled the streets and shop owners would attempt to rinse the blood from the sidewalk and doorway where someone's child may have been ducking and trying to get home before curfew...

A cherry bomb lit up the pawn shop on the corner of 12th and Taylor. We could feel the heat from it, all the way past the diner by the alley and the other businesses that lined their way up to the corner, that was, 12 Street. Where MLK and an (orange colored), RFK had ridden by on flatbeds in protest, before I ever knew what a 'movement' was...

The summer of 1967, It was truly a ball, of confusion...

"SOUL BROTHER", written in soap to detour looters, just taking advantage, so as to brag of their 'take' the next day....
Doorbell rings. "Are your parents home?", a voice comes from the front door that is down the steps from the upper flat. The eldest child speaks, (hollers down the steps) and tells them no. The youngest child, buzzes them in. It's the police. They 'briefly' search while asking questions. The youngest child begins to speak, but is quickly hushed by the middle child. The police leave.

Leaving your home in the middle of the evening with the rage and mayhem of buildings on fire around you--- imagine that at seven. Leave and come back when told to do so. That's what we had to do LEAVE. No warning, no waiting.
Fifty years later, the Riot almost feels as if it has returned. Men are being shot down in the street, like animals, just as they were in 1967.

Original Format


Submitter's Name

Anita Gibbs

Submission Date





“Anita Gibbs,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed April 12, 2024,

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