Angelo Sherman


Angelo Sherman


A painting and explanation from Angelo Sherman who was a child in 1967.


Detroit Historical Society




Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI






Written Story


What inspired me to paint this particular painting? One day in 2013, in a discussion with several Detroit artists, I brought up the question: Has anyone painted the 1967 riots? I remembered that time well. The images came back. I was eleven years old.
I was going to the supermarket with my mother on that hot day. The supermarket was Bi-Lows and we were going there to purchase milk for my baby brother. The trip that day was different from all other days. On that day, we had to be careful walking, as on the earth was millions of pieces of shards of glass. White soldiers gripped fearsome-looking M-14 carbine rifles. Then I caught sight of a black face. The man was wearing army-green and he also gripped a rifle. At the sight of the black man, I felt relief. He was one of us. Everything would be okay. As he stood there guarding what was left of a burned-out pet store, I looked at him with admiration. He was a hero.
But the sight of the pet store troubled me. When my family moved into the neighborhood, the second black family on the block, that pet store was alive with puppies that we children loved to play with; a tap on the window, and the little spider monkey acknowledged you with delight. Kids of various races stopped in that pet shop or bought and discussed comic books or candy elsewhere. Now, I could not believe what was there. Busted widows, angry mobs and an atmosphere of fear and hatred. I heard and saw new words: Burn, Baby, Burn, Black Power, Die Pigs, and Soul Brother, which was spray-painted on store front windows—a codeword supposedly letting rioters know that a store was black owned. That eleven year old boy that I was learned the word “sniper” and what a sniper does. I heard “loot,” and “looter.”
At night, mom watered the roof of our house down in a preventive measure in case the flames of the riot reached our neighborhood.
Those images and others were in my head, and with paint I captured that chaotic time in both my past and Detroit history. Maybe not a race riot as some have referred to it, but a time of angry rebellion at the status quo. A Revolution.
Angelo- David Sherman

Original Format


Submitter's Name

Angelo Sherman

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Angelo Sherman.jpg


“Angelo Sherman,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed February 24, 2024,

Output Formats