The Algiers Motel Incident – John Hersey (1968)

“The Algiers Motel incident occurred in Detroit, Michigan, United States, throughout the night of July 25–26, 1967 during the racially charged 12th Street Riot. At the Algiers Motel, approximately one mile east of where the riot began, three civilians were killed and nine others abused by a riot task force composed of the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police, and the Michigan Army National Guard. Among the casualties were three black teenage boys killed, and two white women and seven black men wounded as a result. The task force was searching the area after reports were received that a gunman or group of gunmen, possibly snipers, had been seen at or near the motel. One death has never been explained as the body was allegedly found by responding officers. Two deaths have been attributed to ‘justifiable homicide’ or ‘self-defense’. Charges of felonious assault, conspiracy, murder, and conspiracy to commit civil rights abuse were filed against three officers. Charges of assault and conspiracy were also filed on a private security guard. All were found not guilty. … The Algiers Motel at 8301 Woodward Avenue near the Virginia Park district was a black-owned business, owned by Sam Gant and McUrant Pye. It was one of three motels in Detroit owned by Gant and Pye, the others being the Alamo, at Alfred and Woodward, and the Rio Grande, on West Grand near Grand River. Prior to Gant and Pye’s purchase in 1965, the motel’s white owner had barred black people from staying at the motel. The Algiers was considered by the police to be a center of illegal drugs and prostitution and was raided regularly by the vice squad. After the riot started, the Dramatics singing group left a concert on Saturday, July 22 and they all checked in at the Algiers. Three of the members—Ron Banks, Larry Demps and Michael Calhoun—left before the 25th, leaving Roderick Davis, Larry Reed and the band’s valet Fred Temple at the motel. On the evening of July 25, the Motel Annex was occupied by several people who had taken refuge from the rioting. … In 1968, author John Hersey wrote a book about the incident. Hersey interviewed survivors, members of the victims’ families, and some of the law enforcement personnel who participated in the raid, and also consulted forensic reports, in identifying the law enforcement personnel involved in the killings. …”
LA Review – Against Active Forgetting: On John Hersey’s “The Algiers Motel Incident”
The Crimson – The Algiers Motel By Charles M. Hagen (July 12, 1968)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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