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The Story

This project is a fictionalized retelling of the Detroit 1967 riots using Twitter accounts to give a personalized view of the events. With recent events around the country, it is important to look to the past to keep from repeating mistakes. Below are the historical events that shaped this retelling.

The riots occurred from Sunday, July 23, 1967, until Friday, July 28, 1967.

The 1967 12th Street Riots were a product of many social, economic and racial factors that were plaguing the country at this time (time). Over the course of the riots, 43 individuals lost their lives due to police and rioter violence, as well as the fires. 7,231 people were arrested, including 703 arrests of youth less than 18 years old. Over 1,000 businesses were destroyed or damaged with $50 million in estimated damage cost. The wounds of this event have never fully healed.

"Whatever damage you inflict to your own city, it is likely to remain permanent."

- Detroit's 1997 Mayor, Dennis W. Archer.

The Team

The Detroit 1967 project was developed by a team of Interactive Media students for COM562 Multimedia Storytelling at Elon University.

The team has three members:

Lauren Bourne
Historian and Social Justice Researcher

Kate Robertson
Social Media Manager and Content Developer

Jenny Thompson
Storyteller, Content Developer, and Web Developer

Special thanks to Megan McGowan and Tyler Ballentine for working with us on concept development.

Sam is a young man who sees the racism and injustice in Detroit and dreams of a better world.

Follow Sam on Twitter.

Tanya is Sam's little sister. She is fourteen years old and idolizes her big brother.

Follow Tanya on Twitter.

Albert is a teenager. He sees the injustice and racisim in the world, but he is still more interested in partying than social change.

Follow Albert on Twitter

Shauntel and her father are black small-business owners with a shop located on 12th street.

Follow Shauntel on Twitter.

Mayor Cavanagh is the only nonfiction character. Some of his tweets are quotes from statements he made about the riots.

Follow the mayor on Twitter.

Mary Jones is a housewife. Some of her tweets are actually quotes from editorials to The Detroit News.

Follow Mary on Twitter.


Unfortunately, many of the underlying issues that caused the Detroit 1967 riots are still with us today. If you, like Sam, are interesting in effecting a positive social change, these organizations might be a good place to start:


If you are interested in learning more about the Detroit riots in 1967, these are some of the resources we used: