July 31, 2014
Detroit, 1967: Blacks had jobs, homes — and rioted anyhow
After the riots, the result was a generation of leadership under Mayor Coleman Young, who used racial grievance politics to maintain his power base, even as he was driving the city into the ground. (Today, Detroit’s unemployment rate is a whopping 23 percent.) Zev Chafets’ brilliant 1990 book Devil’s Night and its portrait of Young’s massive damage to the city reads as if it could be written yesterday. Dresden, Hiroshima and Berlin were all rebuilt in just a few years of their bombings. In contrast, Young mercifully left office in 1994, and yet time stands still in that particular war zone.