This is my story: Detroit 1967 is in the infancy of development. So, what is it again? It is a multimedia archive and repository that serves to catalog and historicize this canonical and significant time in the 20th century with oral histories from eyewitnesses and participants of the rebellion. This endeavor is a continuation of a project of promise and curiosity that started in summer 2009 when interning at the ABC affiliate in Detroit WXYZ ABC 7. Much of what has been written and indexed into the historical report is ahistorical, asociocultural and asocioeconomic and missing the qualitative and critical ethnographic approach.
As a media professional and oral historian, I’ve arranged a couple of interviews and reached out to a few universities libraries (University of Michigan, Rutgers University and Wayne State University) for research assistance, as they have materials that would support my research and educational target of free and accessible information. Also, I’m reading several texts on urban rebellion, Detroit and racial segregation to compliment all of the newspapers stories I’ve read in The Michigan Chronicle, The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.
Forging the technical aspects of this project, to build the website, I’m using Omeka, it is a content management system developed by George Mason University for the humanities. I’ve used it in my master’s program, so I’m quite familiar with the program and its setup. Without being excessively techie, to make the material available, the oral history metadata synchronizer is a plug-in that will make my video and transcripts a great body of scholarship working as one.
The research will transform the digital space with phenomenal stories from willing interviewees and from there begin to change the narrative of the four days of chaos, the city and nearly fifty years to follow to one of unrelenting perseverance. Following the uprising Detroit became an urban scientific experiment being poked, prodded, exploited and devastated. In Fall 2009, Time ran a special report announcing their year-long assignment focused on Detroit, examining what went wrong with the motor city. Their report would confirm my scientific experiment theory but expose other massive infrastructure issues that to some extent seemed orchestrated e.g. deindustrialization of the city, massive white and Black flight and job outsourcing.
This is my story: Detroit 1967 will get people to speak their truth of events in time for the 50th anniversary and add to what happened to this once thriving mecca.
If you would like to contribute to this project or know someone who would be of great value, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org