HOPE 68 and Community Response

Many community groups formed after the Unrest, giving the city’s citizens a greater voice to address the area’s complex problems. Focus: HOPE took on issues of poverty and racism to create practical solutions that benefited those most affected by the Civil Unrest. Their respect for all Detroiters and frank talk on racism in the city made them one of the most effective community groups in Detroit.

Focus: HOPE's senior food program Focus: HOPE's senior food program

Images from Focus: HOPE’s senior program. c. 1975. Source: Focus: HOPE Records.

Divergent Perspectives

The New Detroit Committee’s first official group portrait, taken at Wayne State University in October 1967.

The New Detroit Committee was formed as an immediate reaction to the Civil Unrest by Governor Romney, Mayor Cavanagh, and businessman J. L. Hudson. The organization funded many programs and events, including assistance to Focus: HOPE for HOPE 68. Though the group was meant to represent a cross-section of community leaders, critics felt New Detroit fell short in adequately representing the city’s Black residents.

Was New Detroit universally well-regarded? Where might you look to find out?

CCAC flyer

City-Wide Citizens Action Committee flyer. 1967. The CCAC was led by the Reverend Albert B. Cleage, noted political and religious activist who launched the Black Christian National Movement in 1967. Source: NAACP Detroit Branch Records, Box 3, folder 8.

Northwest Community Organization pamphlet

Northwest Community Organization pamphlet. An example of a community organization created post-1967 by residents to combat the root causes of the Unrest through positive action. Source: Mel Ravitz Papers, Box 25, folder 144. Click to open the document and read its contents.

Michigan Citizens Militia flyer

Michigan Citizens Militia flyer. Handed out in Birmingham, MI, this flyer reflects the level of animosity felt throughout many of Detroit’s majority white suburban areas towards Detroit and its Black population in the wake of the Civil Unrest. Source: Fair Housing Ordinance in Birmingham, Michigan Campaign Collection.

What do you think was root cause of racially charged and hostile messages like this? Given the opportunity, how would you address such an antagonistic community divide?