Detroit Race Riot, 1943

   One of the major centers of war production during World War II, Detroit, Michigan, attracted an influx of more than 500,000 people, of whom some 60,000 were African American. This rapid increase in population put a huge strain on housing and transportation. For African Americans, the situation was particularly acute as they tended to be restricted to existing black areas. The attempt to provide public housing with the Sojourner Truth Project led to violent confrontations in 1942. There were strikes in automobile plants when black workers were promoted. On 20 June 1943, a confrontation between blacks and whites in the amusement park on Belle Isle quickly escalated into a full riot. As mobs of white people hunted down black workers and pulled them from trams and buses, African Americans responded by attacking white-owned property. The riot was finally brought under control after three days with the arrival of 6,000 federal troops. By then, 34 people were dead, 25 of them black. More than 1,000 people were injured, and almost 2,000 were arrested.
   See also Harlem Race Riot, 1935; Harlem Race Riot, 1945; Los Angeles Riot.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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