Reflections on '67 Rebellion Programs

This summer, Detroit Jews for Justice hosted an event series in partnership with several community organizations to recollect, interrogate and contextualize the 1967 civil uprising. Participants came away from the events with a more nuanced understanding of the summer of '67 and how its legacy impacts our relationships to Detroit today. 

This blog post represents a wrap on our '67 Rebellion summer programming! That is, the scheduled ​commemorative events have come to a close. Look out for book talks and learning groups possibly coming your way. 

Thank you for your time, your genero​us support​, and for confronting the complicated histories that fueled the flashpoints of 1967 in Detroit. Our events were very well attended and those in attendance were moved to engage and animate the space with their personal perspectives.​

This project was my first foray into coalitional work in the Metro Detroit Jewish community, and I learned so much about DJJ's modus operandi, dominant and subversive narratives about the connections between Black and Jewish history, and about holding space for difficult, intergenerational conversations. I learned so much from ​our historians' and docents' endless stories and attendees’ astute questions.​

I was grateful to have space to communally confront questions such as: 
  • What is a rebellion vs. a riot vs. a revolution?
  • How do we create caringsustainable, and interconnected Metro Detroit communities that respect the dignity of all? 
  • How do we learn our histories surrounding the 1967 Rebellion without stopping at shame, blame, and guilt?
  • How do we acknowledg​e our roles in the systemic racial and economic injustice that catalyzed the 1967 Rebellion while creating empowering community conversation that heals and leads us to act with accountability?
Our programming consisted of a film screening and community dialogue that DJJ, Repair the World, The Boggs Center, Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, and The Well partnered on; a bus tour of Jewish and Black social movement organizing with the Jewish Historical Society; a bus tour of the '67 Rebellion with historian Jamon Jordan of the Black Scroll Network History; and a Passover Torah supplement created by DJJ leaders Jake Ehrlich and Zak Rosen developed, with art by Julia Loman (click here to sign up for a download of the supplement).

The DJJ programming so far is complete, but in the meantime, we encourage you to explore the numerous 1967-related offerings from organizations and groups throughout the city. Check out this comprehensive calendar of community events compiled by the Detroit Historical Society. 

Of particular note is historical fiction author Susan Messer's Third Thursday lecture with DHS on July 20th from 6-8PM at 5401 Woodward Ave. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is encouraged. Please contact Charnae Sanders, Public Programs Coordinator, at 313.833.0277 or [email protected].

The University of Michigan Semester in Detroit Program is hosting a 4-part speaker series titled Summer 2017: Beyond '67 - The City-Wide Citizen's Action Committee. I've gone to two so far with my colleague Eleanor and have loved the free meal, passionate conversation, and fireside chat-type lectures.​

In conclusion, a powerful organizer I learned from in college taught me that it's hardly worth doing something if you're not going to evaluate it. So last week, staff took a step back to reflect on and learn from our whirlwind of '67 programming. If you've got takeaways, critiques, etc. to share, please reach me at [email protected]. I'll greatly appreciate it if you lovingly offered feedback. 

P.S. A major thank you goes out to Angie Coe, a talented Detroit-based print-maker and artist. Check out the flyer she made for our series below.


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