By CBS Detroit
Former Detroit Police Chief Isaiah McKinnon was a young officer in 1967 and recalled with gripping detail how he was pulled over by white officers while driving in the Motor City who drew guns on him.
“I knew they were going to shoot me, so I got down on the floor and moved the pedals with my hands and speed away,” McKinnon said.
It was a tinderbox time with racial strife so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Joseph L. Hudson Jr. was in charge of his family’s retail empire which included Hudson’s stores in Detroit and the region. The longtime community leader was called upon by then Gov. George Romney and Detroit Mayor Jerry Cavanaugh to convene a panel of leaders to figure how to pick up the pieces following five days of uprising in Detroit that began 50 years ago this Sunday.
“Not a single person I asked to be involved said ‘no,'” Hudson recalled.
He had Henry Ford II and CEOs of other two automakers, CEOs from the major banks headquartered in Detroit, Judge Damon Keith, and others including three young African American activists under the age of 20.
“It was important to have everyone at the table,” Hudson said. He added the conversations were raw and eye opening for everyone at that table.
McKinnon and Hudson appear with Marlowe Stoudamire, Detroit 67 Project Director, Detroit Historical Society, who talk with “Michigan Matters” Senior Producer and Host Carol Cain about the impact of 1967 on the region.
Stoudamire is a millenial and wasnt born then. But he has spent the past few years working with the Detroit Historical Society steering the project which takes a fascinating look of Detroit.
“It isn’t only about 1967,” he explained.
Also appearing on the show is Patrina Chatman, Director & Curator of Exhibits, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American Studies; and Valerie Mercer, Curator of the DIA.
They talk about their respective 1967 exhibits which open to the public this Sunday.
You can hear more by watching “Michigan Matters” 11:30 a.m. Sunday on CBS 62.