Photos Of The Detroit Riots Show A City Transformed Into A War Zone

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When Kathryn Bigelow makes a film, people take notice. The Oscar-winning director — who remains the only woman to ever win the award — has seen each of her last two films, Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, with the latter winning it. So it's no wonder that her newest film, Detroit, is also expected to be an awards show favorite. Like her last two films, Detroit is also inspired by actual events — the Detroit riots of 1967 — and photos of the real Detroit riots show a turbulent time in American history.

Also referred to as the 12th Street Riot, the 1967 Detroit Riot began after police raided an unlicensed speakeasy called the Blind Pig on the city's Near West Side in the early morning hours of July 23, 1967. Police decided to arrest everyone in the bar, all of them black, which drew attention from the mostly black crowd of spectators outside and resulted in someone throwing a bottle at a police officer. Afterward, looting and violence quickly spread, resulting in Governor George Romney eventually sending in the National Guard and President Lyndon B. Johnson sending in army paratroopers to quell the riots. After five days of chaos, 43 people were dead, nearly 1,200 were injured, over 7,200 were arrested, and over 2,000 buildings were destroyed. Pictures from the time period are surreal, as they show one of America's largest cities transformed into a war zone.

A Standoff Begins

Police are quickly outnumbered by rioters.

The National Guard Moves In

Soldiers patrol the streets of Detroit.

Tanks In Motor City

Detroit is known for its vehicle production, but few thought they'd ever see tanks rolling down its streets.

The City Burns

This aerial shot shows the extent of the damage.

Fear In The Streets

If you were black and on the streets during the riots, you were likely to get arrested.

Chaos Reigns

A city is reduced to rubble.

The National Media Takes Notice

Time Warner

The caption on this August 1967 issue of Life reads, "Troops patrol a burning Detroit street."

Detroit marks the 50th anniversary of the riots, but the city has certainly not forgotten them. Their effects are still being felt today in Detroit and other cities across the U.S. as racial tensions continue to plague the relationship between police officers and the citizens they're supposed to protect.