Example Oral History Reflection

Topic - The Detroit Riots of 1967
Interview subject - Martin Taft (my father)



Being a Detroit native for much of my life and hearing a little bit about the riots, I was very surprised about how little I actually knew about the conflict. The facts were easy to understand, but listening to my father’s perspective gave me greater insight into the even that has pretty much haunted the city since 1967. The social structure of the city was changed, and many parts of the city haven’t rebounded. It also was less of a riot for protest, but more of a lawless riot of looting and violence.

The riot also had an impact on the people involved, both short and long term. My dad’s eyes were opened to the plight of the urban African American population at the time, and he began to feel more sympathetic toward their challenges. It also instilled a desire to get involved in some urban community service programs. Both could be seen as positive results of an awful chapter in Detroit’s history. I wonder how many other members of the National guard were effected in a similar way.