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What We're Reading: The Fifty-Year Rebellion

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

In the book The Fifty-Year Rebellion, author and college professor Scott Kurashige asks readers to witness the political calamity that is commonly referred to as the 196 7 rebellion or “riots” in Detroit. Once one of the wealthiest cities in the country, Detroit suffered decades of racial and economic divisions between Blacks and whites leading up to 1967, and those divisions have only deepened as they have spread across the nation. Kurashige asserts that efforts by a suburban-led power structure to disempower Black and urban communities never ended and neither did the rebellion, thus the title of the book. We now are experiencing low-intensity warfare, not only in Detroit, but nationally. More than a half-century after the event that changed Detroit and the general perception of Detroiters, residents are fighting back, even as attempts at disempowerment intensify. Kurashige maintains that Detroiters are being mischaracterized as a liability to their own city, and “[n]o city has come to embody the decline of middle-class economic security, the entrenchment of structural unemployment, and the burden of long-term debt more than Detroit. No region has come to embody racial divisions and the collapse of the political center more than metropolitan Detroit.”

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