Interview with Arthur Johnson
QUESTION 7
SHEILA C. BERNARD:

So, so what's good?

ARTHUR JOHNSON:

Detroit in 1967 had it's bright spots, at least promising. Ah, for one thing, the new mayor had, ah, drastically, ah, ah, reformed the leadership of the police department. More Blacks were coming into the department, the policy at that time was more respectful of the Black community, there were no remnants, remaining remnants of the, ah, so called police, ah, crackdown. Ah, the city, the city's economic health was considerably better than it is today and th- and I- and, ah, and the, ah, employment rate among Blacks was better than it is at, at, even at this moment. The, ah, ah, housing was, was fairly plentiful although there was discrimination and segregation, ah, you know, throughout the city. Still, ah, ah, Blacks could find, ah, housing, and in many cases, ah, they found it possible to find an apartment, but it was more difficult to find "the" apartment one wanted at that time. Ah, so that, ah, Detroit, ah, ah, looked like, ah, a rather typical American city, ah, struggling with the race problem as all other cities, ah, and, and, and it was kind of on its way, I think, to becoming a better city. Now it had much to, to correct however. Ah, discrimination was, was still rampant.

SHEILA C. BERNARD:

I'm going to stop for a second. I'm sorry, I just need you to, because of the structure that --be a little more succinct.

SHEILA C. BERNARD:

So what about--

ARTHUR JOHNSON:

I think Detroit in 1967 had a number of bright spots. It had a strong Black middle class, it had a fairly stable, ah, ah, employment rate. It, ah, was even regarded as a great American city, ah, but it had problems of racism which, ah, were very serious and which could be seen in the, um, ah, housing market, which could be seen still in rampant discrimination in employment, ah, which could be seen in the school system which, ah, still did not have large numbers of, of, of Blacks in administrative positions. Ah, when I came to the position of Assistant Superintendent in 1966, ah, one of the daily newspapers in Detroit, in fact it was the Detroit Free Press, carried a headline, "Negro Appointed to High School Post." I, I think that's a significant marker of what, ah, where Blacks and Whites were in the city of Detroit in--