Interview with John Nichols

Can you talk about trying to control the riot in terms of Detroit, that this is a city that isn't a single ghetto area? The rioting is all over, and the Guardsmen have never, never seen active fire. They've also never seen a city.


Many, many of the Guardsmen were not, were not people from, from major metropolitan areas, many of them were from outlying areas. The city at that particular time had to be a terrifying sight. There were fires going on, there was a great deal of excitement, streetlights were, were being shot out by the police, there was a great deal of noise, a great deal of confusion, nobody knew where there, where there parent organizations were, military units function best as a unit, and unfortunately they could not function as a unit because they were brought into the, the armory and they were married up with Detroit police officers so that they would have a communication link, and so they'd have a guide to know where to go and, and what to do, and they were controlled from central dispatch areas. The entire situation was one of semi-controlled chaos. And I think that that had an, that had an effect on, on almost everybody concerned. Everybody was uptight, very uptight**.