Interview with John Nichols

When we had talked on the phone about the Kerner Commission ?


Well, as I said before, I didn't agree with, with, with much of what they found I think that they, they attempted to do in good faith what was done, but I think that there was a lot of simplistic solutions that were, were offered as cures for very, very complex problems. For example, the, they made the point, as I recall, that unemployment and under-employment was a factor. Most of the people that we arrested were, were people who had jobs. Most of them had factory jobs that were fairly well-paying. Many other things seemed to differ from their findings as to what we knew being on the street scene. They cited a lack of, of contact with the people. I don't think that was true. I think that Detroit's block club system probably was one of the most sophisticated and most active ones in, in the United States at that time. It didn't work on that day, but that is not to say that we were oblivious of the need. The department was moving toward integration, it was moving, the city was moving toward integration, so I think that all to often, those committees find a format and they put the format down and sweep all the little parts into it until it matches up with what they believe the situation should be, not necessarily always the way. This is not to say that they did it deliberately, I think that they did what they considered an excellent job.