Interview with Ronald Scott

Talk about, okay, and, talk also about what happened to you.


Well, when I was a, I mean, if you ref--uh, I mean, as I think about the situation when I was about twelve, thirteen years old, there was a crackdown on, um, crime in the city. This was, uh, roughly about 1959, 1960. And the, um, then mayor, uh, Louis Miriani had, uh, stated that they wanted a, um, a crackdown on crime, and this crackdown took place totally in the Black community. Ah, the assumption being that there was no crime anywhere else. And, um, I remember on one occasion I was walking down the street with my uncle and the, um, cops came up, uh, stopped us and, uh, told us, um, you know, that we were walking down the street and they wanted to you know, talk to us. So they got out of the car, came over to us and, um, you know, would, would, they were talking to my uncle, asking him you know, where he was going, what he was doing in that neighborhood. We were half a block from my house. And as he was explaining that, um, I just, uh, generally asked them, I said, "Well you know, why are, why are you asking us all of this?" And, uh, so one of the cops said to me, "Well, just shut up and don't even blow your breath in my face." You know. And then to me as a thirteen year old I, you know, I didn't really, this was like, though I knew about what was happening with the cops before, it was like the first confrontation I had really personally ever had with them. And, uh, you know, 'cause in school in those days the, uh, you were told the police officers were your friend. And that these were the guys who kept you from getting hit by cars and you know, came and rescued your dog and all that kind of stuff. That, I felt that for the first time on a personal level at that time that these guys could actually kill you. And, um, and you know, it was, it was, it wasn't so much frightening, it was a combination of fear and anger. And I mean, and I just, I, I mean guess somewhere deep down inside of me I remember that. Ah, I didn't go around at that time, uh, with a vendetta against the cops. But I would suspect there's friends of mine that I knew had had similar things happen to them. And if you talk to other people in Detroit or from Detroit at that particular time a lot of, specifically, Black men will go back to that era if, if, if they remember that period, and will point to that as being one of the things that they remember very explicitly. And, uh, this was at the same time that the police department of course, right...