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tv   Matter of Fact With Soledad O Brien  NBC  September 3, 2017 5:00am-5:31am PDT

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 >> right now on "matter -- revisiting the summer of '67. >> we have endured a week no nation should live through. we seek more than the uneasy calm of martial law to prevent such disasters in the future. we can stop it. we must stop it. we will stop it. >> 50 years later -- what have we learned? soledad: i'm soledad o'brien. welcome to matter of the year was 1967 -- the so-called summer of love. yet in cities around the country there was anger in the air. african american communities exploded in violence over police brutality and inadequate
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housing, jobs, schools, and some called it a riot; others a rebellion. what is certain is the most destructive and deadly unrest in the united states since the 1863 draft riots during the civil war. in the end, detroit had 43 dead, 1100 injured, over 7200 arrests and more than 2000 buildings destroyed. detroit, 1967. a city in flames. >> a lot of the smoke was right up in here on 12th street, which is what it was called then. soledad: disturbances began on 12th street, since renamed rosa parks boulevard. they started spotaneously after a routine police raid on an illegal bar, or what locals called, a blind pig. dan mckane was a young street cop in detroit's tactical mobe unit. soledad: how would you have described the detroit police department in 1967? dan: well, it was majority white
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male. soledad: loretta holmes was in that blind pig that night, to welcome back soldiers coming home from vietnam. suddenly, police burst in. loretta: they took us downstairs, to about four -- i' say three or four paddy wagons. and oh, my god. it was a million people out there. it was like, somebody got on a bullhorn and said, come to 12th and clairmount. soledad: the angry crowd outside exploded into five days of full out violence. in the years that followed, detroit fell on hard times. the auto industry was hit by an oil crisis and foreign competition. there were two decades of government corruption. the 2008 global financial crash hit detroit particularly hard. then in 2013, detroit became the largest municipality ever, to file for bankruptcy. today, detroit police are
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adament that they are trying to repair the relationship with the public. they've trained police officer in all 12 precincts to build stronger community ties. officer donald parker. how do you build trust in a neighborhood? donald parker: building now is us filtering in the community, saying 'hi' to mrs. jones. and saying 'hey, we're here, we're touchable, we're reachable.' let them know noto be afraid of us. soledad: the composition of the force has also changed. in 1967 it was just 5% african american. today it is about 65% african american, including the chief, james craig. james craig: well, what happened 50 years ago, i can't say would never happen in detroit, because there's still issues. while we have an above average relationship with the community, there's the issue of opportunities and while the city has made a major turnaround, there's still this belief that while the turnaround is
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happening in certain parts of the city, it's not in soledad: a sign of the work remaining to be done, the poverty rate for african americans was 40% in 2014--twice what it was in 1970. the city struggles with segregation, inadequate housing, school test scores and and graduation rates are the lowest in the nation. more than a million people have left the city of detroit since 1959. loretta: we don't have anythin there's nothing there anymore. soledad: so what happened to the neighborhoods? loretta: people moved out. soledad: anicka goss-foster is with future cities detroit, which imagines modern day uses for blighted properties. goss-foster's focus is the next 50 years. anicka: things aren't happening as quickly as they want it to happen, and they certainly aren't happening at a rate whe it should happen, but if you really pushed there are a lot of good things happening all over the city. soledad: loretta holmes stayed
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behind. she mentors students at her alma mater -- detroit's central hi is the city of detroit better off than it was before? lore interviewer: in the 60s? loretta: no. because -- soledad: better than 5 years ago? loretta: than five years ago? i can see the change. i real soledad: change that, for a city with a history of struggle and racial conflict, is long overdue. >> next. the last surviving member of the kerner commission goes back to detroit. >> we said racism right out you're here to buy a used car,
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had escalated quickly. as had similar outbreaks around the response was equally swift. in michigan, governor george romney called in the national guard. nationally, president lyndon johnson appointed an 11-member advisory commission on civil disorders aimed to identify the root causes. it was chaired by illinois governor otto kerner. after a seven-month investigation, the kerner commission's conclusions were devastating. our country was deeply divided between black and white -- unequal, unstable, unfair. the last surviving member, of the kerner commission is former oklahoma senator fred harris, now 86 years old. why did president johnson want to start the commission? fred harris: well, we were having these terrible disorders, riots all over the country. the worse were of course were in detroit and newark. nobody knew how it was going to end and whether it would be a kind of continuing thing.
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was it a harbinger of things to come. and so, he said, i want you to say what happened, why did it happen and what can be done to keep it from happening again and again. what we found in the kerner report was as for example here in detroit or in other cities, conditions were so horrible and relations between the police and the people in these central cities were so awful that almost any random spark could ignite this kind of disorder. and that's what happened. soledad: the kerner commission report, you could read this today and apply it to cities like baltimore, ferguson even any major metropolitan area, frankly. same exact problems we're dealing with in america. fred harris: that's the sad thing. we made progress on almost every aspect of race and poverty for about ten years after the kerner report. and then, progress stopped.
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and in many ways we began to go backward. so the same thing about the police. we were against mili of police. we thought automatic rifles and tanks and so forth didn't have any business being in an urban situation and we thought that the police ought to be community police, that they ought to be members of the community. not enforcing the law against the community but for the un and we made progress in that regard for a good while. soledad: do you think there's been a cost of ignoring the recommendations of the kerner commission? fred harris: yes certainly has. interviewer: a fred harris: we ought to be investing heavily in infrastructure and in education, particularly early childhood education. we ought to be seeing that people have jobs. healthcare for example, looked like for awhile we'd made some real progress for healthcare and now we may be moving backward, but i think what we've got to do is help people to see that these
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problems are with us, in some ways they're worse and we've g to take actions because it's our own interest to do so. the most famous words, probably the core of the report was, "our nation is moving toward two societies, one white one black, separate and unequal." soledad: is that still true today? fred harris: it's still true. we'd say one white, one black and hispanic today and other minorities, separate and unequal. and it's grown that way again. >> coming up next -- a panel of detroit journalists -- >> if detroi detroit can do it, it can happen anywhere. >> are there reasons to be optimistic? people love my breakfast burritos.
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and my french fries. wait! what if i put them together?! a burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, creamy guacamole, bacon and crispy french fries. i'll call it the california breakfast burrito! boom. someone got that, right? scrambled eggs. guacamole. bacon. french fries. you'll call it the california breakfast burrito. boom. good work everyone. another winner. introducing my new california breakfast burrito. only at jack in the box. soledad: the kerner commission
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report was leaked before president johnson ever got a chance to see it. he rejected all its recommendations. that provides a backdrop to where detroit now stands. today, while detroit's downtown described as in a renaissance, nearly 40% of the city's residents live in poverty. the median income for city residents is about 26-thousand less than half of the national dollars, average. there is some good news. jobs in the city's auto industr are up 31% since 2010. we asked four journalists, all residents of detroit, to share their perspectives on the motor city today. chastity pratt dawsey, urban affairs reporter for bridge magazine. she covers politics and education. keith owens, senior editor for the michigan chronicle, is also a former reporter for the detroit free press. lester graham, hosts a radio program "stateside" on michigan radio. and laura herberg, the community
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reporter for detroit's wdet fm. her beat includes housing issues in detroit. they all contrib detroit journalism collaborative . one of the challenges i think in a city like detroit is your both the cheerleader for the city right? you want a great city to succ to all the data points and some of those data points in the city are terrible. keith owens: just like members of your own family i mean you love them but you know 'em. i think it's the same thing wh detroit, we know the city, we know exactly what the statistics say, we could rattle statistics on forever about what the crime rate is, what the poverty rate is, what the literacy rates, is , etc. i think where detroiters get sensitive is the fact of the onf detroit is this and detroit is that. it's much more than that, it cannot be encapsulated into those titles or into any small narrative. soledad o'brien: as a journali who's been here for five years, is detroit back? lester graham: it's better but spend a lot of my time in the
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neighborhoods and in the neighborhoods they're still suffering, they're still declining. they're still w renaissance that's been talked about in downtown detroit to hit their neighborhoods and so far they haven't seen much from that. laura herberg: tax assessments are too high so people can't y their taxes, that leaves to foreclosure. well, foreclosure leaves to auction. then you have investors coming in, buying a percentage of those houses, not maintaining the it goes on and on. chastity pratt dawsey: detroit, everyone knows, we put the world on wheels right? but what happened when those dozens of factories went away. people move, lots of people move so there is this huge amount of vacancy, there is this huge joblessness rate. soledad o'brien: the kerner commission report highlighted race and racism. when we talked to senator harris , he's like, we intentionally used the word "racism,"' we wer. seems to me that race intersects
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with every issue in the city of detroit and maybe in every big metropolitan city. keith owens: housing and segregation and redlining detroit was extreme. soledad o'brien: so people who don't know redlining was literally a red line on a map. that said this is where the black people can go. keith owens: and you can't go outside of that. racism struc this city on purpose and when people began to leave and then people began to disinvest. the cumulative effect of what was done to this city by racism has almost destroyed it, almost , almost put it under. lester graham: there is a nice narrative along many people, detroit is a problem because it's black, because it's democrat and therefore story over, it will never be fixed. and that's what they want to believe, that's what they're comfortable with and it's just lie. systemic racism means that you have to come to grips with all you've been doing for the last couple of hundred years and not
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everybody is there yet. chastity pratt dawsey:i think that the undeniable and quantifiable truth is 50 years later the recommendations of the kerner commission were not put in place segregation continued , and we know for a fact that our schools are more segregated. that our poor brown and black children get fewer resources and a lesser education in the city. we know that to be true, it's soledad o'brien: then why are people optimistic about detroit? chastity pratt dawsey: people in detroit are gritty. they're hopeful but they're demanding some change for their neighborhoods as well. keith owens: well hope is a strong thing. they are watg programs than everybody else is so when everybody's are seeing the programs that detroit is the murder capital of the world then everybody feels depressed. they see the shows that are saying detroit is coming back, they feel better. chastity pratt dawsey: the story of detroit is the story of every american city, every american city can identify with poverty, joblessness, unemployment, redlining housing issues, racial attitudes and we might be
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suffering from some of those issues at a higher degree and a worse degree but if detroit -- here's the thing -- if detroit turns around, if detroit can do it, oh it can happen soledad o'brien: thank you so much, i love talking to journalists but specially journalists who really know their city. it's amazing, >> coming up next, why does detroit's history matter? >>in america today, its more relevant than its ever been. jessica gomez reports.
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y2h9iy y14ny detroit in 1967 -- and other citi tvivid historical images. there's even an exhibit here at the newseum in washington, dc. in detroit, they're still debating whether they experienced a riot or a
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rebellion different perspectives , that are both on display in at the detroit historical museum. here's correspondent jessica go jessica: through a maze of dark rooms, visitors to the detroit historical museum are transported . a time of crisis for detroit. >> four days of rioting in the detroit. jessica visual effects help tell : the story of that violent week in 1967, along with touch screens, videos, animation -- and props-like a tank -- even a 1960s era living room. >> i remember the fear. jessica: echoing through the exhibition, the voices of those who were there. the project director -- >> in the past, you know people told detroit's story, and they got it wrong. this is the opportunity to get jessica: in the largest archive of the eve, the detroit
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historical society collected o those connected with america's deadliest civil unrest. >> there was a lot of, oh, you don't need to know my story, it's probably a lot like everybody else's. but we d overlap, we have a lot of really unique perspectives coming forward. >> governor romney declares a state >> you had people who livn the something different, you had one person who would say, it was a riot, you had another person say it was a rebellion. and what we learned, is that people experienced it in the street, from the house, some people didn't even know what w going on. jessica: alicia diaz, getting a better view now than when she was in preschool, standing on a chair, watching looters outside >> i remember her holding me very tightly but what i really remember was, it was fear. my mother was afraid. jessica: so was roxey earley, whose mother owned a bar off of 12th street, not too far from where it all started. >> it brings back the memories of what happened and how it was
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all these businesses that were absolutely destroyed. jessic just about documenting it's tag line? looking back, to move forward. >> someone challenged me recently and said, why would you take a scab off an old wound, why would you peel it off? i said, what makes you think a scab ever formed? so part of the healing process and level of reconciliation is people the space to reflect on what it meant to them, then, today and what it will mean to the future of their kids. jessica: visitors can leave a message in a time capsule, their hopes for a better detroit. to be opened in another 50 years. a future inspired, by lessons from the past. in detroit, for matter of fact, i'm jessica gomez. >> when we return, they were there when the violence erupted. >> that sense of, oh my god, what is happening? this is not, this is not our country. >> can you imagine the impact on a lifetime?
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thoughts from those who were eyewitnesses to history -- to the moments when a city exploded and all that came after the death and devastation, in their own words. >> i walked up to 12th street and i just couldn't believe wh i was seeing. >> the constant wailing of the sirens. there were sirens moving around police vehicles. and fire vehicles. >> they smashed us in the paddy wagons. and i didn't what hyperventilating was then, i just knew that i couldn't breathe. >> i had no understanding that this person was gonna run up and then put a shotgun in front of my face and then cock it. i remember saying to my partner, it doesn't look like it's r control to me. and it wasn't. >> you see a tank come down your street.
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well, a tank? you're going to kill somebody we in a neighborhood. i mean a real tank? >> we had been pushed so far. it was only a matter of time before people pushed back. i'm very hopeful for a new detroit. we just have to wa reality that things must change. soledad: i'm soledad o'brien. we'll see you next week on "matter of fact." people love my breakfast burritos.
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and my french fries. wait! what if i put them together?! a burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, creamy guacamole, bacon and crispy french fries. i'll call it the california breakfast burrito! boom. someone got that, right? scrambled eggs. guacamole. bacon. french fries. you'll call it the california breakfast burrito. boom. good work everyone. another winner. introducing my new california breakfast burrito. only at jack in the box. without pg&e's assistance, without their training our collaboration with pg&e is centered around public safety. we could not do our mission to keep our community safe. anytime we are responding to a structure fire, one of the first calls you make is for pg&e for gas and electric safety. it's my job to make sure that they have the training that they need to make the scene safe for themselves and for the public. it's hands-on training actually turning valves, turning systems off, looking at different wire systems all that training is crucial to keeping our community safe and our firefighters safe.
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together, we're building a better california. ♪ "asian pacific america." and welcome to i'm robert handa, your host for our show here on nbc bay area and cozi tv. we start off with beauty and history as we showcase the centennial celebration of hakone gardens. anyone who has visited the site in saratoga knows about the authentic look and feel of this retreat. and if you haven't seen it, you should, and hopefully our show will encourage you to pay a visit. but regardless, people may not know the full history of hakone gardens. we will explore it more in-depth today. then we turn our attention to warrior mamas, and the mama's night out event they had in fremont to unravel pediatric cancer, and what's coming up. and we wrap up with the j-pop summit, a japanese cultural festival in san francisco featuring the latest in japanese pop culture.


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