Long, hot summer of 1967

The long, hot summer of 1967 refers to the 159 race riots that erupted across the United States in the summer of 1967.[2][3][4] In June there were riots in Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Tampa. In July there were riots in Newark, Detroit, Birmingham, Chicago, New York City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Britain, Rochester, Plainfield, and Toledo.

Long, hot summer of 1967
Part of the Civil Rights Movement
and Ghetto riots
Film on the riots created by the White House Naval Photographic Unit
DateSummer of 1967
Resulted inKerner Commission established

The most destructive riots of the summer took place in July, in Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit, Michigan, and many contemporary newspapers headlines described them as "battles".[5] As a result of the rioting in the summer of 1967 and the preceding two years, President Lyndon B. Johnson established the Kerner Commission to investigate the rioting and urban issues of Black Americans.[6]


A history of institutionalized unemployment, abusive policing, and poor housing was already present in certain areas of the United States. Riots began to flare up across the country but especially during the summer months. While rioting happened across the country the Summer of Love was occurring in hippie communities and Americans witnessed troop movements in the Vietnam War on the nightly news. At the end of July, President Lyndon B. Johnson set up the Kerner Commission to investigate the riots, in 1968 they would release a report blaming pervasive societal inequalities in American ghettos for the riots. By September 1967, 83 were dead, thousands injured, tens of millions of dollars in property had been destroyed and entire neighborhoods were burned.[7]


It is in the context of having been through "long, hot, summer" that in December, 1967, Miami police chief Walter E. Headley uttered the now-infamous phrase "When the looting starts, the shooting starts" after which Frank Rizzo, Richard Daley and George Wallace also spoke out in favor of a hardline approach towards looters and rioters.[8]

In early July 1967, the Justice Department met with local media to ask "restraint in reporting".[9] In December 1967, a psychologist was asked about "deterrents" and told the New York Times that the riots would continue.[10]


A poll of Minnesotans asked respondents to gauge the perceived relationship between the riots and the Civil Rights Movement. When asked if there were a connection between the movement and riots, 49% said there was, 38% disagreed. A full 65% thought the riots were planned, rather than just uncontrolled skirmishes. In another poll of Minnesotans, respondents were asked if the cause of the riots was racial discrimination or lawless hoodlums, 32% said racial discrimination while 49% said hoodlums. In a March 1968 Harris poll reported in the Washington Post, 37% of Americans agreed with the Kerner Commission's report that the 1967 race riots were brought on mainly by inequalities; 49% disagreed. A majority of whites (53%) rejected the idea, with just 35% agreeing. In contrast, 58% of blacks supported it, and only 17% disagreed.[11]

List of riotsEdit

Some of the riots include:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gonsalves, Kelly. "The 'long, hot summer of 1967'". The Week. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  2. ^ McLaughlin 2014, p. 1.
  3. ^ Friedland, Michael B. (1998). Lift Up Your Voice Like a Trumpet: White Clergy and the Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements, 1954–1973. Univ of North Carolina Press. p. 189. ISBN 9780807846469.
  4. ^ Mark Bould and Sherryl Vint (2011). The Routledge Concise History of Science Fiction. Routledge. p. 105. ISBN 9781136820410.
  5. ^ McLaughlin 2014, p. 101.
  6. ^ McLaughlin 2014, p. 39.
  7. ^ Gonsalves, Kelly. "The 'long, hot summer of 1967'". theweek.com. The Week.
  8. ^ Purna Kambhampaty, Anna (June 11, 2020). "How American Power Dynamics Have Shaped Perceptions of Looting, From the Boston Tea Party to Today". Time.
  9. ^ Graham, Fred P. (1967-07-08). "Restraint urged in race riot news; U.S. Officials Seek Delays Pending Police Action". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-06-01. Washington, July 7-- Officials of the Justice Department have been quietly meeting with news media representatives in racially tense cities to urge restraint in reporting racial outbursts, a department spokesman said today.
  10. ^ Burnham, David (1967-12-30). "New urban riots foreseen in U.S.; Psychologist Contends No Effective Deterrent Exists". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-06-01. There is no effective deterrent or antidote for the kind of Negro riots that have swept through the North in recent years, and such outbursts will continue "until the well of available cities runs dry," a research psychologist said yesterday.
  11. ^ "The Long Hot Summer: Riots in 1967". ropercenter.cornell.edu. ROPER Center for Public Opinion Research. August 28, 2017.


  • McLaughlin, Malcolm (2014). The Long, Hot Summer of 1967: Urban Rebellion in America. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137269638.

Further readingEdit

  • Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial formation in the United States: from the 1960s to the 1990s (1994)
  • Walter C. Rucker and James N. Upton, eds. Encyclopedia of American Race Riots (2007) 930 pages –