Rebuilding and remembering at the core of the Detroit riots

- Detroit changed forever 50 years ago and it all started at the corner of 12th and Clairmount. Half a century later, a woman who lived through the darkest days has a big plan to breathe life into the block.

On the east side of what is now Rosa Parks between Atkinson and Clairmount, there are no homes or business, just empty land - a blank space that reminds of what was once there.

"It's right across the street from where the 67 rebellion first took place."

Dr. Ray Johnson has a plan for this empty lot. He's partnered with Katrina Lockhart to invest $12 million into redevelopment.

"I wanted a place that was similar to downtown and midtown and Birmingham. All the places that I would visit here," Lockhart said.

Two years ago, she brought her vision of mixed use for the corner to the Detroit Land Bank. They were hesitant.

"And they said why? There is nothing there. I said I'm here. We're here," she said.

Determined, she's making her proposal into a reality by looking to the future but never forgetting the turmultuous past of 1967.

"If that is the flashpoint we want to bring light where light has been dim," she said.

In fact, the past will be enshrined inside the only remaining building on the corner. The home that stands there will soon be converted into a museum, despite it probably being cheaper to just knock it down and start over.

Karina says it's standing for good reasons: It's a reminder of where they came from. No one knows that better than Parker Taylor Jr.

"There used to be a cleaners here. A Perry's studio," he said.

He remembers because he grew up in that house. He had no idea that his part of his past has a future.

"It's a wonderful thing it really is. Part of the legacy that goes on with this house," he said.

The developers say the mixed use project and renovation of the home is scheduled to be complete by spring.


Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories