Les Cochran Blog

Fiction Author

DETROIT RIOTS – 50 YEARS AGO

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Detroit 1967 – I Was There!

In some ways it seems like yesterday.  Fifty years ago I was a young teacher working on my doctorate at Wayne State University in Detroit.  On Sunday, July 23rd, I listened to Ernie Harwell’s play-by-play coverage of the doubleheader between the Tigers and Yankees.

The kids were enjoying summer vacation at the family farm with my parents. I spent the day working on my dissertation, buried in my makeshift office in the basement.  By the time the second game at Tiger Stadium had ended, I was ready to hit the sack. 

The City is Closed?

Monday morning I was up early, put on my suit and tie, and headed for the car.  Opening the door, I paused when the neighbor lady called, “Les, where are you going?”

A frown crossed by face.  “Wayne State,” I said as a manner of fact.

“You can’t,” she responded.  “The city is closed… there’s a riot downtown.  Turn on the TV.  You can watch the whole thing.”

Following her directions, I hustled inside and flipped on the television. It was unreal. Sirens screeched.  Smoke filled the air.  Gun shots repeated like machine guns in a war zone.  Television cameras stationed atop buildings chronicled the city’s demise.  I saw a white car pull up in front of Saks Fifth Avenue, at least five times.  With each stop, two men jumped out, ran inside, and returned, filling their car with armfuls of furs. 

Great Ideas for Novels

Happenings like this germinated in my head for years and now have come to life in a new series—“Detroit Thorn Birds Defy Mafia.”  It’s a different take on the Mafia.  Rather than describing family relationships from the top-down, as in the Godfather, my novels depict real-to-life people—the Detroit thorn birds—fighting back, clawing for survival to save their homes, their dignity, and way of life.

New Series: Detroit Thorn Birds Defy Mafia

This fall the second edition of SAX CLUB, with a sharper focus on its historical perspective, will be released.  It takes place ten years after the Detroit riots.  The Associated Press article below provides detailed personal perspectives on what happened that day.  Check it out.  And, on August 4th a movie titled Detroit will be released.  From the clips I’ve seen, it’s a must see!

http://bit.ly/DetroitRiots

Facebook Live Coming Soon

On Sunday, July 30th I will be launching my first “Live with Les” on Facebook.  Join me as I share my experiences in Detroit during the riots.  

One Comment

  1. Les, it is blogs like yours in particular that make me even more appreciable of the fact that my children were able to grow up in good ole’, laid back, Lubbock, TX. They have stayed in this area and I hope my grandchildren and great grandchildren never have to be exposed to a “Detroit” in real life. Reading your books and blogs makes me grieve for the city, but I thank you for telling us its story.

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