NOTE: Work on this episode of South Bend’s Own Words started before the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. With respect to the uprisings in cities across the U.S. right now, we wanted to be sure their names were said. There are far too many other names to share, and our city is not immune to police violence. The murder of Eric Logan last year was only the latest in a long history.
The “long, hot summer of 1967” described the many uprisings in cities across the U.S. Real hurt felt by real people was large ignored by white people in positions of power. Decades of racial redlining, job discrimination, and both micro-and macro-aggressions fueled an idea that violent expression was the only recourse. In 159 cities across the U.S., a spark turned decades of oppression into violent outburst.
In South Bend, Indiana, in July, 1967, a white police officer shot an unarmed African American man in the leg. His name was Melvin Phillips. That bullet sparked South Bend to join 158 other cities. Days of violent eruption followed. Today, we hear from three people who lived through, or participated in, the South Bend uprising.
This episode was produced by Seth Umbaugh and George Garner.
Want to learn more about South Bend’s history? View the photographs and documents that helped create it. Visit Michiana Memory at http://michianamemory.sjcpl.org/.
Title music, “History Explains Itself,” from Josh Spacek. Visit his page on the Free Music Archive, http://www.freemusicarchive.org/.