Nuns recall their role in the ‘67 rebellion and the injustices still troubling Detroit

Jul 27, 2017

Sister Mary Ann Markel in the 60's and today
Credit Courtesy of Sister Mary Ann Markel

The Detroit rebellion erupted in the early Sunday morning hours of July 23, 1967, just blocks away from the Catholic church and school of St. Agnes located on 12th Street. That street is now known as Rosa Parks Boulevard.

The parish had been a strong presence in the neighborhood for many years, with its church and a community high school staffed by nuns: the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHMs). The order is noted for its strong commitment to social justice and education.

Sister Theresa Milne and Sister Mary Ann Markel joined Stateside to tell us about their experience when the rebellion erupted, and their insights into the church’s role in Detroit then and now.

“We all have to embrace our common humanity that we are all equal under God and in the United States and that's the dream," Markel said. "But we certainly don't practice it in many instances, certainly not in our justice system.”

Listen above for the full conversation.

From July 17-28, Michigan Radio is looking back at Detroit in 1967, the Summer of Rebellion. We’ll explore the issues that led to one of the deadliest civil disturbances in American history and examine why it still resonates in the city today.

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