50 years on, AP photos show violence of Detroit's riots

FILE - In this July 24, 1967 file photo, a Michigan State police officer searches a youth on Detroit's 12th Street where looting was still in progress

FILE - In this July 25, 1967 file photo, firefighters try to control blazing buildings after riots in Detroit. Hundreds of fires were reported in the

FILE - In this July 1967 file photo, a National Guardsman stands at a Detroit intersection during riots in the city. Detroit wasn't the first of the r

FILE - In this July 25, 1967 file photo, smoke rises from a fire set at the busy intersection of Grand River and 14 Street in Detroit, near another bu

FILE - In this July 23, 1967 file photo, hundreds of people run down 12th Street on Detroit's westside throwing stones and bottles at storefronts. The

FILE - In this July 24, 1967 file photo, multiple fires burn in a section of riot-torn Detroit, about three miles west of the downtown area. Five days

FILE - In this July 24, 1967 file photo, National Guardsmen, called in to restore order by Gov. George Romney, stop their vehicle near a Detroit fire

FILE - In this July 28, 1967 file photo, female prisoners arrested during the rioting in Detroit, board a bus at Wayne County Jail, watched by Nationa

FILE - In this July 26, 1967 file photo, an Army soldier stands guard as men captured in the vicinity of the 10th Police Precinct in Detroit peer from

FILE - In this July 27, 1967 file photo, residents of Detroit's riot area stand in line for free emergency food from a neighborhood organization. Hund

FILE - In this July 25, 1967 file photo, women and children stroll past the burned remains of homes after riots in Detroit on July 23. The houses were

DETROIT (AP) — Protests that started 50 years ago in a west side Detroit neighborhood would grow into a riot and later a conflagration that threatened to swallow entire city blocks.

An angry crowd of blacks gathered near 12th and Clairmount streets in the early morning hours of July 23, 1967 after police raided an illegal after-hours club and made arrests. The crowd grew and a tense situation erupted in violence, gunshots and flames.

As smoke from dozens of fires rose cloud-like for five days above the Motor City, Associated Press photographers snapped shots of the burning storefronts and homes.

Just as startling are photos of the crowds that surged into Detroit streets, looters making off with stolen goods from hapless businesses and scores of national guardsmen called in to restore order.

The images have stood for a half-century, etched into Detroit's fabric and history.