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On the evening of July 25, 1967, on the third night of the 12th Street Riot, Detroit police raided the Algiers Motel. Acting on a report of gunfire, officers rounded up the occupants of the motel's annexâ€”several black men and two white womenâ€”and proceeded to beat them and repeatedly threaten to kill them. By the end of the night, three of the men were dead. Three police officers and a private security guard were tried for their deaths; none were convicted.
In The Algiers Motel Incident, first published in 1968, Pulitzer Prize–winning author John Hersey strings together interviews, police reports, court testimony, and news stories to recount the terrible events of that night. The result is chaotic and sometimes confusing; facts remain elusive. But, Hersey concludes, the truth is clear: three young black men were murdered "for being, all in all, black young men and part of the black rage of the time."
With a new foreword by award-winning author Danielle L. McGuire, The Algiers Motel Incident is a powerful indictment of racism and the US justice system.