Michel Martin

Detroit has faced a tumultuous past, but the most painful week in Detroit's modern history arguably happened exactly 50 years ago. On July 23, 1967, after decades of discrimination, poverty, and mistreatment by police, many black citizens of Detroit erupted in violence. Some call that five-day period of burning and looting the "riots;" others call it the "uprising" or the "rebellion."

The Detroit riots began 50 years ago Sunday, after a police raid on an unlicensed, after-hours club. They lasted five days, and by the time they stopped, 43 people were dead, hundreds were injured, thousands had been arrested and entire neighborhoods had burned to the ground.

The new film Detroit depicts the beginning of the riots and one of their most horrifying events: the Algiers Motel incident, in which three young black men were killed (some would say executed) by white police officers.

On Nov. 12, 2012, an abandoned house on the Eastern Shore of Virginia burned to the ground. For the next five months, night after night, volunteer fire fighters responded to conflagrations all over the county. Locals started spreading the word: There was an arsonist in Accomack County.

That arsonist turned out to be Charlie Smith, a local and former volunteer firefighter. By the time he was caught, some 86 fires had been set, mostly in abandoned buildings. Smiths' accomplice in the arsons was his girlfriend, Tonya Bundick.

Earlier this year, rapper A.D. Carson completed a 34-song album he called Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics Of Rhymes & Revolutions. If that sounds like an unusual title for a hip-hop record, keep in mind that the album also served as Carson's doctoral dissertation.

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For a long time now, we've been talking about partisan divisions between Republicans and Democrats. They're at odds over everything from how to fix health care to how to fight terrorism. But there is one thing they can agree on.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROAD TRIP")

SECRET AGENT 23 SKIDOO: (Singing) It's time for a road trip, my family and me. Out on the roadway, no place I'd rather be.

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