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.