The riot of gunfire, savage beatings, looting and arson turned into a riot of raging words today, a torrent of unfocused frustration as hundreds of blacks converged of Morgan Park, a grassy enclave in the heart of this city's burned-out war zone.
With 14 people dead, 371 injured and 450 arrested, and the years of building a community gone up in the smoke of a two-day riot, they gathered in little knots, railing against white injustice, shouting about schools without books, men without jobs, families without work.
But no one came to listen. "Where are our leaders?" cried a bare-chested young man. An older woman, her face contorted with anger, shouted, "We don't have any."
No community leaders, black or white, nor a single Florida politician appeared. Only Andrew Young, the former United Nations ambassador, breezed in for half an hour, and, unable to calm the passions, sped away in a sleek red Pontiac. Northwest Miami was barricaded by National Guardsmen armed with M16 rifles. Few whites were allowed in.
After the worst race riot in Miami's history, the violence appeared to have abated early today. But the expectations expressed in the park did not bode well, and by 5 p.m. reports of another homicide crackled over the police radios: a black man, fleeing after reportedly attempting to assault a police officer, was shot three times and killed -- becoming the riot's 15th fatality.
More than a dozen cars outside a Zayre's store had their windshields broken, their tires and upholstery slashed and the word "looter" spray-painted on them.
The cars were left behind Sunday night, when police arrested 47 suspected looters. The police department is investigating reports by neighborhood residents that police officers were responsible for the damage.
"No one showed up to listen to us," said Kenneth Miles, one of 500 youths who went to the park for a rally that never got organized. "The only way to get the message across is to set this town on fire.
"We've made enough violence . . . but that is the only way to get our point across. It will be a bloodbath and we won't win. A lot of brothers and sisters are going to die."
The youths were sweating and thirsty under the broiling sun. There was no microphone and thus no forum in which to express themselves. A police car showed up but quickly left when the crowd, shouting angry epithets, surrounded it. A white photographer was chased off the field.
While the black community simmered, white Miami retreated into an armed camp. Gov. Bob Graham sent 2,500 more National Guardsmen to join the 1,100 already here. Stores were closed in downtown Miami -- even the Burger King on fancy Biscayne Boulevard. Another 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew was imposed.
Many of the blacks gathered at Morgan Park charged that officials were aggravating the crisis by shutting off all bus service in the riot area, thus preventing blacks from getting to their jobs. Dade county public schools will continue to be closed Tuesday and gasoline stations were ordered to remain shut in Liberty City, an 18-square-mile black community.
About 150 fires were set during the riot and more than half were allowed to burn free. Firefighters were over burdened with calls and unable to enter some areas because of sniper fire.
Today the blackened remains of drugstores, Dairy Queens, liquor stores, gasoline stations and an elementary school gave off the sickening stink from fire. Overturned cars sat unattended in the middle of deserted boulevards.
"There are probably thousands of jobs [lost], of which the majority and probably 99 percent were held by black citizens," County Manager Merrett Stierheim said. "The violence was not just aimed at white entrepreneurs. There was no rhyme or reason. The whole community has paid a terrible price."
Insurance adjusters today began to assess the damage, which fire officials and businessmen estimated at more than $100 million, which would make the riot one of the most costly in U.S. history.
President Carter ordered Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti to Miami today as the possibility increased of federal prosecution in the case of four white ex-policemen whose acquittal in the beating death of a black businessman touched off the riot.
White House press secretary Jody Powell said Civiletti was told to seek restoration of order and to "see that justice is done."
Powell said a federal grand jury would begin immediately to weigh evidence for a federal prosecution on charges of violation of the victim's civil rights. Civiletti was accompanied to Maimi by Drew S. Days III, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
Meanwhile black leaders called for the resignation of State Attorney Janet Reno, whose office prosecuted the McDuffie case. Reno refused to resign.
The governor appointed a seven-member panel to investigate Reno's handling of the case.
Black leaders coming to Miami today to investigate causes and possible cures for the violence of the last few days say that their journey was undertaken with a lack of confidence that their presence could really make a difference.
"I don't know whether any one or two people can do something to contain a riot fueled by so much frustration and despair," said Benjamin Hooks, executive director of the NAACP.
Like his civil rights colleague, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, president of Operation PUSH, Hooks said he believed the Miami disturbances were the product of more than a police-community conflict.
"The city has massive unemployment in the black community, it has a long history of black-police conflict, and then you add to that the problems of a large Cuban population and a large Haitian population that is being treated unfairly. Those are the ingredients for racial disturbance present in Miami. But many of the same ingredients -- unemployment and social tensions -- are present in other communities as well. All it takes is for an extremist incident, a little spark, to set it off," Hooks said.
He and Jackson said that the Miami incident bore out their earlier warnings that adverse econimic conditions were creating a hotbed of social tensions.
Jackson added, however, that the Miami riots might serve some useful purpose.
"Usually, when it's hot, you can reshape the iron [of social policy]. I would hope that this riot is instructive -- making the black and the poor visible again. The tragedy is that in a riot, we had to lose lives and property," Jackson said.
Hooks was more cautious. He said that locally the Miami officials should institute psychological testing for all police and law enforcement candidates.
Hooks was careful not to predict that what has happened in Miami would happen elsewhere this summer or anytime soon. He said his caution was prompted by the fact that often those predictions, when made public, become self-fulfilling prophecies. However, he did say that he thought the Miami riots would serve as a warning to the budget cutters to "reorder their priorities."
At noon, when the crowds first gathered at Morgan Park expecting to hear from community leaders and to discuss new solutions for old problems, the mood was friendly. A lady carried her four-year-old daughter piggy-back, joking with the group around her.
"Anyone want to go shopping?" boasted one man who had spent the night looting. "I got Zayres's at home. Another joked: "I'll sell you a color TV so you can watch this on the news tonight." Marijuana smoke curled through the air and someone passed around a bottle of dark rum.
A few hand-painted signs were visible in the crowd, attesting to the vagueness of the discontent that was sparked by the acquittal of the four white former policemen. "Now is the time for black power," one read. Another: "Justice: Why not us?"
As the afternoon wore on and the heat turned the park into a furnace, shouting people surrounded a reporter. "It was wrong, wrong, wrong," yelled Aleene Johnson, 35, an airport restaurant cook, speaking of the expolicemen's acquittal.
The riot, she said, "all came about because of feelings, feelings, feelings.
We're human. God don't look at us as a different sect than the white man."
One young man said he spent a year in college but that he was unemployed. 'Miami is like a big southern plantation -- city-style," he said. "The white folks got the guns and we'll end up dead. We got no leaders, that's the main thing."
Shirley Cole, a 43-year-old science teacher at North Dade Junior High shouted: "Tell Jimmy Carter to bring his a-- down here. We don't have any books in our schools. None of the black schools have any books. We can't get money from the banks to buy houses."
"A lot of people don't know why they're here [in the park]. They're waiting for something to explode. They just come because they're frustrated and tired. Our leaders are running and ducking and dodging," she said.
By the time Andrew Young arrived, the crowd had been waiting for three hours. Since there was no microphone, he could not make himself heard above the hecklers. "The white justice system is not delivering to black people," he shouted. "The white economy is not being shared with black people. The question is, what do we do about it?"
The question remained unanswered.
While tension rose in the park, a group of black leaders remained closeted in a county government building across town.
"Now what?" asked Bob Sims, executive director of the county's Community Relations Board. "We have 150,000 people out in an area with no food stores, no fire response, no delivery of services. People can't get to work because the buses aren't running."
Some 35 blacks -- community workers, county officials, concerned citizens -- sat around him. They talked about the rally across town, but they weren't sure what to do about it.
The people at the park "are doing their thing," Sims said. "I don't know what that is."
"They want to find out what we're doing," a woman responded.
At a smaller rally on a basketball court at Tacolcy Center, former Miami commisioner Athalie Range told the crowd, "After this is all over, and we've gone to jail, and we've come out of jail, and we've gotten a few concessions, things will be pretty much the same, and you're going to forget this."
They yelled back: "No! no! no!"
Then, she said, "Let me tell you how to do this effectively. When you leave here, instead of looting and rioting, you need to get down to the Justice Building and register. Get down and vote and let's vote these people out of office."