Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Fatal Party March 13th, 1922

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

 Fatal Party March 13th, 1922

The party by “Kid” Byrd on Michigan Avenue was a regular event for the African American community in Flint. On the night of March 13th, 1922 everything was going well.

Then Kid’s friend and neighbor, John Perkin, dropped in. He was trying to get over his crazy ex-girlfriend. 

At first it seemed the stars had aligned when John met Julia Thornton that night. The two of them hit it off right away. The new lovebirds were inseparable during the party. Kid thought his friend John had finally found happiness.

Shortly after midnight, John’s crazy ex showed up at the party.

Some of the guests tried to convince her to leave and almost succeeded until Blanche Washington saw John and Julia talking. This sent her into a rage. She stormed over to the couple and started screaming at them.

According to the police report, witnesses claimed Blanche kept pushing and screaming at John until he lost his temper. John then pulled out his pocket knife, pushed Blanche against the wall and cut the back of her neck.

In retaliation Blanche reached into her bosom and pulled out a pen knife and stabbed John right in the jugular vein. John grabbed his neck and stumbled into the street where he collapsed.

Blanche ran to her friend’s house on Vermont Avenue. A doctor was called to come to dress Blanche’s wound. 

John was lying next to the street when the police came. They immediately called an ambulance. John was taken to Hurley Hospital where he died an hour later from excessive loss of blood.

The police tracked Blanche down at her friend’s house by following the trail of blood she left behind. When they arrived, the doctor was just finishing dressing her wound and told the police that he felt that it was not safe for her to go down to the station. The police rejected the doctor’s orders and took Blanche to the city jail.

Blanche survived her transportation, although she was very weak and had little memory of the incident. After she spent a week recovering, the doctor felt she was able to stand trial. The trial was quick, only lasting a few hours. People who attended the party testified in court.

After a quick deliberation, the judge found that she acted in self-defense and there was no need for charges.  

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

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