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Book Nook: Blood in the Streets, by Daniel L. Baker and Gwen Nalls

I moved to SW Ohio in 1993 and began hosting radio shows on WYSO in June of that same year. I have tried to learn as much as I can about the history of this region. I was aware that during the 1960's there were racial disturbances and riots in many major metropolitan areas. I had heard that there were riots in Dayton during that period but I knew very little about them.

Well, after perusing "Blood in the Streets - Racism, Riots and Murders in the Heartland of America" I now know a lot more about the racial unrest and riotous convulsions that engulfed parts of Dayton during that era. Dan Baker, the co-author of this book, was a Dayton Police officer for a quarter century and as a rookie cop in 1966 he was right there when a riot broke out on the West Side of Dayton and things got so bad that the Ohio National Guard was sent in to try to quell the disturbance.

A serial killer had been preying on innocent victims on the West Side. His typical modus operandi played out over and over again-he got away with murders and attempted murders for years. When he was finally apprehended it was only after he had walked into a federal building in Dayton and assassinated the man who had been brought in to desegregate the schools. The killer objected to having his children bussed to other schools. He had been cruising the streets of West Dayton for years, always during the summer, armed with a shotgun. He would pull up alongside unsuspecting victims in his car and discharge his weapon at them. He was never caught until he walked into that federal building to commit his one final murder.

The man was mentally ill. His homicidal rampage sparked some of the racial unrest. Officer and now author Dan Baker was one of the men who got the killer to confess to some of his crimes. This book is gripping true crime at its best and a slice of Dayton history.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro LibraryWright Memorial Public Library, and Microsun Lamps.

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.