Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age

Arc of Justice A Saga of Race Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age The grandson of a slave Dr Ossian Sweet moved his family to an all white Detroit neighborhood in When his neighbors attempted to drive him out Sweet defended himself resulting in the death of a

  • Title: Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age
  • Author: Kevin G. Boyle
  • ISBN: 9780739452066
  • Page: 205
  • Format: Paperback
  • The grandson of a slave, Dr Ossian Sweet moved his family to an all white Detroit neighborhood in 1925 When his neighbors attempted to drive him out, Sweet defended himself resulting in the death of a white man and a murder trial for Sweet There followed one of the most important and shockingly unknown cases in Civil Rights history Also caught up in the intense courThe grandson of a slave, Dr Ossian Sweet moved his family to an all white Detroit neighborhood in 1925 When his neighbors attempted to drive him out, Sweet defended himself resulting in the death of a white man and a murder trial for Sweet There followed one of the most important and shockingly unknown cases in Civil Rights history Also caught up in the intense courtroom drama were legal giant Clarence Darrow and the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP.

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      Published :2019-09-24T09:19:40+00:00

    1 thought on “Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age”

    1. Everybody knows about the famous Brown versus Board of Education case (1954) where the Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. This book covers the earlier Sweet Trials of 1925 and 1926. Here the focus is instead housing/residential segregation. Ossian Sweet (1895 – 1960) was a black American physician who bought a home in a white residential area in Detroit, Michigan. Through armed self-defense he attempted to [...]

    2. A long, slow, excellent read. Each dense level---the personal story of Dr. Ossian Sweet, the organizational maturation of the early civil rights movement, the rugged, violent, ethnic-based politics of Detroit in the 1920s, the Sweet trial itself---delivers the same contemporary truth in different ways: racism will not go quietly, if ever, because too many institutions and individuals depend on it for both self-esteem and profit.Boyle uses the 1925 murder trial of Sweet, his wife, and a dozen oth [...]

    3. A fine history of a case I knew absolutely nothing about, but now am off in search of more info. I recommend it very highly, but keep in mind that this is not a novel, but a history, and that as such, even though it moves quickly, there are times when the author doesn't go from point A to point B as in a novel but stops to present factors that led up to this period in time.The case in question begins in 1925 in Detroit, when Dr. Ossian Sweet and his wife move into a house that is outside the bou [...]

    4. Such an important book for understanding complex and often hidden parts of race relations in the USA. Boyle starts with the Civil War and the immediate aftermath when our national parties were the opposite of their stances today. The Republicans were for Civil Rights and "reconstructing" the renegade South. The Democrats were for conserving (isn't that a cute play on the word conservative) the idealized myth of life on the plantations with slaves and masters in loving relationships, economic sec [...]

    5. Boyle may be an academic historian but he writes like a novelist. It takes a great story--African Americans asserting their rights and defending them with guns--and puts it into historical context. There are no saintly heroes in this book but real sometimes conflicted people.Basically it's about a young African American physician in Detroit in the early 1920s who wants to move out of his all-black overcrowded neighborhood and buys a house in a white neighborhood. After numerous threats and while [...]

    6. An extremely well-written book about the Ossian Sweet case, about which I knew nothing. Dr Sweet, an African-American, moved into a home in a white neighborhood of Detroit in 1925. A mob gathered to force him out. He and some friends fired into the mob, in self-defense, and killed a white man. They were arrested and tried for murder. Eventually, through the efforts of the NAACP, James Weldon Johnson, Clarence Darrow, and others, they were acquitted. Author Kevin Boyle told this story in a fascin [...]

    7. Overall, a thoughtful expose into racial tensions within Detroit, MI and elsewhere within the United States during the first quarter of the 20th century. Kevin Boyle's style of writing remains consistently smooth even when transitioning between "academia" style history lessons of the far past, and the more heavily stylized and "dramatic" court scenes involving Clarence Darrow. (The lawyer famously known for the evolutionary "Scopes Trial" of 1925). My only complaint of the book is that at certai [...]

    8. This book is a non-fictional telling of the history of race relations in Detroit, which are only marginally better now than in the 1920's. Parts of it are as chilling as any piece of horror fiction, doubling the effect by knowing the truth of it. This is the story of what a devastating tool fear is and how it is so expertly used to control others. I think I will now always look at people in authority and ask myself "What method does he/she use to exert control?" If it is that he tries to make pe [...]

    9. another book group choice. i feel naive that i didn't know that racial tensions in the city of Detroit went back to the 20s. this true tale of racial intolerance and housing segregation deepened my understanding of the issues which continue to face the D. The Ossian Sweet House still stands on the east side near where my grandmother's family used to reside. I drove by. When I finished the book and went to reread the quote in the front about the long arc of justice, I found the copy I was reading [...]

    10. This book won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and for good reason. I consider this to be the best example of historical storytelling I've read. The first part of the book is a riveting, meticulously researched account of an incident between an angry white mob and black physician Ossian Sweet, who recently purchased a home in a white neighborhood in 1920's Detroit. The second part of the book details the ensuing trial, led by legendary trial attorney (and my idol) Clarence Darrow. The eve [...]

    11. In the trial of Dr. Ossian Sweet, historian Kevin Boyle found a story that encapsulates so much of the history of US race relations and traverses the major fault lines of early 20th century America. Boyle skillfully blends broader historical context, illuminating biographical details, and a dramatic court case that reads, at times, like a thrilling courtroom drama. I was struck by how many important figures had some some connection to this case (James Weldon Johnson, WEB Du Bois, Clarence Darrow [...]

    12. I thought this was a solid, if unspectacular book about a mostly-forgotten landmark trial concerning civil rights in America.Ossian Sweet was a child of the Jim Crow South at the beginning of the 20th century. After being sent away to be educated up north as a young boy, he ultimately became a doctor and settled in Detroit. He married, had a daughter, and then decided to move in to an all-white neighborhood. That's when the drama begins, as a mob threatened him and his family, leading to a deadl [...]

    13. The National Book Award-winning nonfiction account of an African-American doctor (Dr. Ossian Sweet) who moves into a white neighborhood in Detroit in 1925, and the murder that occurs as a result of the white mob riot that tries to force out the doctor from the neighborhood. The book traces the history of Sweet and his family, as well as the larger history of segregation and racism that shaped not only Dr. Sweet and his reaction to the mob violence, but also shaped Detroit, the nation, and race r [...]

    14. This was the Michigan Reads book for 2011. While it wasn't always a page-turner, I'm really glad I read it. The author, Kevin Boyle, is an historian with a keen eye for rich detail. He tells the story of Ossian Sweet - a young, talented and ambitious doctor living in Detroit in the mid-1920s. Sweet, the son of slaves, grew up in the south and made his way north during the Great Migration. He completed school, college and medical school before establishing a medical practice in Detroit. He and hi [...]

    15. Okay, Shira, I finally read it. And I'm glad I did. Passed the copy you gave me on to a friend who runs Housing Opportunities Made Equal here in town. Interesting on development of housing segregation in tight housing markets and when you know that 30 years later the bulldozed Black Bottom to make Lafayette ParkWhere I work now, Over-the-Rhine, is what happens without the bulldozer- a different set of housing battles.Kate- read this- this happened a few blocks from where you grew up. It includes [...]

    16. This is a remarkable story about racism, de facto segregation, and how one African American couple confronted the injustice. It is incredibly well written and reads as a novel. Boyle has all the citations to support his story, but his writing should be a lesson to all historians. This is an excellent example of history as storytelling and the story told is one which all should understand: the struggles of African Americans in the 20th century.

    17. A stirring account of Detroit in 1920s. If you think that violent racism really only existed in the south then read this book. It will open your eyes as it did mine. Amazing when I think about my grandparents being alive at the time.

    18. I was asked to read this book and like it. A tall order. It was true that helped and an important part of history.I just kept thinking that if people were righteous it wouldn't need to be like that. And house debt was introduced in a very historically interesting way.

    19. Winner of a National Book Award, this book is a great introduction to housing discrimination and racial tensions in Detroit in the early part of the 20th century.

    20. In Arc of Justice, Kevin Boyle examines the volatile nature of race relations in early twentieth century Detroit through the lens of the experiences of Dr. Ossian Sweet. The majority of readers are most likely unaware of Dr. Sweet and his life. This narrative provides a unique and personal perspective on race relations and the infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan into a northern city, especially when people consider the Klan as a southern affectation.Boyle took the reader on a literal and figurative [...]

    21. Although somewhat apologetic, Kevin Boyle's book "Arc of Justice" is the story of one black man's attempt to overcome the powerful forces of racism and buy a home in an all white neighborhood in Detroit. While using Sweet's personal story as an example, Boyle traces the history of racial tensions, first in the Reconstruction South and then in the supposedly more race-friendly North, while focusing most specifically on the issue of housing discrimination. Although Ossian Sweet never wanted to be [...]

    22. Wow, what a book! This should be required reading for every middle school student in the state of Michigan and beyond to every state. It will resonate with baby boomers and may sound preachy and pathetic to millennials but regardless it should be required reading. It speaks to the historical and cultural DNA that is inherent to a greater or lesser degree in every African American, black, negro, (pick your descriptor) man, woman and child today and sadly, so sadly, will continue to be inherent in [...]

    23. In 1925, Dr. Ossian Sweet bought a charming bungalow in a working class Detroit neighborhood.  He moved in with his wife Gladys, and that very first evening, hundreds of neighbors poured in the street in front of his home, threatening to cause harm to his family.  Why?  Because Dr. Sweet was a black man who had the audacity to purchase a home in a white neighborhood. In spite of the police protection Dr. Sweet had arranged beforehand, it wasn't enough to stop events from spiraling out of hand [...]

    24. Racial discrimination in housing is a practice now forbidden by law, but there was an era in this country when it was the norm. Black people (and sometimes Jews or immigrants) buying a house on a block would "bring down housing values", but more than just the presence of another race, discriminatory lending and selling practices contributed to the drop in home values. This book chronicles an event in the 1920s in which a black doctor purchased a home in a white neighborhood in Detroit (for an in [...]

    25. A story that has been too soon forgotten. A black doctor moves to Detroit in the early 20th Century from the South, hoping to find a community where he can advance and lead a better life than what would have been possible where he grew up. All goes pretty well, until he decides to move into a white neighborhood. A mob threatens his new home and his family; Violence follows. This journalistic book is thorough and fascinating. Soon famous figures are crowding the stage as a trial reveals much abou [...]

    26. I read this book as part of a course on Race at our local library. I must admit that it has become more relevant during our current political climate. Have we moved beyond separate but equal or are we returning to it? Exactly what does it mean and are we ever going to be equal? This famous but often unknown court case brings out the likes of Clarence Darrow to defend Dr. Ossian, the defendant, and goes way beyond what I knew about him from the Scopes trial, fascinating.

    27. The more things change, the more they stay the same.The heart of this story is about a first-generation free black man who, through the sacrifices of his parents, was able to become a physician took place in 1920's Detroit, but it could be taking place right now in 2017 anywhere in America as a new wave of virulent racism, prejudice, and white supremacy sweeps this nation under the alt right rhetoric and "alternative facts" of a new generation of ignorant and fear-mongering groups, who are stron [...]

    28. Reads like a prosecutorial (is that a word?) novel. Boyle is a gifted writer. Race relations in America may have come a long way since the 1920s, but it still has a long way to go. An amazing story. I looked up the address on Google, and a plaque stands in front of the Garland Street bungalow that recounts the events of 1925.

    29. Such an important book for understanding complex and often hidden parts of race relations in the USA. Boyle starts with the Civil War and the immediate aftermath when our national parties were the opposite of their stances today. The Republicans were for Civil Rights and "reconstructing" the renegade South.

    30. Enjoyed this book. Least lots of discussion. Great book club book for that reason. I have given this informative novel to a few young people. The writing is simple and easy to read. It is written like a novel although it is based on true accounts.

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