Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age / Edition 1

Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age / Edition 1

3.7 20
by Kevin Boyle
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0805071458

ISBN-13: 9780805071450

Pub. Date: 09/28/2004

Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.

In the Roaring Twenties, neon lit the night, jazz played, and in northern cities glistening new sky-scrapers beckoned Negroes worn down by southern terrors. They came with battered bags and hope. Ossian Sweet was among them, carrying his parents' dreams for his future and little else. The grandson of a slave, the young physician arrived alone in Detroit -- a smoky

Overview

In the Roaring Twenties, neon lit the night, jazz played, and in northern cities glistening new sky-scrapers beckoned Negroes worn down by southern terrors. They came with battered bags and hope. Ossian Sweet was among them, carrying his parents' dreams for his future and little else. The grandson of a slave, the young physician arrived alone in Detroit -- a smoky swirl of speakeasies and sprawling factories where progress and Henry Ford had pumped competition to fever pitch. As Sweet moved beneath the glittering chandeliers of Michigan Central Station, he had no inkling of what awaited him in Detroit. He could not have known that he would establish a thriving practice and find a wife to love. He would not have dared to imagine that one day he would be able to move his family from the city's most dangerous ghetto to a home of their own in a safer place. Nor could he have envisioned that his struggle to hold on to this home, his greatest pride, would lead to his indictment in a murder case that would put him and his wife in prison, bring the famous Clarence Darrow to defend them, and launch a landmark battle that helped ignite the struggle for civil rights.

Beginning with the hot summer night in 1925 when Sweet's outraged white neighbors circled his house to drive his family out, Arc of Justice is grand nonfiction storytelling -- an epic canvas of dreams deferred and justice compromised, empowered by a triumphant spirit. Historian Kevin Boyle uses the story of Sweet, caught in the grip of history, to explore America in 1925, when the Klan moved north to incite hatred, and a new organization called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) -- led by W. E. B. Du Bois and his Talented Tenth -- rallied blacks to raise their voices and to begin the march toward equality, dignity, and self-respect. Boyle captures the streets of Detroit as they were, introducing a gallery of characters from both the white and black communities. He pulls us into the riot that threatened the Sweets' home and the events -- following a white neighbor's shooting -- that led to the couple's indictments for murder and the ensuing highly politicized police investigation. Using testimonies, court documents, and his own extensive research, Boyle moves from prosecutors to defenders, piecing together the citywide cover-up intended to convict and punish the Sweets, while simultaneously charting the NAACP's defense campaign.

With the opening of the Sweets' trial and the appearance of legal genius Darrow -- whose theatrics and fiery passion made him a ferocious defender of the oppressed -- Boyle's narrative becomes courtroom drama at its finest. Capturing the tense, often surprising legal battle, Boyle takes us through the intricate face-offs between the wily Darrow and the adept, utterly determined prosecutors, re-creating the scenes that drew the attention of all Americans to the plight of Doctor Sweet and his wife. A moving story that brings together the realities of a city, a nation, and a time, Arc of Justice is a stunning achievement and an unforgettable human document.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805071450
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
5.92(w) x 9.96(h) x 1.55(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: America: 19251
1Where Death Waits13
2Ain't no Slavery no More44
3Migration70
4Uplift me, Pride102
5White Houses133
6The Letter of Your Law170
7Freedmen, Sons of God, Americans197
8The Prodigal Son229
9Prejudice260
10Judgment Day300
Epilogue: Requiescam337
Notes347
Acknowledgments397
Index403

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Arc of Justice 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is sure one amazing one because it so surreal how Boyle's is able to connect the historical event to what feels like a fictional piece. Kudos to him. The main character Mr. Ossian Sweet is moving into a white neighborhood during times of discrimination and his brother Henry Sweet is accused of murder on terms of self defense. Arc of justice shows that even passionate white lawyers can be good people too. 
Chet_Shores More than 1 year ago
This was a good book that everyone should know the story of! Reading this book truley opened my eyes to how large a problem racism was outside of the South. This stroy of Ossian Sweet depicts how a well to do doctor in Detriot is treaty like a common criminal for protecting his home and life. This book will enlighten you to how large the problem of racism was throughout the whole country.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kevin Boyle¿s book Arc of Justice is about the Ossian Sweet case. I really enjoyed this book because I had previously never heard of Ossian Sweet or knew about his trial. The book takes place in Detroit and when Ossian Sweet moves his family into an all white neighborhood. When a white man is killed the trials begin and the book takes us through step by step details of the trial. This book is suspenseful all the way to the end and the results of the trial. This book takes a look at the race relation in a city such as Detroit and includes many influential people from the period such as Clarence Darrow. This is a great informative read about a man who is little known but a really big part of the history of African Americans and the NAACP.
BPottsBP More than 1 year ago
Boyle tells the story of Ossian Sweet, an African American dealing with racial segregation in the 1920s. Sweet buys a house in a white neighborhood of suburban Detroit, but is met by resistance in the form of a white mob. Sweet meets the resistance with physical violence, and Clarence Darrow represented Sweet and his companions in one of the most famous trials of the decade. This book is particularly interesting because while most people are familiar with certain civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X for example, the tale of Ossian Sweet was widely unheard until the publication Arc of Justice. Another interesting aspect is while other activists worked their whole lives to gain national notoriety, Sweet had the spotlight thrust upon him. Boyle dictates how he was an average man looking to run a successful business, but over the course of one fateful night in Detroit, Ossian Sweet became the face of the African American race.
AwesomeAC More than 1 year ago
Arc of Justice follows the turbulent life and trial of Ossian Sweet. Sweet was a young and succesful doctor looking for a home to settle in with his young family. When he picked a house in a white neighborhood he knew there was going to be trouble and moved in th reinforcements. When the riot he expected broke out shots were fired and two white men were shot. Boyle's book takes on the famous trial that Clarence Darrow headed. Boyle's writing is drenched in the context of the time, showing that the south wasnt the only place where racism was running rampid, and linking together all the contextual happenings of northern america to show why Sweet felt he had to move in to his home armed and ready for trouble
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very interesting book. The beginning can be a little slow but as the story progresses it becomes quite interesting and can lend a very helping hand in understand Detroit in 1925. The racial tension is displayed thoughout the story and shows that despite being a city in the North, Detroit was filled with racial violence. It also has a powerful ending so be prepared.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an awesome book. It starts off by relaying the actual events of the incident that took place at Ossian Sweet's house. It then took the reader back in time to when Ossian young and brings the reader all the way up to the time at hand. Overall a great book and would recommend it to anyone. The ending is sad so be ready to cry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to buy this book for my history 442 class. This book is a long book but a great thriller. it ends sadly though...but a great story.
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daniloveshist442 More than 1 year ago
Bacon flip flopped through the time line to present a story from all sides. In a time of serious racial struggle, the Ossian Sweet case has been overlooked in history previously. Its implications of race issues integrated with class were thought provoking and worth great consideration. Bacon retold the true story in a way that would catch anyone's attention. This is a great inside look into the struggles of one man that can be linked with the struggles of many.
civilwargirl More than 1 year ago
This is the incredible true story of race, mob violence, and murder in Detroit during the 1920s. Doctor Ossian Sweet and his wife Gladys were just looking for the perfect home to raise their little daughter. They found the right hose--in a white neighborhood. Their moving in will cause a near race riot when shots are fired from within the house to chase off a mob that is pelting the house. This act of resistance and defense will trigger off the decades biggest murder trail the city will see and the nations renowned defense attorney Clarance Darrow representing the defendants. This is a powerful story that most be told and thanks to the skill of Kevin Boyle the Sweets are finally getting the justice they deserve.
Mayaelephant More than 1 year ago
It's a summer reading book and it is pure torture to read. I hate it. That is all.