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

ISBN13: 9781429900164
Release Date: April 1st 2007
Published by: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 432

An electrifying story of the sensational murder trial that divided a city and ignited the civil rights struggle

In 1925, Detroit was a smoky swirl of jazz and speakeasies, assembly lines and fistfights. The advent of automobiles had brought workers from around the globe to compete for manufacturing jobs, and tensions often flared with the KKK in ascendance and violence rising. Ossian Sweet, a proud Negro doctor-grandson of a slave-had made the long climb from the ghetto to a home of his own in a previously all-white neighborhood. Yet just after his arrival, a mob gathered outside his house; suddenly, shots rang out: Sweet, or one of his defenders, had accidentally killed one of the whites threatening their lives and homes.

And so it began-a chain of events that brought America's greatest attorney, Clarence Darrow, into the fray and transformed Sweet into a controversial symbol of equality. Historian Kevin Boyle weaves the police investigation and courtroom drama of Sweet's murder trial into an unforgettable tapestry of narrative history that documents the volatile America of the 1920s and movingly re-creates the Sweet family's journey from slavery through the Great Migration to the middle class. Ossian Sweet's story, so richly and poignantly captured here, is an epic tale of one man trapped by the battles of his era's changing times.

Arc of Justice is the winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

More work like this

Book Conversation on May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem
Imani Perry, Kinohi Nishikawa
Conversations with Maya Angelou
Claudia Tate
The Difficult Miracle: The Living Legacy of June Jordan
Imani Perry
Reimagining Science and Technology
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Ruha Benjamin

Upcoming Events

Walking Histories: Race and Protest at Princeton and in Trenton
May 31, 2018 @ 3:00 pm
AAS Reunions Mixer
Jun 1, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Class Day 2018
Jun 4, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Senator Cory Booker To Deliver Class Day Address
Jun 4, 2018 @ 10:30 am
Nell Painter—Old in Art School
Jun 21, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
i am my ancestors’ wildest dreams: contemporary cultures of black impossibility
Oct 18, 2018 - Oct 20, 2018