Everyone’s Reading is a city-wide Metro-Detroit event Jan. 15-April 26, 2007. There are discussions, panels, exhibitions, book signings and lectures planned around Arc of Justice. The award winning book by Kevin Boyle is available now at the Book Beat in a special hardcover discounted edition, priced at $7.99. (the regular hardcover price is $26. and the paperback is $14.95) To purchase the book online click: ARC OF JUSTICE SPECIAL
About the Book: Sometimes the national significance of local events is overlooked or underestimated. In Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, author Kevin Boyle recounts a sensational 1925 murder trial in Detroit. The circumstances of the case and the ensuing courtroom drama had national implications for the emerging Civil Rights movement. The story of Ossian Sweet, however is not generally well known in the Metro Detroit area.
In 1925, Detroit was a smoky swirl of jazz and speakeasies, assembly lines and fistfights. The burgeoning auto industry brought workers from around the globe to compete for manufacturing jobs, and tensions often flared. Ossian Sweet, a doctor and grandson of a slave, had made the long climb from the ghetto to a home of his own in a previously all-white east side neighborhood. Just after his arrival, a mob gathered outside his house. Suddenly, shots rang out and a white man was dead.
Sweet, his wife and 9 other black adults were arrested, held without bail and charged with murder and conspiracy. The case attracted the attention of a fledgling NAACP, which used the situation as a way to mobilize public support for its legal defence fund. With the NAACP’s involvement, the upcoming trial received national attention. Clarence Darrow, the legendary labor lawyer and Scopes Monkey Trial defender, agreed to take the Sweet case. Arc of Justice recounts the trial, explores the politics of racism and the growing pains of a young Civil Rights movement, and poignantly captures the epic tale of a man trapped by the battles of his era’s changing times. The story may be 80 years old, but it has important lessons for today.
Arc of Justice won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2004, was a New York Times Notable Book; and was cited as one of 2004’s “Best Books” by the Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Detroit Free Press, Seattle Times, and Salon.com
Mr. Bolye will be signing the book at the Detroit Public Library Saturday, February 3 at 2:00pm, Farmington Community Library; Sunday, February 4 at 1:30pm, Clinton-Macomb Public Library – Main Monday, April 16 at 1:00pm, Baldwin Public Library Monday, April 16 at 7:00pm, Southfield Public Library Tuesday, April 17 at 2:00pm, Rochester Hills Public Library Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00pm, Canton Public Library Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00pm.
Some of the events include: Feb. 14th at 7 pm, Rabbi Sherwin Wine will address questions of race at the Baldwin Public Library. Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 PM at the Clinton Twonship Library Join Dr. Isaiah McKinnon – University of Detroit Mercy Professor, motivational speaker, and former Detroit Police Chief – as he discusses the life and trial of Dr. Ossian Sweet and Arc of Justice. Tuesday, January 30 from 7:00 – 9:00pm
at the Southfield Library Auditorium Rochelle E. Danquah, Director of Education and Public Programs at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, will discuss the experiences of African Americans in Detroit over a 65-year period.
Sweets Project Exhibit
A travelling display of images and information of the era from the University of Detroit Mercy. In the Roaring Twenties, Ossian Sweet, the young physician arrived alone in Detroit. Sweet did not know that he would establish a thriving medical 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 and friends in prison, bring the famous Clarence Darrow to defend them and launch a landmark battle that helped ignite the struggle for civil rights. The Library exhibits will be held:
January 11 – 18 Farmington Community Library
January 19 – 29 Detroit Public Library
Jan. 30 – Feb. 2 University of Detroit Mercy
February 3 – 5 Detroit Public Library
February 7 – 13 St. Claire Shores Public Library
February 15 – 21 Shelby Township Library
Feb. 23 – Mar. 1 Macomb County Library
March 3 – 11 Chesterfield Public Library
March 13 – 19 Rochester Hills Public Library
March 21 – 27 Southfield Public Library
Mar. 29 – Apr. 5 Bloomfield Twp. Public Library
April 7 – 15 Canton Public Library
April 17 – 23 Royal Oak Public Library
For more information on events across the Detroit area please visit EVERYONE’S READING INFO
Everyone’s Reading is a community wide reading program sponsored by public libraries in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. Similar to other One Book, One Community programs across the country, Everyone’s Reading promotes community dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book.