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Arc of Justice While the 1920s are often romanticized as a prosperous era of flappers and jazz-filled speakeasies, for many black Americans the decade is best ...Arc of JusticeHistory, Nonfiction While the 1920s are often romanticized as a prosperous era of flappers and jazz-filled speakeasies, for many black Americans the decade is best ...2004-09-10Henry Holt & Company

Arc of Justice

Genre: History, Nonfiction; Author: Kevin Boyle; Status: In Season; Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

While the 1920s are often romanticized as a prosperous era of flappers and jazz-filled speakeasies, for many black Americans the decade is best characterized by a roaring opposition to integration in Northern cities. Arc of Justice explores an explosive 1925 incident in which Ossian Sweet – an ambitious black physician who moved to a white, KKK-infested Detroit neighborhood – rallied 10 friends and relatives to combat an angry, stone-throwing mob, resulting in the shooting death of a white man. Boyle’s page-turning account of the incident and the landmark murder trial is both exhaustive and exhausting: He spins a suspenseful narrative, but then abandons it for a 125-page analysis of Sweet’s lineage. When Boyle returns to the central story, his dynamic character sketches (especially of legendary defense attorney Clarence Darrow) make for riveting courtroom theater.

Originally posted September 10 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT

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