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Arc of Justice: A Story of Race Riots, Civil Rights, and Murder in Jazz Age America by Kevin Boyle
In Arc of Justice, Kevin Boyle tells of the events in the 1920s that highlighted race relations during that era between Jim Crow laws and the civil rights movements of the 1960s. Ossian Sweet was a black physician who had seen a black teenager burned alive by a group of white men when he was a kid. He kept abreast of news stories about race riots in Oklahoma and Florida where blacks were murdered by white mobs. When he moved his family into a white neighborhood in Detroit in 1925, he feared reprisals from white mobs, and when one arrived, he defended his house with a group of black men including his brothers. The ensuing events left one white man dead and the black men charged with murder. The NAACP became aware of the case and came to his defense, launching their Legal Defense Fund, and ultimately exposing the racism and lies surrounding the case. Arc of Justice has received high praise with the New York Times saying, "Arc of Justice is an impressive work. Deftly weaving together biography, courtroom drama and social history, Mr. Boyle has produced a meticulously researched and engrossing book."
Winner of the 2004 National Book Award for nonfiction