National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2004
The grandson of a slave, Dr. Ossian Sweet moved his family to an all-white Detroit neighborhood in 1925. When his neighbors attempted to drive him out, Sweet defended himself, resulting in the death of a white man and a murder trial for Sweet. There followed one of the most important (and shockingly unknown) cases in Civil Rights history. Also caught up in the intense courtroom drama were legal giant Clarence Darrow and the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Highly esteemed history professor, author and editor Kevin Boyle was presented with the National Book Award for this stunning literary achievement. Arc of Justice artfully captures a tumultuous period in American history as it tells a shocking story of violence and racial strife.
"This popular history, which explores the politics of racism and the internecine battles within the nascent Civil Rights movement, grips right up to the stunning jaw-dropper of an ending." (Publishers Weekly)
"Boyle, a history professor, brings immediacy and drama to the social and economic factors that ignited racial violence, provoked the compelling court case, and set in motion the civil rights struggle." (Booklist)
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