The Great Michigan Read is a statewide initiative inviting Michiganians to read and participate in book discussions and events in their hometowns. This year the book selected is Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle.
Arc of Justice follows the 1925 murder trial of African American doctor, Ossian Sweet, who was accused of murdering a white person during a mob attack on his home in Detroit. It includes a history of the Sweet family and a portrait of his attorney, the famed Clarence Darrow.
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. (It) 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.*
CADL and its community partners are presenting several special events related to the themes of the book beginning with a Night of Jazz on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. The Michigan State University Jazz Ensemble will perform music from the 1920s era in the Mills Supplies Building on Michigan Avenue at the corner of Museum Drive. This event is co-sponsored by Traction.
Then, on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. attend The Cartography of Race in CADL Downtown Lansing’s auditorium, presented by Professor Matthew Daley, an expert on Detroit’s rapid urban growth from 1915 to 1945. Discover how white homeowners prevented African Americans from moving into their neighborhoods, creating maps that defined the patterns of segregation for decades.
The author Kevin Boyle will be front and center on Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School at 300 S. Capitol Avenue on the corner of W. Washtenaw. He will discuss his book and this period of Michigan history. Cooley is a co-sponsor for this program and will also provide copies of the author’s book for purchase and signing at the event.
The library has books related to these events:
- Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle
- One Man’s Castle : Clarence Darrow in Defense of the American Dream by Phyllis Vine
- Journey to Freedom : The African-American Great Migration by Maurice Isserman
- America in the 1920s by Edmund Lindop
- One Hundred Percent American : The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s by Thomas R. Pegram
* Taken from the publisher’s summary.
-Anne R., CADL Reference Librarian