BMCC Book Club with Kevin Boyle, Ph.D.

Tuesday, May 3 | 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm

Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age

 In 1925, Detroit was a smoky swirl of jazz and speakeasies, assembly lines and fistfights. The advent of automobiles had brought workers from around the globe to compete for manufacturing jobs, and tensions often flared with the KKK in ascendance and violence rising. Ossian Sweet, a proud Negro doctor-grandson of a slave-had made the long climb from the ghetto to a home of his own in a previously all-white neighborhood. Yet just after his arrival, a mob gathered outside his house; suddenly, shots rang out: Sweet, or one of his defenders, had accidentally killed one of the whites threatening their lives and homes.

And so it began-a chain of events that brought America's greatest attorney, Clarence Darrow, into the fray and transformed Sweet into a controversial symbol of equality. 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 and 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.

Arc of Justice is the winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

We encourage you to purchase from your local book store!

Other noteworthy books from our BMCC Keynote Speakers:

By Kevin Boyle, Ph.D:

  • The Shattering: America in the 1960s
  • The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism1945-1968
  • Muddy Boots and Ragged ApronsImages of Working-Class Detroit, 1900-1930 (with Victoria Getis)
  • Organized Labor and American Politics, 1894-1994


By Donna Beegle, Ph.D.:

  • See Poverty . . . Be the Difference!


By Majora Carter:

  • Reclaiming Your Community: You Don’t Have to Move Out of Your Neighborhood to Live in a Better One


By Kevin Cokley, Ph.D.:

  • The Myth of Black Anti-Intellectualism
  • Making Black Lives Matter: Confronting Anti-Black Racism.


By Tim Wise:

  • Dispatches from the Race War
  • Under the Affluence
  • Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority
  • Colorblind
  • White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son
  • Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White
  • Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male
  • Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama.