Earlier this month, John McWhorter of The Root posted an article on 10 books about race that haven’t gotten enough attention. I’m not so current with what’s out there, but as I went through his list, I thought, “of course this is important”, “of course this book has to be read.” So I went to my local library and got an armload of books.
I spent an entire weekend reading and finishing Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, by Kevin Boyle. The book is about the experiences of Dr. Ossian Sweet, a Black doctor who had the audacity to move into a house in a white neighbourhood of Detroit in the late 1920's. Dr. Sweet was this remarkable man whose parents had been slaves in Florida, and who, with hard work and determination, went to Howard University and became a medical doctor. There is murder, unbelievable racism, the rising influence of the KKK, and a grippping courtroom drama featuring Clarence Darrow.
The book is so well written that it reads like a brilliant work of fiction. I couldn't put it down. This book won the National Book Award in 2004, and deservedly so.