"When housing segregation was born"

By
Real Estate Agent with HER Realtors

Broker Bryant's "Martin Luther King, rest in peace my brother"  about him sneaking out as a boy in the 1960's to watch a Ku Klux Klan rally, reminded me of a book "Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age" by Kevin Boyle. 

Ossian Sweet, the main character in this true story was haunted by seeing a lynching as a child in Florida.  This was pre- Martin Luther King, the teens and twenties... The majority of the story takes place in Detroit but Sweet went to college in Ohio at Wilberforce University, which describes itself as" "The oldest private African-American university in the United States" on it's website.  Sweet attended medical school at Howard University in Washington D.C. Boyle's book really took me back into time and on a tour of America in an era of expansion.

Kevin Boyle wrote "Housing segregation is so common today that it may almost seem natural to many people. But it wasn't always that way. There was a moment in time when segregation was created, and people fought against it. And this story is about that moment in time."

Boyle won the National Book Award (non-fiction) in 2005 for 'Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age.'  Boyle is a  professor of history at Ohio State University. Boyle is a native of Detroit. 

The legendary Clarence Darrow, is one of the characters in this true story... notorious at the time because of the recent Scopes Monkey Trials.  The story of Dr. Ossian Sweet in Detroit was in all the newspapers nationwide at the time yet I never heard of Dr. Sweet until I read this book in 2005.  

Anyone who enjoys history should read this book, it is a fascinating era in America.   

OSU History Department - Kevin Boyle

Happy Martin Luther King Day. 

Equal Housing Opportunity

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Rainer
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Bonnie Erickson
Tangletown Realty - Saint Paul, MN
Maureen, That's fascinating.  When does Boyle say that segregation started?  I'll have to get the book.  
Jan 15, 2007 03:06 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate
Read the book... I liked that quote but I don't think that segregation started in Detroit with this event from what I read in the book.  Dr. Sweet and his wife lived in an area known as Black Bottom, which was a slum, they wanted to move to a nicer neighborhood. It has been a couple of years so I can't remember if the Black Bottom area was segregated racially. The Sweets could afford more. Boyle talks about the rapid growth of Detroit, immigration from Europe and migration from the south for the jobs in the auto industry. I think the point may be that was when (in the Jazz age..as America was expanding)  housing segregation was born in Northern cities. 
Jan 15, 2007 05:54 PM #2
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Rainmaker
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Maureen McCabe

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