SLDL to host programs supporting Great Michigan Read

All Michigan residents are encouraged to read and discuss the book "Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age' by Kevin Boyle during the Great Michigan Read. "Arc of Justice' is the true story of Dr. Ossian Sweet, a black physician who moved his family into an all-white neighborhood in Detroit in 1925. Sweet and others in his home were charged with murder after defending their new home from a mob. Legendary attorney Clarence Darrow was the lawyer for the defense during the pivotal civil rights trial.
Oct 3, 2011


Boyle’s thorough account of the Sweet trial and its aftermath combines courtroom drama, biography and social history in this often-forgotten episode of Michigan history.

Spring Lake District Library will be hosting a series of events in support of the book. Here is the schedule of programs:

— Wednesday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.: “The Sweet Trial.” Guest speaker Dr. Walter Brame, who served as president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Urban League from 1979-92, will discuss the civil rights aspects of the Sweet trial.

— Sunday, Oct. 16, 3-4 p.m.: “Detroit’s Jazz Age.” Live music featuring 1920s Detroit Jazz classics performed by George Benson, Jim Cooper, Joe Oprea and Mike Van Lente. Introductions and commentary by WBLV-FM jazz expert Lazaro Vega. This program is funded in part by Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

— Tuesday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m.: “Community Book Discussion.” Hope College professor Dr. Fred Johnson III will lead a community book discussion of “Arc of Justice.” Copies of the book are available at Spring Lake District Library. The public is invited to and share their thoughts about the book.

— Wednesday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m.: “The Klan in Michigan.” Documentary filmmaker Dr. David Schock answers audience questions following a free screening about the Klan in Michigan. Schock, a former Hope College professor, interviewed historians throughout the state to obtain the information contained in the film which examines the history of the KKK in Michigan.

The Great Michigan Read is a free statewide humanities initiative inviting Michiganians to read and participate in book discussions and events in their hometowns. Intended for young adults to senior citizens, the Great Michigan Read aims to make literature more accessible and appealing, while also encouraging residents to learn more about their state.


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