The Sweet Trials Come Alive at The Wright Museum

Reenactment and Panel Discussion Sheds Light on Early Civil Rights Episode

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Michigan Humanities Council will host a dramatization and panel discussion based on the 2011-12 Great Michigan Read book, “Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age,  to take place Saturday, January 14, 2012 from 1 – 5 pm at the Museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center.

Says Juanita Moore, President & CEO of The Wright Museum, “Partnering with the Michigan Humanities Council to present this significant discussion on civil rights and The Sweet Trials to the community is exactly the kind of meaningful programming we strive to offer.  It is a perfect opportunity to expand our conversation on justice and human rights.”

 “Arc of Justice, written by Kevin Boyle, tells the story of African American physician Ossian Sweet and the chain of events that occurred after he purchased a home for his family in an all-white Detroit neighborhood in 1925.  The book won the 2004 National Book Award for nonfiction, was named a 2005 Michigan Notable Book, and was picked for the Great Michigan Read by a group of nearly 50 librarians, teachers, students, professors, authors and more from across the state.  By telling this story, Boyle illuminates other historical issues, including the building blocks of the civil rights movement, the Great Migration of African Americans to the north, the social and political climate of the 1920s, and the boomtown years of Detroit.


The dramatization, Dr. Sweet’s Tinderbox, written and directed by Brenda Perryman, provides historical context and powerful storytelling from which the audience can connect with Dr. Ossian Sweet’s story.  Following the reenactment will be poetry readings presented by InsideOut Detroit and a panel discussion moderated by Jocelyn Benson, Associate Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, along with panelists Judge Denise Page Hood of the United States District Court for Eastern District of Michigan and Dr. Irshad Altheimer, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Wayne State University.  Content for discussion will be developed by the students of the Detroit Urban Debate League and the Michigan State Debate Team.  Both events take place in the Museum’s General Motors Theater and are free and open to the public.  An RSVP is required; to do so please email or, or call (313) 494-5800.

The Great Michigan Read is a free statewide humanities initiative inviting Michiganders 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.  The program is presented by the Michigan Humanities Council with support from Meijer and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the Michigan Humanities Council

The Michigan Humanities Council is a private, nonprofit organization created to foster a better understanding of each other and our state through local cultural, historical and literary experiences for all. The Council was founded in 1974 and is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and individual donors.  For more information on future programs, upcoming grant opportunities or how you can support these efforts, please or call (517) 372-7770.

About The Wright Museum

Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience.  For more information, please visit

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