Thursday, June 14, 2012

Go back to Africa!

"The destruction of a black family's home by racist whites was hardly unique in the Midwest at this time. In 1923, the Michigan State Supreme Court had upheld the legality of racially restrictive provisions in the sale of private homes. Most Michigan whites felt that blacks had no right to purchase homes in predominantly white communities. Four years before the Littles' fire, in June 1925, a black couple, Dr. Ossian Sweet and his wife Gladys, purchased a single-family home in East Detroit, a white neighbourhood, escaping Detroit's largest ghetto, known as the Black Bottom, and were forced to pay $18,500 even though the fair market value of the modest bungalow was under $13,000. On the night the Sweets moved in, despite the presence of a police inspector, hundreds of angry whites surrounded the house and began smashing its windows with rocks and bricks. Several  of the Sweets' friends shot into the mob, killing one man and wounding another. Ossian and Gladys Sweet plus nine others were subsequently charged with murder. The NAACP vigorously took up the case, hiring celebrated defense attorney Clarence Darrow. Despite an all-white jury, eight of the eleven were acquitted; the jury divided on the remaining three. The judge subsequently declared a mistrial, and ultimately the Sweets were freed."

- Manning Marable, 'Malcolm X'

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