Michigan Legal Milestone 1: Ossian Sweet Trial

MichiganLegalMilestones_1In June 1925, prominent African American medical doctor Dr. Ossian Sweet and his family, who were arrested and charged with the murder of one member of a white mob who tried to shoot at the Sweet home in Detroit.

The NAACP enlisted the aid of famed attorney Clarence Darrow who came to Michigan to defend the Sweets.

Presiding Judge Frank Murphy instructed the jury that "a man's house is his castle" and that Dr. Sweet had the right to defend it, if he had good reason to fear for the lives of his family or their property. These rights, he noted, belong to black people as well as whites.

Acquitted, the Sweet family moved back into their home at 2905 Garland Avenue, Detroit, and an important legal precedent had been set.

More information about the Ossian Sweet Trial. 

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