Back to All Posts

Arc of Justice author visits Greenhills

Greenhills students recently enjoyed meeting  and asking questions of National Book Award-winning author Kevin Boyle.

Arc of Justice coverBoyle, whose book Arc of Justice recounts in harrowing detail the background and aftermath of Dr. Ossian Sweet’s attempt to move into the home he’d bought in an all-white neighborhood in the segregated Detroit of the 1920s, addressed students during an assembly in the Campbell Center starting at 9:25 a.m. Friday. His book was the summer read for Upper School students this year, and was also read by a large number of faculty and staff.

Arc of Justice, a muscular history that reads like a novel, won the National Book Award for non-fiction in 2004 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. In addition to telling the story of Ossian Sweet in a national context, it also includes Ann Arbor ties: nuanced portraits of Frank Murphy, who ultimately went on to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, and an in-depth look at perhaps the most famous American lawyer of all, Clarence Darrow. Both Darrow and Murphy studied at the University of Michigan Law School.

Boyle, who was born in Detroit, is a professor of American history at Northwestern University. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Detroit and his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. His focus has been the 20th century and includes works on labor history, race, class, and politics.

In addition to his morning talk and his class visits, Boyle spent time after the school day fielding questions from staff, faculty, and students about Detroit, his methods, and anything else that came  to mind.

“We were very excited to have an opportunity to talk with Professor Boyle about his work,” said 12th Grade Principal Bruce Zellers, who helped organize the visit. “It’s not every day we get a chance to have a discussion with a scholar of his stature and accomplishment.”

Saturday, April 24
Open to anyone ages 16 and up. Limited quantities available.
Greenhills is closed for mid-winter break and will return on Tuesday, Feb. 22.