There appears to be a very concerted effort on the Internet today (aided by a very intellectually sloppy written book, The Arc Of Justice ) to make Ossian Sweet into something of a hero. The facts of his life, however, seem to paint quite a different picture. The brief bio on Ossian Sweet is this:: In 1919, after a long eight years, Sweet finally graduated from Wilberforce college (he was a lackluster student at best). He then applied for acceptance at Howard University College of Medicine, which was one of the better all-Negro medical schools. Because, and only because, many of the students had left for military service (World War I), Sweet was admitted to fill vacancies. Not surprisingly, Sweet graduated without distinction. No Negro hospital offered him a position. He went to Detroit and opened a medical practice (the building in which Sweet’s office was located was owned by a black pharmacist and Sweet worked out a rent deal where he would recommend all his clients to him). After less than a year of practice, Sweet, along with his new wife, left for France. While in France, Sweet claimed to have studied at Paris’ most distinguished medical school: Madame Curie Institute. He also claimed to have traveled to Vienna and studied medicine there. However, no evidence to the veracity of these two claims exist (Sweet did not claim he was enrolled in any medical schools in Europe, just that he “attended classes”). It should also be noted that Sweet could not speak French or German. So why did he go to Europe? Likely, so he could hang a plaque on his wall inferring that he studied medicine at Europe’s finest medical schools. His clients were all African-Americans, so none would be capable of going to the expense of trying to prove he didn’t actually enroll in any classes. That would be a very unethical thing to do, right? Read on.
— Sweet’s wife and child died under mysterious circumstances (Ossian Sweet , as noted in the book Arc of Justice, had a very violent tempter and his relationship with his wife was was often extremely contentious).1
— According to the book Arc Of Justice, after Sweet’s wife and child died, a female tried to live with him but she fled because of battering. A male also tried to live with Sweet but he too was battered and fled.
— Ossian Sweet was stripped of his medical license sometime in the 1930s. Note: There can be only ONE reason for the state of Michigan to pull his license: FRAUD. Sweet’s only activity as a doctor was diagnosing an ailment then recommending a treatment. Most likely Sweet was working in cahoots with the black pharmacist i.e. Sweet would conjure up phony ailments on his clients, then Sweet and the pharmacist would split the money made from Sweet’s phony prescriptions.
–Sweet was arrested for practicing medicine without a license; and he was also arrested for selling tobacco to minors.
My own honest and dispassionate assessment of Ossian Sweet, largely based on the evidence from Arc of Justice, is that he was a completely unremarkable man in every way , though be behaved like an elitist. Sweet was painfully unsociable – not developing a single enduring friendship in his entire life. He was also a VERY unethical man as well e.g. he lied to his clients about medical conditions to line his own pockets; he lied about going to Europe’s best medical schools; he lied about having witnessed a lynching when he was 5-years-old; he lied about being a doctor – after his license was pulled – and took out numerous loans. In 1960, Ossian Sweet, deep in debt and facing eviction, his life a complete failure, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Ossian Sweet was considered no hero at the time he shot himself.
A Planned Massacre? The evidence is pretty darn convincing.
In 1925 … Dr. Ossian Sweet bought a home in an established American community – knowingly violating the color line – in a deliberate attempt to provoke the local American population to remove him. In three previous attempts over the prior few months in Detroit suburbs, Negroes had attempted to move into all-American neighborhoods , only to be met with protests and physical expulsion. To the Americans this was NOT about racial superiority. It was about protecting their property values; and also protecting their families. It was no myth that Negroes moving into American-built residential communities would create a decline in neighborhood property values. It was also no myth that Negro males had a known crime problem. What the Americans insisted upon at that time was that the Negro build his own community(ies) … separate from the Americans. However, Negroes in Detroit, like everywhere else in American urban centers, as white people were now discovering by 1925, would NOT build their own home. This was the case with Ossian Sweet. He paid more than 25% above the property value for his home (where in the heck did he get the money from? Likely, the NAACP).
The Scheme: There is enough evidence to convince me that Ossian Sweet and his cohorts had planned a MASSACRE of white people, and it was either orchestrated by, or involved, the NAACP. The Plan (scheme) appeared to be this:: Sweet would move into a house in a white community … where he knew his presence was certain to cause a neighborhood protest. He would bring with him nine other black males, armed to the gills with guns & ammo. And inside Sweet’s home they would wait for white people to come barging in to physically remove them. The Negroes would then open fire on the unarmed white people. And after the MASSACRE, the men involved would allow themselves to be arrested and plead defense of their life and property from a raging mob. The renowned Clarence Darrow, a proud member of the NAACP at this time, would then be summoned by the NAACP to represent the Negroes. And buttressing the case for a planned massacre and Darrow’s representation is the fact that Sweet postponed his move-in date until after Darrow finished with the Scopes trial in Tennessee. And how would the NAACP expect to profit from this arrange massacre? With the presence of Darrow, it would be headline news in every major metropolitan area in the country i.e. priceless coast to coast publicity for the still largely unknown NAACP for the duration of the trial. And after the trial, well, if Darrow lost, the NAACP would claim a prejudiced white jury. They still would get the benefit of coast-to-coast publicly. However, if Darrow got an acquittal for the men, this is where the NAACP would expect to really cash in. They would naturally be rocketed to instant stardom status among Negroes. And what would be the expectation here? The NAACP’s empty treasury would explode anew with dues paying members. The NAACP would also be viewed as the Negro’s new guardian of integration justice, and a defender against the heavy-handed injustices white people allegedly continually inflicted on the Negro people all across America. This was, again, in my opinion, how it was supposed to play out.
The best laid schemes of mice and men…
Move-in date Sept. 7, 1925:
First, remember there were three previous attempts by Negroes to move into American communities, and each time the Negroes were forced to leave (there were no reported injuries). Ossian Sweet and his cohorts, naturally, expected this same scenario to play out. However, it should also be pointed out that if the blacks did open fire on Americans, for the black participants to have any chance for a legitimate defense, it was first necessary to have the white people come charging into Sweet’s residence.
As ten American police officers stood guard in front of Sweet’s home on September 7th, nine Negro men helped Sweet move a few household items into his home, including a concealed large cache of guns and ammo. In sweltering 105 degree heat the Negroes waited throughout the day and then the night for the Americans to come charging into the home to forcibly evict them.
However, on this first day, though a large number of Americans gathered outside Sweet’s home (estimates range from 25 up to 100), and much to the dismay of the waiting Negroes, no home invasion occurred — not even a hint of one.
On the second day, again the heat index rose to over 100 degrees as the ten Negro males (plus Sweet’s wife and child) spent the long day waiting in the small home. By evening time, and with no hint of a mob attack, the Negroes’ nerves had become frayed, which made them impatient. When a rock hit the house, this was provocation enough. They all stuck their guns out the window and simultaneously opened fire on the group of people outside the home. The result of the volley was one American dead and one seriously wounded. There were at least 9 police officers (all Americans) stationed outside Sweet’s home that evening. When the shots were fired the officers charged into Sweet’s home and demanded to know why on earth the Negroes fired their guns. When the officer in charge found out that an innocent American had been slain, he ordered the arrest of all the Negroes (including Mrs. Sweet).
Clarence Darrow (as planned) was summoned … and he accepted – being paid a mind-boggling fee at that time of $5000 dollars. In the end Darrow did his lob and secured a hung jury for all the Negroes (not a single one of the ten Negro males who participated in the “massacre” scheme was convicted of a crime in this case). The NAACP also (as planned) used this case to get nationwide publicity for its organization among the Negro people.
Innocent White Victims Of This Attempted Massacre :
* Eric Houghberg (seriously injured but survived)
* Leon Breiner (deceased, left behind wife and daughter)
(1) Death Of Sweet’s Wife & Child:: Sweet’s wife was said to have died, like his daughter, of tuberculosis. However, the mystery is where both could have possibly contracted the disease, and in such a short period of time. They lived in a white community, before and after the trial (TB was a problem in black communities at that time but not the white communities). Those who claim it was TB, insists Mrs. Sweet contracted the disease when she was incarcerated in the [white man’s] jail in Detroit during the trial. But she was only there for about 30 days. Highly implausible to say the least. Since Sweet was a doctor, he certainly had access to many drugs that could have inflicted a death with similar symptoms to TB. No question Ossian Sweet loathed his wife. When she left for Arizona to attempt to recover from whatever she thought was ailing her, she made a miraculous recovery. When she returned to Ossian Sweet, she was dead in just a few months. I wonder if there was a life insurance policy? It should also be stated that Mrs. Sweet knew that Ossian did not attend any medical classes in Europe. How many other unethical things Ossian did was Mrs. Sweet aware of?
(2) Property Values: A commission was set up by Detroit mayor immediately following the arrest of the 11 blacks (including Ossian Sweet’s wife). The report (according to the book ‘Chronological History of The Negro’), stated that the hostile attitude of whites toward blacks, when blacks attempted to move into established white neighborhoods, was mostly based on “fear of property value depreciation”.