Arts/Culture
3:00 pm
Sun September 4, 2011

"Arc of Justice" chosen for statewide reading program

High school students from Detroit to Marquette will be participating in this year’s Great Michigan Read, a free, statewide book club put on by the Michigan Humanities Council.

This year’s book is "Arc of Justice" by Kevin Boyle. It’s a true story about an African American physician in the 1920s that moves to an all-white neighborhood in Detroit and defends his family’s right to live there.

Greg Parker is with the Michigan Humanities Council. He says students and adults alike can learn many lessons from Boyle's book, lessons about "tolerance, equality and civil rights."

Parker also hopes people will be drawn to the fact that the events in the book took place in Detroit, Michigan:

"They can say, ‘Hey that happened in my backyard, that happened in my neighborhood, that happened in my state.’ And by being interested in it they’ll be more likely to pick up the book and read it."

Parker says book club discussions and events are planned around the state now through early next year. Author Kevin Boyle will also tour the state to talk about his book.

The New York Times reviewed "Arc of Justice" in 2004 when the book was first published. Here's an excerpt:

Kevin Boyle's ''Arc of Justice'' is by far the most cogent and thorough account yet of the trial and its aftermath (another book, Phyllis Vine's ''One Man's Castle,'' appeared earlier this year). One of its virtues is the way Boyle vividly recreates the energy and menace of Detroit in 1925. Thousands of poor Southern blacks were arriving every year in search of industrial jobs. For a brief moment, it seemed the racist traditions of Jim Crow might arrive with them. In Detroit, the Klan grew so powerful that its mayoral candidate would have won a special election in 1924 if the other side had not used its entrenched position to overturn the results. Enraged, the Klan's supporters swore to retake the city the next year.