In 1925, Ossian Sweet was determined to purchase a home away from the impoverished area of Detroit that he was in. The only problem was that it was an all-white neighborhood.
The Florida native had to pay $6,000 more than the fair market value of the house, but the huge markup on the house’s value didn’t work. When news spread around town that a Black man was moving into town, the all-white neighborhood tried something more drastic.
Hundreds of whites mobbed the Sweet family their first night in the house. However, the doctor was prepared. He assembled 11 family members and friends inside the home, armed with ammunition, ready to take action if needed.
Ossian’s brother shot one of the mobsters dead and all 11 people inside the home were charged for first-degree murder. With the help of the NAACP, the trial ended in a hung jury. The rest of the family was not prosecuted.
Sweet was determined to challenge residential segregation. Regardless of what we see on the news, we too, have the right to live safely and free of police brutality, threats, and with access to services wherever we live.