"If you don't stand
for something, you will fall for something."
What would you do if you had to face down an angry and violent
What would you do if the only people you trusted were the handful
of friends next to you?
How far would you go to protect your family, your home, all the
things you'd worked hard for all your life?
Would you kill to protect your home and those you loved? Would you
die for what you believed was right?
What if you had a gun and a hundred rounds of ammunition? What if
the fear was stronger than reason?
These are the questions that Ossian Sweet must have asked himself
long before a hot September evening in 1924. As a child, he had
witnessed the cruel reality of racial hatred first hand. What would
he do if all that he was most important in the world to him was
threatened? How would he protect his life and the lives of those
he loved? Ossian Sweet, his wife, brothers and friends, chose to
take a stand that day, and with this one choice, the Detroit social
boundaries were changed forever.
In 1987, to preserve this important historical event and the trials
that followed it, Arthur Beer wrote his play "Malice Aforethought:
The Sweet Trials." As part of Black History Month and with
the support of the Michigan Association of Libraries and area law
asociations, the play will be presented in 2007.
The Detroit Metro Times voted Malice Aforethought: the Sweet Trials play the "Best chance to see Detroit history on stage." On the Metro Times Community Chest page on October 18, 2006, the web site tells readers:
"The idea is to bring to the stage one of the fundamental dramas of Detroit history: the landmark trial in which prominent African-American physician Ossian Sweet was charged with murder after firing into a threatening, all-white mob that surrounded his home in the neighborhood he and his wife had just integrated. The NAACP recruited Clarence Darrow, arguably the most famous attorney of the era, to take what looked like a hopeless case before an all-white jury. Arthur Beer, professor of theater at University of Detroit Mercy, heads up the production of Malice Aforethought Feb. 2-18. [...]"