The Sweet Trials: A Chronology
1915 Detroit's black population is 7,000.  Auto sales begin to increase rapidly, requiring many new workers.  A massive migration to Detroit is about to begin.
Fall, 1921 Membership in the Ku Klux Klan in Detroit totals 3,000.
1922 Dr. Ossian Sweet meets and marries Gladys Mitchell.
Spring, 1923 Membership in the KKK in Detroit totals 22,000
Oct. 21, 1923 KKKers riot at an anti-Klan rally.
Nov., 1923 Between 25,000 and 50,000 KKKers attend a rally in Dearborn township.
Nov., 1923 John Smith narrowly defeats Klan-supported candidate Charles Bowles to become Detroit's new mayor.
Fall, 1924 Ossian and Gladys Sweet return to Detroit after an extended stay in Europe.
May, 1925 Ossian Sweet signs purchase agreement to buy for $18,500 a house at 2905 Garland, in an all-white Detroit neighborhood.  He plans to move into his new home with his family in July.
June 23, 1925 An angry white mob forces Dr. Alexander Turner, a black doctor, from a home he had newly purchased in a previously all-white neighborhood of Detroit.
July 7, 1925 Several hundred whites, many of them armed, gather in front of the home of Vollington Bristol only hours after he moved into his home in a previously all-white neighborhood.
July 10, 1925 Four thousand whites surround the home of John Fletcher, a black, one day after he moved into it.  The crowd shouts "Lynch him!" and hurls bricks, rocks, and coal at the house.  The next day Fletcher and his family, fearing for their lives, move out.
July 14, 1925. A meeting of "the Waterworks Park Improvement Association" is held at the Howe school to discuss the impending move of Ossian Sweet into his home on Garland Avenue.  The main speaker at the meeting was the head of the group that organized for the eviction of Dr. Turner.
Late July, 1925 Ossian Sweet decides to postpone his move into his home on Garland.
Sept. 8, 1925 After telling the police of his intentions, Dr. Sweet and his family move into their new home on Garland.  That night a crowd of 500 to 800 people gather outside the Sweet home.
Sept. 9, 1925 A large crowd again gathers in front of the Sweet home.   Rocks are thrown against the house.  At 8:25 in the evening shots ring out from an upper-floor room in the Sweet home.  One of the bullets strikes and kills Leon Breiner.  Eleven occupants of the Sweet home (all occupants except a one-year-old baby) are arrested.
Sept. 10, 1925 Police announce that the eleven occupants of the Sweet home will be charged with first-degree murder.
Sept. 16, 1925 A three-day preliminary hearing begins in Recorder's Court on St. Antoine Street.
Oct. 2, 1925 Judge Frank Murphy denies bail for ten of the defendants.  Gladys Sweet is released on $5,000 bail.
Oct. 7, 1925 The NAACP contacts Darrow and asks him to represent Sweet and the other defendants in their upcoming trial.
Oct. 30, 1925 The trial of The People of Michigan v. Ossian Sweet et al. begins
Nov. 3, 1925 Mayor Smith is re-elected, defeating Klan-backed candidate Bowles, 140,000 to 110,000.
Nov. 8, 1925 Clarence Darrow address an African-American audience at the Detroit YMCA.
Nov. 17-19, 1925  Ossian Sweet testifies.
Nov. 25, 1925 The case goes to the jury.
Nov. 27, 1925 After 46 hours of deliberation, the jury says it is unable to reach a verdict.  Judge Murphy declares a mistrial and dismisses the jury.
December, 1925 Judge Murphy releases all defendants on bail.
Winter, 1925 The Sweet house is set on fire, but the blaze is extinguished before it causes major damage.
April 19, 1926 The trial of The People of Michigan v. Henry Sweet begins.  (Henry Sweet is the occupant who fired the bullet that killed Breiner.)
May 11, 1926 Darrow delivers a seven-hour closing argument for the defense in the Sweet trial.
May 13, 1926 After four hours of deliberations, the jury returns with its verdict of "Not Guilty."
July 21, 1927 Prosecutor Toms finally dismisses all charges against the remaining ten defendants.
1927 Leon Breiner's widow sues Sweet for $150,000, claiming he wrongfully caused the death of her husband.  The suit is eventually dismissed.
1928 Ossian Sweet, after failing to find a buyer for his house, moves back into his home on Garland.
1944 Sweet sells his Garland Avenue home.
1944 Justice Frank Murphy dissents in Korematsu v. United States, a landmark decision of the U. S. Supreme Court upholding a wartime exclusion order directed against Japanese-Americans.
March 19, 1960 Dr. Ossian Sweet commits suicide.
July, 1967 Forty-three persons are killed in six days of racial rioting in Detroit.  The riots destroy the dental offices of Dr. Otis Sweet and he retires from practice.
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