Ossian Sweet - The NAACP & A Planned Massacre (1925)
Ossian Sweet And The NAACP ... In A Scheme To Massacre White People (1925)?
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The TRUE Story Of The Ossian Sweet Case
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).
--Sweet applied for acceptance at Howard University College of Medicine ( 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.
--Sweet graduated without distinction. No Negro hospital offerd him a position.
-- Sweet moved to Detroit and opened up 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, went to France. While in France, Sweet - he claims - attended Madame Curie Institute, France's most distinguished medical school. After attending classes at Madame Curie Institute, Sweet and his wife traveled to Vienna and - Sweet claims - he attended medical classes there. And where did Sweet get the money to go to Europe? Connecting the dots here...it's pretty obvious he took all the money the two received from wedding gifts and used THAT to fund his trip.
(NOTE: There is no evidence to the veracity of Sweet's claims that he "attended" [not enrolled in?] these medical schools. 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 medical school. That would be a very unethical thing to do, right? Read on.)
-- Sweet and his wife returned to America in July 1924, with a new baby (Sweet and his family moved back in with his wife's parents - who lived in a predominantly American [white] community)
-- Nine months after returning from Europe, Sweet mysteriously produced $3,500 to put a down payment on a home in an American (white) community. He was also being driven around now by a chauffeur (Sweet charged his clients $1.00 for his services , meaning he had to have seen well more than 3,500! clients over that nine month period to come up with his down payment - plus living expenses).
-- Ossian Sweet, his wife and his child moved into their new home. Accompanying them were nine black males , and concealed in boxes, are rifles and a large cache of ammo. And in Sweet's small home - in blistering heat - they impatiently waited for an American mob to charge in and try to forcibly evict them.
-- After two days waiting...the impatient Negroes, without any provocation, aimed their guns out the top story window and fired a volley into the crowd of Americans below. One American was murdered.
--The NAACP arrived immediately after the Negroes were arrested and summons Clarence Darrow to the rescue...
-- Sweet's wife and child suddenly took ill and died (NOTE: Sweet, according to the book Arc of Justice, had a very violent tempter and his relationship with his wife 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 (there can be only ONE reason for the state of Michigan to pull his license: FRAUD. Sweet most likely 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. He was also arrested for selling tobacco to minors.
My own honest and dispassionate assessment of Ossian Sweet, largely based on 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 (he took out numerous loans claiming he was a doctor after his license was pulled). 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 Negroes build their 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 homes. 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 down payment of $3200? Likely, the same organization that paid Clarence Darrow --the NAACP).
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 there inside Sweet's home they would all wait for white people to come barging in to physically remove them -- like they had done in other white neighborhoods. The Negroes would then all open fire on them. 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 that 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 what would be in it for the NAACP to arrange this 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, and for the duration of the trial. The NAACP would also get to promote itself by inference coast to coast - and free of charge - as an advocate and defender for the Negro's right to integrate. 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 expected 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 (Sweet bought the home in early May, then waited until Darrow was done with the Scopes trial): First, remember, over the previous 12 months there were three attempts by Negroes to move into American communities ... and each time the Negroes were forced to leave (there were no reported injuries). Ossian Sweet, naturally, expected this same scenario to play out. However, it should also be pointed out that for the participants in this "massacre" scheme 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, and a crowd of Americans (about 25 to 50) watched, 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. Much to the disappointment of the waiting Negroes, however, no home invasion occurred -- not even a hint of one.
On the second day, again the heat index rose to over 100 degrees and, again, the ten Negro males (plus Sweet's wife and child) waited in the small home. By evening time, and with no hint of a mob attack, the Negroes' frayed nerves had 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 demanding to know why on earth the Negroes were firing 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 by the NAACP ... 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 this massacre scheme was ever convicted of a crime. In other words, they all got away with murder. 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?
(2) Property Values: A commission was set up by Detroit mayor immediately following the arrest of Ossian Sweet' and the others. 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".
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