This tautly told story steps back to a time when Detroit's boosters described their city as one of the most cosmopolitan in the world. It was also a city in which tensions between blacks and whites seemed manageable. Yet all that changed in 1925, when a black family named Sweet bought and moved into a house in a white neighborhood. What began with mothers bringing their children to gawk and stare soon became an angry mob of men, some of them from the local KKK, with stones.
The violence that ensued landed Ossian Sweet, a doctor from the "talented tenth," and others from his family in jail and compelled the NAACP -- which had taken up the Sweets' case -- to hire famed attorney Clarence Darrow, who had just finished defending the plaintiff in Tennessee v. John Scopes. Darrow's defense led to one of the most incendiary courtroom dramas in the history of the United States. The outcome was a triumph of cooperation that transcended race in the name of justice.