The American Dream In Kevin Boyle's Arc Of Justice

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Arc of Justice by Kevin Boyle highlights the racial tensions in Detroit in the 1920s. The book focuses on the life of an African American named Ossian Sweet who moves his family into a home in an all-white neighborhood. Racial tensions rise between “ethnic whites” and African Americans. Throughout the book it is apparent of the two conflicting views of what “100 percent American” and the “American Dream” mean and what it takes to achieve it. The American Dream for ethnic whites was a racial divide in education, employment, wealth and social mobility. It was a strong need to protect white ideology. Ethnic whites portray this early on by having informal borders in their cities. “Bit by bit, however, urban whites carved a color line through the city.” Red lining…show more content…
Protective associations were also form intended to protect their neighborhoods such as the Waterworks Park Improvement Association. Cities and towns were segregated like Bartow, Florida. “So as the town fathers put in the sewer lines, the streetlights, and the telephone exchange, they split the town in half…Blacks couldn’t even live among white” Racial inequality showed through the black neighborhoods and the separate schools for children. “State law mandated that white and black schools be separate but equal. But white officials across the state starved black schools of funding.” Public transportation and schools were segregated. Jobs were reserved for whites and shops banned Negros. “Blacks had been able to find a range of factory job. The opportunities shrank in the early 1920s, as many employers decided that all but the most menial and dangerous work should be reserved for whites…More and more white shopkeepers banned black customers from their stores and restaurants.” The American Dream seemed only held for ethnic whites and Negroes had a new set of racial difficulties, but for the talented tenth the American Dream was a continuing fight in equal opportunity. The talented tenth is that one in

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