Gumby's Events > Dr. Ossian Sweet Trial
The letter and press releases that Gumby preserved on this page (each image captures one of the three documents that Gumby mounted on top of each other on the same page) resulted from one of the most famous trials of the 1920s: the prosecution for murder of Dr. Ossian Sweet, his wife, and nine others. The murder charges stemmed from Sweet's and his compatriots' use of firearms to defend his Detroit house when a mob of white neighbors and others surrounded the property and pummeled it with rocks, bottles, and other debris in angry protest over Sweet's family's position as the only African Americans to attempt to move into the neighborhood. As the above page documents, the original 1925 trial of Sweet and his ten companions ended in a mistrial while subsequent trials resulted in acquittals for all of the defendants. In addition to the importance of the Sweet case for groups like the NAACP (in which Gumby's membership no doubt accounts for his possession of these documents) that wished to demonstrate African Americans' right to self-defense, the presence of famed attorney Clarence Darrow leading the defense team assured that it was one of the most talked-about legal events of the decade.