Cecil Rowlette is a Black lawyer and friend of Julian Perry. He joins Perry and Charles Mahoney to form the first defense team for Ossian, Henry, Otis, and Gladys Sweet, John Latting, William Davis, Joe Mack, Norris Murray, Hewitt Watson, Charles Washington, and Leonard Morse. Rowlette also represented Fleta Mathies and Alexander Turner earlier in the summer. Rowlette’s parents were formerly enslaved, and he grew up in Virginia, pulling himself into the talented tenth with an education at Virginia Union and Howard Universities. He presents a carefully crafted legal arguments in favor of dismissing the charges against the defendants in pre-trial hearings.
Cecil Rowlette Character Timeline in Arc of Justice
The timeline below shows where the character Cecil Rowlette appears in Arc of Justice. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: White Houses
Chapter 6: The Letter of Your Law
News of the shooting tears through Detroit’s Black elite. Perry asks Cecil Rowlette, the Black attorney who represented Fleta Mathies and Alexander Turner, to join Ossian’s defense. A... (full context)
...10th, the day following the shootings. A liberal judge denies the motion offered by Perry, Rowlette, and Mahoney to dismiss the charges, but this forces the Prosecutor’s hand. His office presents... (full context)
Chapter 7: Freedmen, Sons of God, Americans
...and convict the Sweets and their compatriots of conspiracy by implication. The defense attorneys, especially Rowlette, do their best to poke holes in the witnesses’ testimony. But, despite this and Moll’s... (full context)
White uses this blow to revisit the idea of adding a white defense lawyer, but Rowlette’s terms—that he and his co-counsels remain involved and that no other than Thomas Chawke, Detroit’s... (full context)
...community, which begins raising a separate defense fund “uncontrolled by outside politics.” Newly empowered, Cecil Rowlette remains in control of the case through the arraignment hearing. (full context)
Chapter 8: The Prodigal Son
...himself to Black supporters by giving the case an unbiased handling. Although he denies Cecil Rowlette’s motion to dismiss charges, his evident sympathy for the Black community and commitment to the... (full context)
...prepare. Clarence Darrow’s interviews with his clients give him insight into the night’s events; Perry, Rowlette, and Mahoney explain the context of the Mathies, Bristol, Fletcher, and Turner cases. Arthur Garfield... (full context)
Chapter 10: Judgement Day
...Iva spend much of the winter sick with racking coughs, and the local defense team—Cecil Rowlette, Julian Perry, and Charles Mahoney—express frustration with Hays’s and Darrow’s defense. They think it would... (full context)