Arc of Justice

Arc of Justice


Kevin Boyle

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Dora DeVaughn Character Analysis

Dora DeVaughn is Henry Sweet, Sr.’s wife and Ossian, Otis, and Henry Sweet’s mother. The granddaughter of enslaved people Edmund and Gilla DeVaughn, Dora was born in northern Florida while her father Remus DeVaughn sharecropped cotton with his own mother and brothers. As disciples of the AME Church, the DeVaughn family taught Dora to value education, hard work, and thrift. In turn, after her marriage to Henry Sweet, Dora teaches these values to her own children, even to the point of sending several of them north to attend Black colleges.

Dora DeVaughn Quotes in Arc of Justice

The Arc of Justice quotes below are all either spoken by Dora DeVaughn or refer to Dora DeVaughn. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Chapter 2 Quotes

So the revolution had come. Eight years earlier, the DeVaughn brothers had been pieces of property. Now they were men who demanded respect: missionaries of the Word, spreading the gospel to their fellow freedmen; aspiring farmers, working to earn a share of the American dream. They were still poor, still landless, still struggling to be equal to whites in fact as well as in name. But they had come so very far, there was every reason to be hopeful […] What must have run through Gilla’s mind as she cradled her granddaughter in her leathery arms? This child wouldn’t be like her babies, who had been born into a world now dead and gone. This child would have a future all her own.

Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

He’d recount it with frightening specificity: the smell of kerosene, Rochelle’s screams as he was engulfed in flames, the crowd’s picking off pieces of charred flesh to take home as souvenirs. Maybe, just maybe, he did see it all. The bridge was a short walk from his home. He could have been outside—coming back from his father’s fields—when the mob drove Rochelle through East Bartow. But he was only five years old in the summer of 1901. And it seems unlikely that Dora would have let him outside anytime that day. More likely, the horrific events imprinted themselves so deeply on Ossian’s mind that he convinced himself that he had been there. Either way, the effect was the same. The image of the conflagration—the heart-pounding fear of it—had been seared into his memory.

Related Characters: Ossian Sweet, Fred Rochelle, Dora DeVaughn
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dora DeVaughn Character Timeline in Arc of Justice

The timeline below shows where the character Dora DeVaughn appears in Arc of Justice. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Ain’t No Slavery No More
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
Dora DeVaughn, Remus DeVaughn’s daughter, grew up as Reconstruction’s promises crumbled around her family. By the... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...his farm and sold his produce both in Bartow and in Tampa’s bigger city market. Dora and Henry’s 10 children helped on the farm. The parents raised their children in the... (full context)