Arc of Justice

Arc of Justice

by

Kevin Boyle

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Fleta Mathies Character Analysis

Fleta Mathies is a recently-arrived Black resident of Detroit who moves from the South as part of the Great Migration in 1925. Her family joins with another in renting an apartment in an all-white neighborhood, and when neighbors threaten the families and throw rocks through their windows, she shoots a shotgun out of an upstairs window. Although she is charged with reckless discharge of a firearm, her lawyer, Cecil Rowlette, gets the charges dismissed based on self-defense.
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Fleta Mathies Character Timeline in Arc of Justice

The timeline below shows where the character Fleta Mathies appears in Arc of Justice. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: White Houses
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...When a white mob tries to storm the house, one of the Black women, Fleta Mathies, shoots a pistol out the window. This draws police attention, and although no one is... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
Turner, Fletcher, Mathies, and their families all flee. Bristol remains, but he faces daily death threats. The Tireman... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Letter of Your Law
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...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 neighbor, who happens to be on the... (full context)
Chapter 7: Freedmen, Sons of God, Americans
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...foreclosed his opportunity to present a self-defense argument, which he used successfully with the Fleta Mathies case. Instead, he attacks the Prosecution’s flimsy case: their murder charges make no sense without... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Prodigal Son
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...him insight into the night’s events; Perry, Rowlette, and Mahoney explain the context of the Mathies, Bristol, Fletcher, and Turner cases. Arthur Garfield Hays and his legal team plan the defense’s... (full context)