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.
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
Chapter 6: The Letter of Your Law
...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
...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
...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)