Arc of Justice

Arc of Justice


Kevin Boyle

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Fred Rochelle Character Analysis

Fred Rochelle is a young, light-skinned Black man who lives in Bartow, Florida around the turn of the century, working in the phosphate mines there. In 1901, he is accused of raping and murdering a local white woman. In response, a mob of white citizens lynches him. Witnessing this violence made a permanent mark on Ossian Sweet and he carried the memory—and the fear it engendered—into his adulthood.

Fred Rochelle Quotes in Arc of Justice

The Arc of Justice quotes below are all either spoken by Fred Rochelle or refer to Fred Rochelle. 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

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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Arc of Justice PDF

Fred Rochelle Character Timeline in Arc of Justice

The timeline below shows where the character Fred Rochelle 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
...raped and murdered. The testimony of a Black man who heard her screams implicated 16-year-old Fred Rochelle , a Black man who worked in the phosphate mines. As a mob gathered to... (full context)
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
A crowd of 300 gathered in the town center when Fred Rochelle was brought in. That evening, Bartow’s town leaders placed Rochelle on a barrel of fuel... (full context)
Chapter 9: Prejudice
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...a sense of pride and responsibility. Ossian retells his life story, from the horror of Fred Rochelle ’s lynching through his recent sojourn in Europe. When Toms objects that this line of... (full context)