Arc of Justice

Arc of Justice

by

Kevin Boyle

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Arc of Justice can help.
Reinhold Niebuhr is a priest in Detroit in the early 1920s. The son of German immigrants, he organizes against the Ku Klux Klan’s ascendancy in the 1925 mayoral campaign. His attention to social issues earns him the attention of the Detroit’s progressive bloc. And his progressive politics dispose him to respect Clarence Darrow, despite the lawyer’s atheism. Following the Sweet trials, Mayor John Smith appoints Niebuhr to head a blue-ribbon commission on the state of Detroit’s race relations—and Edward Carter joins him as the commission’s secretary. This work pushes Niebuhr towards an increasingly radical form of social theology that later influences Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Get the entire Arc of Justice LitChart as a printable PDF.
Arc of Justice PDF

Reinhold Niebuhr Character Timeline in Arc of Justice

The timeline below shows where the character Reinhold Niebuhr appears in Arc of Justice. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: White Houses
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...meant to intimidate voters. Smith refuses to be intimidated, and both white progressives like pastor Reinhold Niebuhr and Detroit’s talented tenth close ranks behind him. But, while 99% of Black Bottom voters... (full context)
Chapter 9: Prejudice
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...into their papers. In the evenings, White attends Darrow’s lectures at venues around the city. Reinhold Niebuhr also listens to Darrow; although the priest notes Darrow’s bitterness about humanity, he appreciates the... (full context)
Chapter 10: Judgement Day
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...year. Smith appoints a blue-ribbon commission to study race relations in the city, headed by Reinhold Niebuhr , who packs the committee with progressives and Sweet supporters, including Edward Carter. And a... (full context)
Epilogue: Requiescam
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...Hays spends a legal career defending the rights of men and women from marginalized groups. Reinhold Niebuhr studies Detroit’s racial problems deeply on the mayor’s blue-ribbon commission. And while this group’s work... (full context)