Arc of Justice

Arc of Justice

by

Kevin Boyle

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William Davis is an old friend of Ossian Sweet. A veteran of World War I, by the mid-1920s, Davis has become a federal narcotics officer and has a promising future in this career. He joins Ossian, Henry, and Otis Sweet, John Latting, Norris Murray, Joe Mack, Charles Washington, Hewitt Watson, and Leonard Morse in defending the Sweets’ house on Garland Avenue on the night of September 9, 1925, and is charged, along with the others, with the murder of Leon Breiner. Worried about preserving his career and future, Davis admits to Ted Kennedy that Ossian had prepared the men for trouble and that Henry Sweet and Morse were upstairs when the shooting happened. While awaiting trial, Davis joins Washington, Morse, and Otis Sweet in asking the NAACP to take full control of the defense.
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William Davis Character Timeline in Arc of Justice

The timeline below shows where the character William Davis appears in Arc of Justice. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Where Death Waits
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...his brothers Otis Sweet and Henry Sweet, and his friends Edward Carter, Julian Perry, William Davis, and John Latting for help. (full context)
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
Ossian distributes weapons among the seven men in the house: Otis, Henry, Davis, Latting, Mack, Murray, and himself. Neither Julian Perry nor Dr. Edward Carter came—and Carter even... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
...through the window. Just then, a taxi pulls up in front with Otis and William Davis. While Ossian opens the front door to let them in, the mob screams insults and... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
...turning on the lights and rounding up the defenders. As the police handcuff Ossian to Davis, Ossian flashes back to a childhood memory of mob violence. Joe Mack knows one of... (full context)
Chapter 5: White Houses
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...his compatriots: Gladys, Otis, Henry and his friend John Latting, Julian Perry, Dr. Carter, William Davis, Joe Mack and Norris Murray. Gladys stockpiles food and Ossian collects weapons. And, at Bristol’s... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Letter of Your Law
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
While Kennedy interviews Garland Avenue neighbors, Ossian, Gladys, and the others sweat in jail. William Davis, a federal narcotics officer—another member of the talented tenth—breaks first, afraid of sacrificing a promising... (full context)
Chapter 7: Freedmen, Sons of God, Americans
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...Perhaps heartened by these words of approval, Otis joins Charles Washington, Leonard Morse, and William Davis in appealing to the NAACP to assume control of a case that has ramifications for... (full context)
Chapter 9: Prejudice
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
...shooting. He describes stones pelting the house and opening the front door for Henry and Davis only to see a seething, surging sea of humanity in the street. The mob on... (full context)