Arc of Justice

Arc of Justice

by

Kevin Boyle

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Nativism is the political attempt to protect and elevate the needs, desires, and concerns of native-born or indigenous populations over other groups. (Importantly, in American history, “nativism” is a movement focused on the descendants of northern European colonizers, not Native Americans.) Political and social elites encouraged nativist sentiment to oppose various waves of immigration during the first century of the United States’ existence. Following the American Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan promoted nativist ideology, with an emphasis on the supremacy of people of Nordic or Anglo-Saxon (in other words, northern European) descent.

Nativism Quotes in Arc of Justice

The Arc of Justice quotes below are all either spoken by Nativism or refer to Nativism. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 5 Quotes

Then, a woman who lived across the street from Bristol’s house mounted her porch and launched into a harangue. “If you call yourselves men and are afraid to get those niggers out,” she screamed, “we women will move them, you cowards!” That was it. Almost instantaneously the mob began stoning the house. Someone approached the police to ask if they would step aside for five minutes; it wouldn’t take any longer to drive the coloreds away. When the inspector refused to move his men, the mob stoned them too.

Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

The Klan was in the ascendancy; the Negroes’ white allies on the bench had deserted them; the mayor they had helped to elect had endorsed injustice and declared the pursuit of civil rights a threat to peace and liberal democracy. No longer was this simply a question of whether the Sweets were justified in firing into the mob on Garland Avenue. Now the Talented Tenth was locked in combat against segregation itself, battling to preserve some shred of the promise that brought almost a million people out of the South in the previous ten years, to show that the North was different, to prove that there were places in America where Jim Crow would not be allowed to rule. This had become a fight over fundamentals.

Related Characters: Ossian Sweet, Gladys Sweet, John Smith
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

With its fight against restrictive covenants, though, the NAACP believed it had a way to show its erstwhile allies that in the era of the KKK they were not assured of being on the safe side of the color line. Already the NAACP had reports of builders barring Jews from new housing developments. And there was every reason to believe that Anglo-Saxons would soon extend such prohibitions to Catholics and immigrants as well. Every opportunity they had, association officials hammered the message home. Agreements that denied blacks access to the homes of their choice were “the entering wedge of the Ku Klux Klan program of elimination.”

Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 204-205
Explanation and Analysis:

Ossian was quoted as saying in late September, “I am willing to stay indefinitely in the cell and be punished. I feel sure by the demonstration made by my people that they have confidence in me as a law-abiding citizen. I denounce the theory of Ku Kluxism and uphold the theory of manhood with a wife and tiny baby to protect.” Tough as nails on the night of the shooting, Gladys became in White’s hands a black Madonna, her arms aching for the child she could not hold. “Though I suffer and am torn loose from my fourteen-month-old baby,” she said, “I feel it is my duty to the womanhood of the race. If I am freed I shall return and live at my home on Garland Avenue.”

Related Characters: Ossian Sweet (speaker), Gladys Sweet (speaker), Iva Sweet, Walter White, Leon Breiner
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

Not once in the many appearances that the newspapers reported did Smith defend the right of colored families to live wherever they pleased, as he had done during the July disturbances; not once did he criticize banks, insurance companies, builders, and real estate agents for hemming Negroes into Black Bottom, nor did he condemn mobs for assaulting those few who managed to break through its boundaries; not once did he talk about the Sweets, although the story was white-hot as the mayoral campaign was coming to a climax. It was a political silence, given white Detroit’s hostility to Negroes crossing the neighborhood color line, a simple act of omission—and an unrepentant sin of commission in the ongoing construction of a segregated city.

Related Characters: Frank Murphy, John Smith
Page Number: 253
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

When the proceedings resumed at half past nine on Thursday, November 5, the courtroom had been transformed into a tableau of American justice. On a simple bench along one wall sat the eleven defendants, Ossian and Gladys side by side on the far end, exchanging occasional whispers but otherwise watching events with grim-faced concentration. Against the opposite wall sat twelve of their peers—in name if not in fact—arranged in two neat rows of chairs set behind a low railing. Between the two groups in the well of the courtroom stood the representative of the people, the accuser facing the accused as the finest of Anglo-Saxon traditions required, a handsome young white man come to say why eleven Negroes should spend the rest of their lives in prison paying for their crimes.

Page Number: 267
Explanation and Analysis:

But his message was soothingly soft. He wouldn’t demand that the walls of segregation be brought down, that whites welcome blacks into their neighborhoods, or that they acknowledge Negroes as the brothers they were. Like Johnny Smith before him, he asked for nothing more than tolerance. “I ask you gentlemen in behalf of my clients,” he boomed, “I ask you more than anything else, I ask you in behalf of justice, often maligned and down-trodden, hard to protect and hard to maintain, I ask you in behalf of yourselves, in behalf of our race, to see that no harm comes to them. I ask you gentlemen in the name of the future, the future which will one day solve these sore problems, and the future which is theirs as well as ours, I ask you in the name of the future to do justice in this case.”

Related Characters: Clarence Darrow (speaker), John Smith
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:
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Nativism Term Timeline in Arc of Justice

The timeline below shows where the term Nativism appears in Arc of Justice. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue: America: 1925
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...the formal segregationist policies of the Jim Crow-era South. Beginning in the late 19th century, nativist politicians opposed the so-called “ethnic” influence in politics. Businessmen like Detroit’s Henry Ford, who spread... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
In 1924, the nativists achieve a significant victory in the National Origins Act, which drastically limits immigration. Then they... (full context)
Chapter 3: Migration
The Great War changes America. Patriotic fervor revitalizes racism and nativist sentiments. Jim Crow segregation seeps into Washington D.C. under President Wilson. For example,  the War... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...influence of communist ideology leads to a campaign against left-wing activists and feeds narratives of nativist white superiority. A white mob even lynches a Black soldier for wearing his uniform in... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...Nebraska, and Arkansas through the summer and fall. Although the riots subside in 1920, the nativist sentiment revitalized by the war and the communist scare continues to grow. White supremacist ideas... (full context)
Chapter 5: White Houses
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...and Gladys put away money, enormous shifts occur in the politics of Detroit race relations. Nativist politicians with a tough-on-crime stance reshaped the city’s criminal court in the late teens and... (full context)
Chapter 9: Prejudice
The American Dream Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...a jury of men who recognize the often-bitter realities of life outside the white, Protestant, nativist ruling class. (full context)
Chapter 10: Judgement Day
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...first trial. Thus, he reminds Detroiters who, like the Irish American Chawke himself, don’t fit nativist racial ideals, of their own self-interest in the case. Instead, he pleads for a vision... (full context)