History 4 All: The story and legacy of Dr. Ossian Sweet

Celebrating Black History Month with local stories that matter

Black history is not just reserved for Black Americans -- Black history is American history. This month, Local 4 has been diving into the rich and trying history of Black Americans, and we're sharing what we've learned in this History 4 All special. In this segment, we're chatting with Daniel Baxter, founder of the Dr. Ossian Sweet Foundation, as he tells us the story of the physician who moved to Detroit in the 1920s and was charged with murder while using self defense against an angry mob of white people.

DETROIT – In celebration of Black History Month, Local 4 is diving into the rich and trying history of Black Americans, especially stories from right here in Michigan.

In this segment of our History 4 All special, Local 4′s Kimberly Gill and Devin Scillian visit with Daniel Baxter, founder of the Dr. Ossian Sweet Foundation, at the Ossian H. Sweet House in Detroit to learn more about the history of the Black physician.

In the 1920s, Dr. Sweet moved into a Detroit home with his wife and daughter. Shortly after their arrival, a mob of angry white people descended on the family’s home.

In anticipation of such an uprising from the community, Sweet had several people at the home who were armed with firearms. Shots were fired in self-defense -- but Sweet, his wife and all the other Black adults were charged with murder.

Baxter gives us an in-depth look at the story of Dr. Sweet and his experience in Detroit.

Watch the full segment in the video player above.


Watch: History 4 All segments


About the Authors:

You can watch Kimberly Gill weekdays anchoring Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and streaming live at 10 p.m. on Local 4+. She's an award-winning journalist who finally called Detroit home in 2014. Kim has won Regional Emmy Awards, and was part of the team that won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in 2022.

Devin Scillian is equally at home on your television, on your bookshelf, and on your stereo. Devin anchors the evening newscasts for Local 4. Additionally, he moderates Flashpoint, Local 4's Sunday morning news program. He is also a best-selling author of children's books, and an award-winning musician and songwriter.