These two speeches by Clarence Darrow are regarded as an early landmark in the American Civil Rights Movement. Lesser known than later events, Darrow's defense of these men reflected his instinctive belief that, quite simply, "All Men are Created Equal".Almost 30 years before Brown v. Board of Education, and 40+ years before Martin Luther King, Jr., broke out with "I have a Dream", Darrow represented the Sweets in these two trials, and convinced an all-white Jury to disregard the blackness of his clients and consider the case on the basis of "what if a white man had fired a shot when confronted by an angry mob of black men?".
The violent confrontation in this case occurred after Doctor Sweet moved his family into an all-white neighborhood, in 1925. It seems that there wasn't so much history of racial unrest before this, but the Klan was active in Detroit, and tempers were running high when the Sweets moved in.
For more information about the Sweets Trials, check this site, particularly the link to "background":