Cover image for Devil in the grove : Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the dawn of a new America
Title:
Devil in the grove : Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the dawn of a new America
Author:
King, Gilbert.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper, [2012]

©2012
Physical Description:
x, 434 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
Chronicles a little-known court case in which Thurgood Marshall successfully saved a black citrus worker from the electric chair after the worker was accused of raping a white woman with three other black men.

In 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming with cheap Jim Crow labor. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, vicious Sheriff McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves. Then the Ku Klux Klan rolled into town, burning homes and chasing hundreds of blacks into the swamps. So began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as "Mr. Civil Rights, " into the fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the "Florida Terror" at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight--not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall's NAACP associates and Marshall had endured threats that he would be next. Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI's unredacted Groveland case files, as well as the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader against a heroic backdrop.--From publisher description.
Language:
English
Contents:
Prologue -- Mink slide -- Sugar Hill -- Get to pushin' -- Nigger in a pit -- Trouble fixin' to start -- A little Bolita -- Wipe this place clean -- A Christmas card -- Don't shoot, white man -- Quite a hose wielder -- Bad egg -- Atom smasher -- In any fight some fall -- This is a rape case -- You have pissed in my whiskey -- It's a funny thing -- No man alive or to be born -- All over the place, like rats -- Private parts -- A genius here before us -- The colored way -- A place in the sun -- Epilogue.
ISBN:
9780061792281

9780061792267
Format :
Book

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KF224.G76 K56 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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KF224.G76 K56 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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KF224.G76 K56 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

Devil in the Grove, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, is a gripping true story of racism, murder, rape, and the law. It brings to light one of the most dramatic court cases in American history, and offers a rare and revealing portrait of Thurgood Marshall that the world has never seen before.

As Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns did for the story of America's black migration, Gilbert King's Devil in the Grove does for this great untold story of American legal history, a dangerous and uncertain case from the days immediately before Brown v. Board of Education in which the young civil rights attorney Marshall risked his life to defend a boy slated for the electric chair--saving him, against all odds, from being sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

In 1951 Thurgood Marshall had already begun the Brown v. Board of Education case when he took on an explosive case to save the only survivor of the Groveland Four, young black men wrongfully accused of raping a white woman in central Florida. The young woman, estranged from her husband, concocted a rape accusation involving two black men recently returned from military service and two other, unrelated men. One of the accused was killed by a vigilante mob. After a reversal of their convictions, as they faced a retrying of the case, two others were killed by the sheriff charged with protecting them. King draws on court documents and FBI archives to offer a compelling chronicle of the accusation, which led to a paroxysm of violence against the black community in Groveland, reminiscent of the destruction of Rosewood, in 1923; brutal beatings that led to forced confessions; and the dramatic trial. Marshall, physically exhausted and facing threats to his life, was housed, fed, and protected by a black community encouraged by his presence as he battled to save the life of the last remaining member of the Groveland Four.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In July 1949, four black men in Florida (the "Groveland Four") were accused of raping a white woman. By the time Marshall joined the case in August, one of the defendants-who had fled into the swamps-had been "lawfully killed." After a trial of the remaining three, two were sentenced to death, and one to life imprisonment. On Marshall's appeal, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial for the two on death row, though both men were shot while being transported between prisons before the second trial began, and only one survived. Using unredacted Groveland FBI case files and the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund files, journalist King (The Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder, and the Search for Justice in the American South) revisits an oft-overlooked case, with its accuser, whose testimony was patently false; defendants, who suffered terribly as a consequence; local police officials and lawyers who persecuted and prosecuted them; and their lawyers, who showed remarkable courage and perseverance in seeking justice. The story's drama and pathos make it a page-turner, but King's attention to detail, fresh material, and evenhanded treatment of the villains make it a worthy contribution to the history of the period, while offering valuable insight into Marshall's work and life. Agent: Farley Chase, the Waxman Literary Agency. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Seasoned journalist King (The Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder, and the Search for Justice in the American South) has written an arresting account of Thurgood Marshall's role as a prominent civil rights attorney in challenging racist "justice" in the South. King vividly renders the horrors perpetrated by a racist legal system and its odious representatives-principally, Lake County, FL, Sheriff Willis McCall, who was responsible for the 1949 arrest and unjust prosecution of four young black men, designated "the Groveland Boys." In this case, Marshall and the NAACP pursued every legal remedy to save the lives of these young men falsely accused of rape by a white woman, whose preposterous story went unquestioned by authorities. At great personal risk, Marshall tenaciously challenged the hegemony of McCall, eventually bringing to an end the racist reign of terror in Lake County and drawing it and its underlying mentality to national attention. VERDICT A powerful snapshot of history and the man who made it, certain to appeal to readers of Hampton Sides's Hellhound on His Trail: The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt in American History.-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Sch. of Law Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

This account of the Groveland Four, defendants in the 1949 Jim Crow-era rape case, sheds new light on the fate of four African American men. King shows the lengths to which Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund went to defend them, and to which Lake County, Florida, Sheriff Willis McCall and his deputies, prosecutors, and jurors went to enforce race-based justice. Drawing on FBI investigation files and personal papers of key NAACP lawyers, King elucidates the gendered and racial assumptions that denied the Groveland Four a fair trial and that justified arson, bombings, beatings, and murder to uphold southern racial mores. The case reached the US Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial for two of the defendants, who were then shot under suspicious circumstances. One defendant, Walter Irvin, survived, and his death sentence was commuted. King demonstrates that no rape likely occurred, and the examining physician's testimony was deliberately excluded from both trials. Set against the Cold War and on the eve of the Brown case, this saga illustrates that equal justice under law was honored in the breach in the post-WW II South. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. E. R. Crowther Adams State College


Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
1 Mink Slidep. 7
2 Sugar Hillp. 21
3 Get to PushinÆp. 33
4 Nigger in a Pitp. 40
5 Trouble Fixin' to Startp. 58
6 A Little Bolitap. 72
7 Wipe this Place Cleanp. 84
8 A Christmas Cardp. 100
9 Don't Shoot White Manp. 113
10 Quite a Hose Wielderp. 124
11 Bad Eggp. 150
12 Atom Smasherp. 178
13 In any Fight Some Fallp. 193
14 THis is a Rape Casep. 210
15 You Have Pissed in my Whiskeyp. 219
16 It's Funny Thingp. 240
17 No Man Alive or to be Bornp. 258
18 All Over The Place, Like Ratsp. 273
19 Private Partsp. 283
20 A Genius Here Before USp. 303
21 The Colored Wayp. 321
22 A Place In The Sunp. 331
Epiloguep. 353
Acknowledgementsp. 363
A Note On Sourcesp. 366
Notesp. 368
Selected Bibliographyp. 413
Indexp. 417