Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America

Gilbert King, Author
Gilbert King. Harper, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-179228-1
Reviewed on: 01/09/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
Paperback - 434 pages - 978-0-06-179226-7
Ebook - 464 pages - 978-0-06-209771-2
Show other formats
FORMATS
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.)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X