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

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

by Gilbert King

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Overview

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“A must-read, cannot-put-down history.” — Thomas Friedman, New York Times

Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when he became embroiled in a case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.

In 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor with the help of Sheriff Willis V. McCall, who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old girl cried rape, McCall pursued four young black men who dared envision a future for themselves beyond the groves. The Ku Klux Klan joined the hunt, hell-bent on lynching the men who came to be known as "the Groveland Boys."

Associates thought it was suicidal for Marshall to wade into the "Florida Terror," but the young lawyer would not shrink from the fight despite continuous death threats against him.

Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI's unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund files, Gilbert King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061792267
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/19/2013
Series: P.S. Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 434
Sales rank: 31,280
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Gilbert King has written about U.S. Supreme Court history for the New York Times and the Washington Post, and is a featured contributor to Smithsonian magazine's history blog, Past Imperfect. He is the author of The Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder, and the Search for Justice in the American South. He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 Mink Slide 7

2 Sugar Hill 21

3 Get to Pushin' 33

4 Nigger in a Pit 40

5 Trouble Fixin' to Start 58

6 A Little Bolita 72

7 Wipe this Place Clean 84

8 A Christmas Card 100

9 Don't Shoot White Man 113

10 Quite a Hose Wielder 124

11 Bad Egg 150

12 Atom Smasher 178

13 In any Fight Some Fall 193

14 THis is a Rape Case 210

15 You Have Pissed in my Whiskey 219

16 It's Funny Thing 240

17 No Man Alive or to be Born 258

18 All Over The Place, Like Rats 273

19 Private Parts 283

20 A Genius Here Before US 303

21 The Colored Way 321

22 A Place In The Sun 331

Epilogue 353

Acknowledgements 363

A Note On Sources 366

Notes 368

Selected Bibliography 413

Index 417

What People are Saying About This

Kevin Boyle

“In the terrifying story of the Groveland boys Gilbert King recreates an extraordinary moment in America’s long, hard struggle for racial justice. Devil in the Grove is a harrowing, haunting, utterly mesmerizing book.”

Michael G. Long

“Gilbert King’s gut-wrenching, and captivating, narrative is civil rights literature at its best—meticulously researched, brilliantly written, and singularly focused on equal justice for all.”

Wil Haygood

“The tragic Groveland saga — with its Faulknerian echoes of racial injustice spinning around an accusation of rape — comes astonishingly alive in Gilbert King’s narrative. It is both heartbreaking and unforgettable.”

Ira Katznelson

“Its rich case history captures the beginning of the end of the most extreme forms of racism. . . . Very few books combine this depth of research and narrative power about a subject of such pivotal significance.”

Phyllis Vine

“This is a haunting and compelling story, one of many in the campaign for racial justice. . . . This book is important because it is disturbing. And in that regard we cannot walk away from the story it tells.”

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