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Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America Paperback – February 19, 2013
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"Must-read, cannot-put-down history." (New York Times)
“Superb.” (Junot Diaz, author of This Is How You Lose Her )
“A powerful and well-told drama of Southern injustice.” (The Chicago Tribune )
“Devil in the Grove is a compelling look at the case that forged Thurgood Marshall’s perception of himself as a crusader for civil rights. . . . King’s style [is] at once suspenseful and historically meticulous” (Christian Science Monitor )
“Recreates an important yet overlooked moment in American history with a chilling, atmospheric narrative that reads more like a Southern Gothic novel than a work of history.” (Salon )
“A taut, intensely readable narrative.” (Boston Globe )
“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.” (Publishers Weekly )
“A thoroughgoing study of one of the most important civil-rights cases argued by Thurgood Marshall in dismantling Jim Crow strictures. . . . Deeply researched and superbly composed.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) )
“A compelling chronicle.” (Booklist )
“Gripping. . . . Lively and multidimensional.” (Dallas Morning News )
“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.” (Wil Haygood, author of King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. )
From the Back Cover
Devil in the Grove is the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.
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 blacks 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.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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The reader is also introduced to the brave and brilliant Thurgood Marshall and the other leaders of the early civil rights legal team. The more you know about Marshall the more impressed you are!
In this book you get to see the brilliant lawyer, Thurgood Marshall at work on a terrible case of injustice regarding 4 men accused of raping a white girl against the tide of KKK menace and a sheriff and deputy willing to kill rather than admit they were wrong.
I have read about Thurgood Marshall's life but was directed to find this book by a friend who is a lawyer. It's worth the time to read.
in the Jim Crow South when the three black youths where falsely accused
of raping a white woman.
This Pulitzer prize winning book shows both how far we have come but equally
how far we have to go before racial equality in our legal system and on our streets can
We also get a good look at the historic legal battles that Thurgood Marshall fought as legal council
for the NAACP before he went on to be the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court.
Gilbert King tells this story with all the drama missing from my review.
Also, having grown up in the South the book gave me pause about my own thinking. I personally never saw any overt cruelty handed out to black people, but I did see the black water fountains along side the white ones and the bathrooms marked "colored." I was a child at the time and I thought nothing about it. It just was the way things were. As an adult, I realize just how demeaning and dehumanizing such symbols are. The movie, "The Help" really slammed that one home.
Another good book on the same subject is "Blood Done Sign my Name."