Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America Hardcover – March 6, 2012
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“A powerful and well-told drama of Southern injustice.” (Chicago Tribune)
"Suspenseful and historically meticulous." (Christian Science Monitor)
"Deliver(s) the shock of a crime thriller." (Associated Press)
"A taut, intensely readable narrative." (Boston Globe)
“Gilbert King's Devil in the Grove 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)
“(An) excellent telling of one of the most difficult cases Thurgood Marshall ever argued...An important, and hopefully never forgotten, chapter of American history.” (The Seattle Times)
“King traces the pernicious tentacles of bigotry and expertly depicts the role of the press, the cast of characters and the entire contextual story of civil-rights law and the NAACP. Deeply researched and superbly composed.” (Kirkus, Starred Review)
"Very few books combine the depth of research and narrative power about a subject of such pivotal significance.” (Ira Katznelson, author of When Affirmative Action Was White)
"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." (Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age)
"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 an explosive and deadly 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. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day’s end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as “the Groveland Boys.”
And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as “Mr. Civil Rights,” into the deadly 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 involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual 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 unprecedented access to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that U.S. Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson decried as “one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice.”
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I've been trying to learn more about what happened to the people involved beyond that. According to Wikipedia, Moore's daughter Evangeline became a civil rights activist herself and passed away in 2015. Walter Irvin apparently died in 1967 or 69. BUT WHAT I WANT TO KNOW is whatever happened to Norma Padgett - she was 17 in 1949, 10 years older than myself, so she might very well still be alive and well somewhere. She started the whole Groveland tragedy and, it seems, has just slipped through the cracks of history. If she was never called upon to answer for her actions, I would really really love to find out if she at least ever had regrets. Mr. King, can you shed any light on Norma???
I did have the audiobook with my Kindle edition, the narration is great.
I recommend this book.
Top international reviews
One thing I did find interesting is King's portrayal of Thurgood Marshall. He wasn't perfect. He stood for great things and he did great things, but in his personal life he was less than inspiring. It certainly brings complexity to his character. Plus, on the back of the book Marshall gets all the credit for fighting the dangerous battle in Lake County for the Groveland boys, yet he really only entered the case towards the end. Most of the real dangerous work was carried out by his colleague Franklin Williams. Williams should have been given more credit.
That said, this book is a must read for anyone interested in American history, and of course, the history of race relations in the US. But it is worth a read even if you are not an amateur historian. It reads fast and is definitely better than fiction.
The story of 'The Groveland Boys' is shocking in the extreme, and Gilbert King tells it in a way that allows us to draw our own conclusions as to the magnitude of the crimes that were committed by government, officials and individuals in equal measure. In short, crimes committed by nearly everyone involved ,other than those poor boys themselves.
This book is a clear reminder for us all of the dangers of what evils can still lurk within us all.
No one can read this and not be moved.