Devil in the Grove

Devil in the Grove

Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of A New America

Book - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : Harper, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061792281
Characteristics: x, 434 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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Aug 26, 2019

M. ??

Jul 05, 2017

King's Devil in the Grove is an entertaining hybrid that mixes the novelist styles of the true crime and court-room procedural with historical and political analysis and biography. While entertaining the historical and political analysis is a bit underdeveloped and shallow. Gilbert would have us blame a racist and violent sheriff, his pathological deputy and their Klan friends for the murders of the Grove four. But Gilbert's own analysis shows the situation was more complex than that. As an elected official the Sheriff was dependant on his corporate funds to underwrite his successful campaigns. His corporate funders required a cowed and submissive black labour force in their orange groves and other industries. But they did not want them so terrified by the Klan as to flee the county. So the sheriff had to control the Klan at times. Meanwhile, the sheriff, a true paragon of corruption, was at the same time involved in profiting from gambling. This was another angle in the set-up of one of the four black victims. The complexities do not lend themselves to simply blaming the Sheriff and the Klan. Rather there was an overdetermination of conflicting forces involved beyond the control of any single evil character. Different forms of racism, fascism, societal sexual dysfunction, and early modern capitalism were all involved in a truly frightening stew of violence and ignorance. Still the book helps us glimpse the American South as a variety of fascist police state that used the brutally violent ISIS-like KKK as a state sponsored terrorist militia.

Aug 10, 2016

Gripping and horrifying story of Thurgood Marshall's and the NAACP's efforts to save four falsely accused black men in a rape charge as the white-entrenched communities help incite and participate in violence, death and danger against those who would try to break the accepted way of life.

Jul 27, 2016

Great book about Thurgood Marshall and the beginnings of the fight for Civil Rights in this country. The story centers on a murder trial in Central Florida but speaks to the body of work done by Marshall and the NAACP in those early years. Should be read by all and sadly still rings true about our country today.

Nov 30, 2014

Excellent account of the trauma suffered by many during the civil rights struggle, and the efforts to address the inequalities of the justice system.


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