Gilbert King

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

Gilbert KingIn 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming, in part to cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, citrus barons turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white 17-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young black men. 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," and the most important American lawyer of the 20th century, into the deadly fray.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. King’s work was the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, and was short-listed for The Chautauqua Prize in 2014.