The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) is pleased to host an event featuring Pulitzer Prize winner Gilbert King. Gilbert King is author of the book, Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2013.
This conversation kicks off SCHR’s new lecture series that focuses on race and poverty. The event is on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the State Bar of Georgia; Conference Room A, 104 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303. It is free and open to the public.
Devil in the Grove chronicles the story of “the Groveland Boys,” four young Black men who were falsely accused of raping a white woman in Florida in 1949. The book unearths a largely forgotten chapter in the long history of racial injustice in the United States and explores in painstaking detail, the tactics used by Thurgood Marshall, the future Supreme Court Justice and attorney for the Groveland Boys, to chip away at the foundations of Jim Crow Laws.
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."
Though the book focuses on a tragedy that happened nearly seventy years ago, the themes are relevant and instructive today. According to The Guardian’s database, 566 people were killed by police in 2016 in the United States. Mapping Police Violence reports that in 2015, the rate of unarmed Black men killed by police was five times that of unarmed white men. Most recently, on July 6, 2017, the police officer who shot 32-year-old Philando Castile, an unarmed Black man whose death was captured on film, was acquitted of all charges in St. Paul, MN. Tragically, this is the outcome for almost all victims of officer-related shooting deaths in the recent years.
SCHR Executive Director Sara Totonchi notes, “As we absorb the far too frequent news of unjustifiable police shootings of people of color, Devil in the Grove is a timely reminder that we must remain vigilant against abuses of power and take full responsibility for the way racism and race discrimination perpetuate injustices in our community.”
For additional information, contact Kathryn Hamoudah at 404/688-1202 or firstname.lastname@example.org