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

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

Written by Gilbert King
Non-Fiction

Devil in the Grove is a true story of the deep South when racism was endemic in the society. Thurgood Marshall was the lawyer for the NAACP when four black men were accused of kidnapping and raping a white woman in Groveland, Florida. Norma and Willie Padgett were young, newly married and trouble from the start. One night their paths cross with two black men, leading to the kidnap and rape charges. Although their innocence was really never in doubt, the culture and law in South Florida made guilt or innocence irrelevant. Watching history unfold, with the inclusion of the NAACP, the Ku Klux Klan, the law in Groveland (Sheriff Willis McCall), Thurgood Marshall and the FBI is compelling. Gilbert King won the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction for this book and it is easy to see why.

Thurgood Marshall was working on Brown V. Board of Education, a case which would change the face of education in America and bring him to the U. S. Supreme Court. Justice Marshall was the 96th Supreme Court Justice and the first African/American to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

This novel illustrates how close America came to losing one of its most important legal figures and gives a truthful view of the fight for equality which is still ongoing. How far we have come, how far we still have to go for racial and cultural equality in America. A must-read for anyone interested in history, justice and the impact of social mores on our society.

Recommended by Suzi

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