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August 2013 , Page 57 

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

By Maureen L. Rowland

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

By Gilbert King
Harper (2012) 

In Lake County, Fla., in 1949 a white woman of dubious moral character accuses four young black men of rape. It’s a tragic cliché: The KKK and corrupt government officials. A media circus. A trial. Conviction. Sentence of death.

But, there is also Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

The book follows the case of “The Groveland Boys,” as it came to be known, and the handling of the case by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund attorneys, including Thurgood Marshall. Only three of the accused stood trial. The fourth, Ernest Thomas, was murdered as he was being taken into custody.

In addition to the usual sources, the author had the unredacted Groveland FBI files that were unsealed after 60 years. One of the attorneys in the case, Jack Greenberg, also provided the author with facts not available elsewhere. Devil in the Grove is meticulously researched and reads

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