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From left, Walter Irvin, Charles Greenlee, and Samuel Shepherd were wrongfully prosecuted for rape in 1949. A fourth man, Ernest Thomas, was killed during a manhunt before he could be arrested. Photo: Gary Corsair
Central Florida News

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King shares his perspective on the latest in the Groveland Four case


A judge in Lake County will hold a hearing today on whether to posthumously clear the names of the Groveland Four. The young Black men were wrongly prosecuted — and two of them were shot to death — following the alleged rape of a 17-year-old white girl in 1949. For some perspective on this case, WMFE’s Joe Byrnes spoke with Gilbert King, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Devil in the Grove” brought the story to national attention again. .
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Image: Sheriff Willis McCall and an unidentified man with Charles Greenlee, Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin in the Lake County Jail, 1949: photo via Florida Memory Project, Orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From The Pages of Orlando Weekly: The Orlando Sentinel’s horrific coverage during the Groveland Four trial


In the past century, white-owned newspapers across the South published racist material that stirred up mobs, incited lynchings, and even congratulated those who committed them. In this century, some have expressed regret. This January, five days before they were posthumously pardoned by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Orlando Sentinel ran an apology for its treatment 70 years ago of the Groveland Four, four young black men who were wrongly accused of raping a young white woman in Lake County. Two were murdered, and the other two wrongly imprisoned. An example of the Sentinel’s ongoing inflammatory coverage: a front-page cartoon run just as a grand jury was convening showing four empty electric chairs under the words, “No Compromise!” The paper’s conduct was …
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