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Groveland Four

Darryl Paulson: Groveland — Florida’s legacy of hate

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On July 16, 1949, seventeen-year-old Norma Padgett claimed that her husband Willie was assaulted and she was raped by four black males near Groveland, Florida. Groveland is located in Lake County in central Florida. In July 1986, I co-authored the first scholarly article on the Groveland case in the Florida Historical Quarterly, along with historians David Colburn and Steven Lawson. It wasn’t until 2013, when Gilbert King‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Devil in the Grove, focused national attention on Groveland. The…

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Senate sends Groveland Four resolution to the governor and Cabinet

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The Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to apologize to survivors of the Groveland Four — African-American men who were brutalized in 1949 following a false accusation of rape. The senators first voted, 36-0, to sign on as cosponsors, then approved the resolution on a voice vote. “This is a great miscarriage of justice,” sponsor Gary Farmer said. “This is Florida’s version of the Scotsboro Boys. This is our To Kill a Mockingbird. We cannot change the hands of time. We cannot go back…

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Martin Dyckman: On death warrants, Florida governor’s ‘awesome moral responsibility’

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When former Florida Gov. LeRoy Collins was nominated in 1964 to head the nation’s new Community Relations Service, South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond opposed him aggressively because Collins had renounced racial segregation. “…I hope that as long as the good Lord lets me live on this earth I will continue to grow and to recognize changes and to meet the new responsibility as changes require,” Collins said. The widely reported confrontation prompted Dessie Horne Williams, a Miami schoolteacher, to write…

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House votes apology to Groveland Four family members, Dozier survivors

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The House voted unanimously Tuesday to apologize to survivors of four African-American men who were brutalized in 1949 following a false accusation of rape. The House also approved an apology to the survivors of abuse at the Dozier and Okeechobee schools for boys, and approved plans for memorials to children who died on the Dozier campus in Jackson County. “The state of Florida was wrong, and we are sorry,” said Rep. Bobby DuBose said during a news conference in advance…

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