My weekend reading was Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America. I can’t remember who recommended it to me but it was on my Kindle and my random next-book-to-read selection process brought it up. When I finished it a few minutes ago, I only had one word for it – “wow.”
I knew a little about Thurgood Marshall, such as he was instrumental in the NAACP, desegregation, and was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. But that’s about it.
I now put him in my category of amazing people.
While the book is primarily about a case referred to as The Groveland Boys, it uses the story of this case to explore the deep racism, illegal behavior, lawlessness, violence, discrimination, corruption, and political deceit that existed in the United States in large parts of the South in the late 1940s and early 1950s. At the same time, it covers the efforts of Marshall and his colleagues at the NAACP and the Legal Defense Fund around a number of key civil rights cases that were the basis for desegregation.
The story and the book are remarkable. The author – Gilbert King – won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. I won’t try to summarize it – that won’t do it justice – but if you are interested in what was going on in our country a mere 66 years ago, it’s powerful and worth the time.