Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King
The first story in the book is intense. It hit me several ways. It took place in association with a murder trail in Columbus, Tenn. It also happened in the early 1950s — less than 15 years from some of my earliest memories about Nashville. My memories are the last sounds of that era. There was still indications, such as schools and signs in some stores.
Much of the book focuses on Thurgood Marshall’s cases in the south where black men faced murder charges and capital punishment in cases where there was little or no evidence. There was no justice in these cases and Marshall led a team trying to find cases that could be appealed — which was the only way any resemblance to justice could be obtained. Justice in these cases was not being found not guilty. It was often just being able to get a death penalty reduced to life imprisonment.
This book won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013. Of the several Pulitzer Prize winner I’ve read, “Devil in the Grove” touched me the deepest.