The Lake County Board of County Commissioners presented Proclamation 2016-26 to the families of the Groveland Four, supporting the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution Number 136 and encouraging the governor to exonerate or grant pardons to Charles Greenlee, Water Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas.
The Proclamation reads: “The Board of County Commissioners recognizes that no action on the part of the State of Florida can make right the egregious wrongs perpetrated out of racial hatred against Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas, but the Board respectfully acknowledges that a review of the evidence shows that grave injustices were perpetrated against these men during this racially charged time in history.
The Board of County Commissioners offers this public acknowledgment to the remaining family members who have tirelessly sought to restore the reputations of not only Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas, but to restore the honor of their descendants who have sought justice in a manner devoid of hate and ill-will.” Gilbert King, who penned “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America,” says, “It’s very impressive for the Lake County Board of County Commissioners to take this step to correct an injustice from more than 60 years ago.
It’s going to take some real momentum for the state of Florida to officially exonerate the Groveland Boys, but this effort needs to begin somewhere, and there’s no better place to start than on a local level.”
King’s book won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and he is currently working with screenwriters Adam Cooper and Bill Collage to put his story on the big screen.
King says Lionsgate is finalizing casting, so shooting can begin this summer, with release of the film in 2017