ORLANDO, Fla. - After nearly 70 years, all four members of the Groveland Four -- four black men who were falsely accused of raping a 17-year-old white woman in Lake County -- were pardoned by the Florida Clemency Board last week.
The case inspired the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America," which offered eye-opening details about the racial injustice that ensued in the days following the accusation.
The book's author, Gilbert King, joined anchor Justin Warmoth on "The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com" to talk about the pardoning.
"I was actually so shocked it was happening," King, who testified at the hearing, said. "We just had so many false starts over the years. It was really interesting to see the momentum build."
Several family members of the Groveland Four also testified in front of the Florida Clemency Board. King said they were relieved and thankful following the unanimous vote to pardon their loved ones.
"I know it meant the world to them because they grew up with this cloud hanging over them that their family members were rapists and that they tried to kill the sheriff," King said. "They wanted Florida to recognize that it was wrong and that their family was innocent."
- Florida pardons Groveland Four accused of 1949 rape
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