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Florida Pardons Men Falsely Accused in Jim Crow-Era Rape Case in 1949

The story of the “Groveland Four,” now 70 years old, has continued to haunt the state of Florida.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has granted posthumous pardons to four young African American men accused of raping a white woman near Groveland, Florida, in 1949. Two men were brutally murdered as a result of the false accusations. The case is now seen as a racially charged miscarriage of justice emblematic of the Jim Crow south. The story of the “Groveland Four,” now 70 years old, has continued to haunt the state of Florida. We speak with Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, and Carol Greenlee, daughter of Charles Greenlee, one of the Groveland Four.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: On Friday, Florida’s governor, the Republican Ron DeSantis, granted posthumous pardons to four young African-American men accused of raping a white woman near Groveland, Florida, 70 years ago. The case is now seen as a racially charged miscarriage of justice emblematic of the Jim Crow South. The men, known as the Groveland Four, were falsely accused of raping Norma Padgett, a 17-year-old teenager who was white, in 1949.

Before going to trial, one of the men, Ernest Thomas, was murdered by a mob of a thousand men, led by the local sheriff, Willis McCall. He was killed in a hail of gunfire. The other three men were tortured in jail until two of them gave false confessions.

Charles Greenlee was sentenced to life. Walter Irvin and Samuel Shepherd were condemned to death. When Irvin and Shepherd appealed their conviction, they were represented by Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP, who would later become the first African-American Supreme Court justice. But in 1951, Samuel Shepherd was shot and killed by the same Sheriff, Willis McCall. Walter Irvin was also shot by the sheriff and his deputy but survived. Irvin eventually died in 1968, two years after being paroled. Charles Greenlee lived until 2012.

But the story of the Groveland Four has continued to haunt the state of Florida. This is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking on Friday.

GOV. RON DESANTIS: Today we have taken action to pardon the Groveland Four. While this act cannot right the wrongs done to them many years ago, I hope that it will bring peace to their families and to their communities. I am confident that the people of Florida would not want this injustice to happen again.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, for more, we’re joined right now by two guests. Gilbert King is the author of Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. King is also the author of Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found. And in Nashville, Tennessee, we’re joined by Carol Greenlee, daughter of Charles Greenlee, one of the Groveland Four.

Gilbert King, Carol Greenlee, welcome to Democracy Now! Carol, if you could begin by talking about the significance of Governor DeSantis’s pardon of your father, Charles Greenlee?

CAROL GREENLEE: Well, thank you for having me this morning.

Governor DeSantis’ decision was very, very significant to my family. Even though my father passed in 2012, it still lingered shame, a cloud over my family, that he was convicted of this horrific crime. My nieces, my nephews, my brothers, my son all carried this cloud over them. It has lifted that cloud from being carried by innocent children, innocent family members. And I feel that a chain has been broken. It felt like the door of justice swung open and the nightmare ended, of torture, waking up at night to the pain of what had happened to my father. So it was very significant. It relieved a lot of pain. And it closed the door of injustice to my family.

AMY GOODMAN: Gilbert King, you wrote this Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Devil in the Grove, about the Groveland Four. Can you talk about what happened 70 years ago?

GILBERT KING: Right. Seventy years ago, there was just a grave miscarriage of justice that took place. Accusations of sexual assault by a white woman in the Jim Crow South carried explosive consequences. And it was used by law enforcement at the time, in the South, to brutalize and control black people. And so, the slightest accusations would lead down this road of, within months, you’d see the defendants going to the electric chair. And that was going to be the situation in this particular case.

As soon as Norma Padgett made these accusations, within hours after those accusations, the Ku Klux Klan rolled into Groveland and started burning down black homes, chasing hundreds of people from their lives in Groveland. All of a sudden, you saw a manhunt. One suspected — one of the members of the Groveland Four, who was not even in the area, was chased up into the swamp. A crowd of like a thousand men surrounded him and basically riddled his body with bullets. There was no way they were going to bring him back alive. And so now you’re down to the Groveland Three. They arrest three men —

AMY GOODMAN: And you’re talking about the sheriff himself?

GILBERT KING: The same sheriff. He was in charge of the posse. And it was not seen as a law enforcement operation; it was more like a hunting operation. They knew he was up in the swamps, and they were not going to bring him back alive. And so, that’s how this whole case started.

It was just sort of a housekeeping of African Americans that were deemed as troublemakers. Walter Irvin and Samuel Shepherd were seen as troublemakers because they served in the military, and they continued to wear their military uniforms as a reminder to the people of the South that they fought and were willing to die for this country.

AMY GOODMAN: This is World War II.

GILBERT KING: Right. And this was seen as a very provocative act. It was seen as an uppity thing to do that, to remind the community in the Jim Crow South that, you know, you wanted better treatment. And so, what a lot of people don’t realize, in 1946, there was a wave of soldier lynchings across the South. African Americans were being lynched in their uniforms as sort of a reminder, saying, “You might have gotten more freedoms in Europe, but you’re back in the South.”

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, they served in segregated units in World War II.

GILBERT KING: Exactly. And so —

AMY GOODMAN: Known to have liberated a number of concentration camp survivors in their camps.

GILBERT KING: Right, and fought — many of them were war heroes. And so, but it was still being forced back into this second-class citizenship when they returned. And, you know, lynching was still a problem after World War II. And so, this was a way of housekeeping. And you had a very law-and-order-minded sheriff, who was very, very consistent, working with the orange grove owners, that he was going to control labor in this part of Central Florida. And by controlling labor, he often had to put his foot down on the neck of certain African Americans that he deemed as troublemakers.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, talk about what happened to Carol Greenlee’s father, Charles.

GILBERT KING: Well, Carol Greenlee’s father Charles had come into Groveland expecting to be working as a picker and in the citrus business. And he arrived in Groveland. He didn’t quite have a place to stay, so he slept his first night in the train station in Groveland. And he was picked up for loitering, around midnight, and taken into custody.

He was actually documented in police custody for loitering at the same exact time that Norma Padgett said that she was sexually assaulted by four men. He had an airtight alibi. But when it came to prosecution, all you needed was a state attorney to just ignore all that evidence and convince 12 white jurors that Charles Greenlee was one of the men who was involved in this. He had never met Norma Padgett before, but he got swept into this, too.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, the sheriff was involved in the murder of two of the four men.

GILBERT KING: He was, right. And actually, he should have been involved in a third murder. Walter Irvin, against all odds, survived that shooting on the side of the road in 1951 by playing dead. He was handcuffed. This was after the Supreme Court had overturned the verdict in the first trial. And then Sheriff Willis McCall said, “Fine, I have an idea. I’ll go up and pick up the prisoners and bring them back for the retrial.”

And he put them in the car, handcuffed them and started driving back to the courthouse. And then he made a little detour down a dirt road, and then he opened fire on two of the Groveland boys, who were handcuffed, couldn’t go anywhere. Sam Shepherd was killed instantly. But Walter Irvin, handcuffed to his best friend — couldn’t run — he was shot two times. And he’s laying there in the ditch pretending to be dead, while he hears the sheriff get on the radio saying, “I got rid of them. Get back here,” calling his deputy back to the scene.

AMY GOODMAN: I waned to turn to Henrietta Irvin, the sister of Walter Lee Irvin, one of the Groveland Four, appearing in the documentary The Groveland Four. Here she explains Walter’s account of what happened the night he and Sam Shepherd were shot in 1951 by Sheriff Willis McCall and a deputy.

HENRIETTA IRVIN: When he opened the door for Sam, as Sam turned to get out of the car, Walter, he said, he shot him right in his forehead. Just like that. He said he shot him so fast, and he felt his weight moving, until he knew that Sam was dead, he said. But by that time, he had done shot him also. And he said he remembered hearing him say, “Come on back. I have killed the son of a [bleep].” He said, well, when Mr. Yates got back and he was shining his light on him, he kicked Sam, and he shined the light on him and said, “But this — is not dead.” And he said he pulled out his gun, and he aimed right at his head. And it went in the neck. And he said, that time, he was out. He tried to pretend like he was dead so that they wouldn’t, you know, kill him. But he still was alive.

AMY GOODMAN: Wow. So, that’s Henrietta Irvin, the sister of Walter Lee Irvin, shot by the sheriff, and then the deputy comes back, says he’s still alive, and shoots him again —


AMY GOODMAN: — as he lay in the ditch.

GILBERT KING: Right. And what’s amazing, if Walter Irvin had died right there, that would have been the end of this story. I would not have written this book. Nobody would know about this case, because now it became the word of law enforcement. But because Walter Irvin survived, he told the story of how he received that last bullet. And so, when he said that he was shot at near point-blank range and that bullet went right through his neck, the FBI went back to the scene of the crime. They found the blood spot where Walter Irvin was laying, and they dug under that blood spot, and they found that a .38-caliber bullet that matched a Smith & Wesson gun. So now the FBI had pure proof of cold-blooded murder.

I think probably the most disturbing part of this entire story was that that entire investigation was quashed, by the FBI. The FBI recommended that the sheriff and the deputy be prosecuted, and it was quashed by the US attorney. And so, when I filed a Freedom of Information Act request 60 years later, I was the first person to see that report, the forensic report. Thurgood Marshall and his lawyers never knew about it.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to the comments of Norma Padgett. Norma Padgett is the — well, now she’s 86 years old. She testified in front of the Florida Clemency Board on Friday. This is the first time she has spoken publicly since 1952.

NORMA TYSON PADGETT UPSHAW: My name is Norma Tyson Padgett Upshaw, and I am the victim of that night. And I’ll tell you now that it’s on my mind; it’s been on my mind for about 70 years. I was 17 years old, and this never left my mind. And I can tell you, from the — from the time it started until today — if it was last night, I could carry you on that route that I went that night. And I’ll tell you this: If you had a gun held to your head and told you if you scream and didn’t do what they said, that they’d blow your brains out, so what would you do? And if you had a daughter, and if you — and a mother and a wife and a sister or a niece, would you give them pardon? No, I don’t think you would. I really don’t. And every time it comes up, I just quiver on the inside.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Norma Padgett, now 86 years old, testifying in front of the Florida Clemency Board. Carol Greenlee, your response to what Norma Padgett said?

CAROL GREENLEE: My response was that this is a free country, is freedom of speech. And I just felt numb at the time. I believe that she said what she felt. And it didn’t change my mind at all, after years of reading the testimonies and the investigation reports and the books that have been written by individuals digging out the truth. So, it really didn’t cause me any ill will against Mrs. Padgett.

AMY GOODMAN: Gilbert King —


AMY GOODMAN: What do we know about what happened to Norma Padgett?

GILBERT KING: Well, one of the interesting things that happened is that Norma Padgett was out — she had already separated from her husband. She was 17 years old. And there were rumors around town that he was already beating her and that the family sort of forced a separation. So, in the summer of 1949, they got back together one night and went out drinking and dancing.

And we don’t know exactly what happened on the side of that road that night, but we do know that two men, Walter Irvin and Sam Shepherd, came by and helped them with a broken car on the side of the road. And at one point, Willie Padgett, Norma’s husband, made a racial remark about these African Americans, because Norma had offered them a drink of whiskey. And he made a racial remark, and Sam Shepherd sort of fought with them, and then they drove off.

To sort of put a story in place, Willie Padgett said, “There were four of them that beat me up, and then they abducted and raped my wife.” And they started this whole story. And that was what led to the whole reaction in the community.

AMY GOODMAN: It was believed it was her husband that beat her?

GILBERT KING: Yeah, that was what — the defense certainly believed that, that the story was put in place by the husband. He was the first one to start it, and said, “Norma, you’ve got to say that four black men did this, and they took you away.”

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to this discussion with Gilbert King, author of Devil in the Grove, and Carol Greenlee, daughter of Charles Greenlee, one of the Groveland Four, who were just posthumously pardoned by the Florida governor on Friday. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: “Freedom Highway” by Rhiannon Giddens. This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

On Friday, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis granted posthumous pardons to four young African-American men accused of raping a white woman near Groveland, Florida, in 1949, 70 years ago, the case now seen as a racist miscarriage of justice emblematic of the Jim Crow South.

This is Henrietta Irvin, a sister of Walter Irvin, one of the Groveland Four. She spoke to the Orlando Sentinel about visiting her brother on death row.

HENRIETTA IRVIN: I remember going to Rayford the night, the Sunday before he was supposed to be electrocuted. That was terrible. His head was shaved. And they were talking to us about what was going to happen. And we needed to be to Rayford to pick his body up, or, otherwise, they would just bury him in a grave. But it didn’t work like that.

AMY GOODMAN: Again, that was Walter Irvin’s sister. Walter Irvin received a last-minute stay that saved his life. He was later paroled in 1968.

Still with us, Gilbert King, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America. And in Nashville, Tennessee, we’re joined by Carol Greenlee, the daughter of Charles Greenlee, one of the Groveland Four.

Carol, can you talk about your life, what it meant that your father was imprisoned for — what? He was in prison for about 10 years?

CAROL GREENLEE: Yes, he was in prison in Rayford, Florida, for 10 years. I can remember the first time seeing him. I was about 3 years old when my mother would take me to the prison, on a Sunday, for visits. And the time — the last time that I saw my father in prison, I was about 3. And he said to my mother not to bring me back anymore, because it was just too hard.

As a 3-year-old child, I can remember thinking, you know, “What did I do wrong? And am I the reason for my father to be here?” The guilt that plagued me for years throughout my young life, it was hard. It was the shame in — when conversations with your peers centered around activities that they’ve done with their families, including their father, I found myself politely leaving the area, leaving the room, so that I wouldn’t have to talk about it. So, it was a time of hard, hard, painful excuses for me and trying to understand why this happened.

But all during this time, my father would send me gifts wrapped in brown paper bags, if you will, a card on birthdays, a card on a holiday, he seems to have gathered from in the prison. I remember one of the last things he sent me was a jewelry box made of match stem — burnt match stems, that I have today.

It was a time that I felt that I had been doing time with my father, because I could not express what I thought that I needed to in terms of activities or going different places with my father. So, I spent those 10 years also locked up in prison within myself, a sense of shame, guilt, that I was responsible, because I was the one that he actually went to Groveland seeking a job. I was the unborn child at that time that he was trying to find a job to take care of. So I carried that as my burden of guilt.

AMY GOODMAN: Gilbert King, I wanted to ask you — there is a lot of attention on the US Supreme Court today. You’ve written extensively also about the Supreme Court. But, you know, the subtitle of your book Devil in the Grove, Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New [America]. This is before Thurgood Marshall became the first African-American Supreme Court justice. Talk about his taking on this case and how dangerous it was.

GILBERT KING: Oh, it was extraordinarily dangerous. I mean, when I first came across this case, I found these letters from the young lawyers in Florida, and they were basically imploring Thurgood Marshall to send help — they needed the FBI, they needed protection — that Florida was the most dangerous place they’d ever come across as lawyers. And I remember thinking, “What is happening in Florida?” And that’s how I learned about this case. It was a deadly case. They had to move the lawyers and Thurgood Marshall around from house to house each night, because the Klan was after them. They were threatening them. They were chasing them after court dates. And so, it was a very dangerous place for young black lawyers to be practicing law.

I think one of the things that was most striking to me, and it really started in the beginning of the trial, when you had Norma Padgett, 70 years ago, showed up in courtroom, and she stood up in the witness box, and she identified three of the Groveland boys as her attackers. And the lawyers and the press that were watching this, they basically said, “This trial is now over.” That was enough. You didn’t need any more evidence. It was the word of this young white woman accusing black men of rape, that was going to lead to the electric chair. And the power of those words, I thought, was so significant to Marshall, because even he knew it was over.

Seventy years later, Norma Padgett came into the hearing room in Tallahassee to testify before the clemency board. She had not spoken to anyone publicly in 70 years. And I think it was interesting to see what had happened in those 70 years. Her words were no longer enough to ensure that these men were going to die for that accusation. Now it became evidence-based. And I think that’s what you saw.

The clemency board now had their hands on all of this evidence, evidence that was hidden from the defense at the time, the medical report in this particular case. A doctor examined Norma Padgett hours after this alleged attack and found no evidence of any kind of attack. What did the defense — what did the prosecutor do in this case? They hid that witness. When Thurgood Marshall and his lawyers tried to subpoena that medical report, it was quashed. And the US attorney said, “That’s a private matter between a woman and her doctor.” This was evidence that was possibly exculpatory, and it was all hidden. The amount of perjury that existed and prosecutorial misconduct, it was a different criminal justice world.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, talk about what you found in writing Devil in the Grove. By the way, how many publishers turned down the publication of this book before you got one who would take it?

GILBERT KING: Yeah, this was rejected 38 times by publishers. And —

AMY GOODMAN: So, you got a publisher. And then, even when it was published, you got a message from them soon after, saying they’re going to remainder it, because no one’s interested.

GILBERT KING: Right. It was just one of those things. I think, at that time, in 2012, people weren’t really into these kind of justice stories. And it didn’t really get a lot of attention, didn’t get a lot of reviews. And —

AMY GOODMAN: And the day after you got that call from the publisher that they were going to remainder your book?

GILBERT KING: Got the Pulitzer Prize. So it was a totally different book all of a sudden, one day later. And now people were paying attention.

AMY GOODMAN: And talk about what you uncovered, what you were able to find.

GILBERT KING: Well, I think the main thing that I was able to uncover was that I got my hands on the unredacted FBI reports. And so, those were significant because you had law enforcement agents admitting to torturing the Groveland boys in the basement, even though their official statement said that they “must have gotten in a fight before I arrested them.” You had constant law enforcement saying — believing they were going off the record to the FBI, and saying that there’s no — that this did not happen and that these witnesses are lying. And I just found a ton of perjury. Even Norma Padgett’s own statements that she made to the FBI did not match the testimony that she gave in the trial. So, that was changed in order to present this prosecutorial narrative. So there was just perjury, falsification of evidence. The police went about and made fake footprints in the soil to put these men in there, and that was documented by an FBI expert. But all of this evidence was ignored, because the prosecutor was on a first-name basis with 12 white jurors.

AMY GOODMAN: The role of Mabel Norris Reese? You write about her in Devil in the Grove, but also your new book, Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found.

GILBERT KING: Right. Well, I think it was really important to see how this case was covered. And Mabel Norris Reese was one of the reporters who was writing about this Groveland case. And ultimately, when the Supreme Court overturned the decision in Lake County, they pointed to the bias in the press. And Mabel was one of them. And she later admitted that she deserved to be stepped on, because she was taking the sheriff’s word for everything. And after the shooting on the side of the road, she had a real change of heart, and she was determined to report on this sheriff and the injustices.

AMY GOODMAN: You mean the sheriff murdering one and critically wounding the other —


AMY GOODMAN: — of the Groveland Four.

GILBERT KING: Right. I think that’s when Mabel really knew that this was really a really bad sheriff. And so she started writing about him constantly. And years later, they burned down her home. They burned a cross. They defaced her office, poisoned her dog. Ultimately, they ran her out of town because she was reporting on these kind of stories.

And my latest book is 10 years later, after Groveland. There was another explosive rape case that reaches the US Supreme Court. And sure enough, Willis McCall is in charge of the investigation. And it’s only Mabel Norris Reese, the only one who will write about it.

AMY GOODMAN: And Thurgood Marshall went from investigating the case — was he on the Supreme Court at the time that it was considered?

GILBERT KING: He was. And it’s interesting, because at some point, in Beneath a Ruthless Sun, when this story reaches — when this case reaches the US Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall is on there, and he knows all about Lake County and Willis McCall. And so they send an order to show cause, back to Lake County, explaining why they’re holding this young man in an asylum.

AMY GOODMAN: Not to confuse the two, but in Beneath a Ruthless Sun, the young man you’re talking about was a white mentally disabled man.

GILBERT KING: Right. And that’s really the strange twist in this, because it involved a wealthier family this time. It was an actual, real rape in this particular case. But because it was seen as so impolite, the prosecutor got together with the sheriff and the judge, and they decided to switch the race of the defendant, so that the victim’s husband would not bear the shame of having been assaulted by an African American. And so they framed a white man of rape at the time.

AMY GOODMAN: So, going back to this case, a pardon isn’t total exoneration. Can you explain that, Gilbert King? And what is — is there any further developments? Will these men ever be fully exonerated?

GILBERT KING: Yeah, they will. And the reason — a pardon sort of encompasses all of it. It’s a recognition that there was a miscarriage of justice. And the reason it was done was because two of the men of the Groveland Four were never convicted in a court. Ernest Thomas never stood trial; he was gunned down by the posse. And Sam Shepherd was gunned down on the evening of the retrial, so, technically, his conviction was thrown out. This was a way for the clemency board to acknowledge all four Groveland boys, pardon them.

Right now the FDLE, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, is working with the Attorney General’s Office. I’m working with them, too, getting together all these files and reports. And the very next step is going to be a complete exoneration. And that just takes a little bit longer to write that report.

AMY GOODMAN: Carol Greenlee, if your father were alive today — he died back in 2012 — what would you say to him? And what would this total exoneration mean to you?

CAROL GREENLEE: It would mean — it would mean everything, in terms of how our family view Florida, how our family really view the criminal justice system in this United States. It restores faith and hope, that even though it took 70 years, it’s here. It’s finally happened. And the same system that tortured him, that put him in prison for what they did not do, is the same system that will exonerate him. So, yes, you have to maintain hope. And this is the greatest country in the world.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, what does the story of what happened to your father say to you about the criminal justice system today, looking at what you see today when it comes to criminal justice and African Americans?

CAROL GREENLEE: That things have changed, but we still have a long way to go. And it is, the laws, the rule of law on the books are good, but we, as people, have to enforce them in the right way. I’m pretty sure that back in 1949 the law was to make sure that everybody had a fair trial. It wasn’t the law; it was the people that was administering the law. And we still have that today. But thank God things are changing. We have the ability for people to stand up and be bold and tell the truth. Governor DeSantis and all of the elected officials in Florida felt that, have done that. They used the law to rectify a wrong, and I’m thankful for that.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Gilbert King, finally, as we look at the health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg — by the way, the announcement Friday that she is cancer-free, she is just recuperating, and even as the court continues to hear oral arguments, she is looking at the transcripts and being a part of the decision-making, expected back in February. The legacy of Thurgood Marshall on the court? And Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her significance?

GILBERT KING: Right. Well, I think it’s an extremely worrisome way to look at what’s happening in America. You know, if we go back to Brown v. Board of Education, Thurgood Marshall’s great desegregation of the schools case —

AMY GOODMAN: And that case, 1955, was six years after the Groveland case.


AMY GOODMAN: Actually, just a few years after, because it took a few years to go to court.

GILBERT KING: Exactly. And what a lot of people don’t realize is, Brown v. Board was funded on the back of this criminal case. All of the money that was raised for the Groveland case got pushed right over into Brown v. Board, which enabled them to put together this phenomenal civil rights document to bring that case forward.

But I think what a lot of people don’t realize is, after Brown v. Board, which was the, you know, landmark civil rights decision in all of the Supreme Court in the 20th century, the country took a step backwards, and you started to see more racial violence and tension. You saw the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. You saw the White Citizens’ Councils popping up — 300,000 members in 11 states. Race relations went backwards after that.

And I think that’s a pattern that you see in history. You could look at it and say, you know, African-American President Barack Obama serves eight years, wins those elections quite comfortably, and there is something of a backlash that you see, a reaction to that. But I like to think it’s like it’s two steps forward, one step back, and it’s a cycle that will always repeat itself in history. But, you know, as Martin Luther King said about the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice, I think that’s ultimately where you get. It’s always moving forward.

And, you know, the situation with the Supreme Court makeup, it’s concerning. When you have an attorney general who comes in, and appointed by a president who is really not known for his civil rights point of view, it’s definitely concerning. But I do have hope for the future.

AMY GOODMAN: Gilbert King, author of Devil in the Grove — this is the story of the Groveland Four — Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America. His latest book, Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found. And thanks so much to Carol Greenlee, daughter of Charles Greenlee, one of the Groveland Four, again, pardoned by Florida’s governor on Friday.

This is Democracy Now! As the government shutdown continues, we look at the IRS, what it is and isn’t doing, and its history, how it’s been gutted over the last decade. Stay with us.

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