The Groveland Four: White lies led to Black deaths in Jim Crow Florida

Absolutely well-timed, well-written and extremely moving. Chuck, thank you and to the families of the falsely accused: No words can adequately share how we feel. Thank you, also to the newly elected Florida gov. To the still-lying woman: God bless you!

Hobbservation Point

A ghost from Florida’s segregated past was exorcised yesterday when newly elected Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida elected Cabinet voted unanimously to pardon the Groveland Four nearly 70 years after they were falsely accused and convicted of rape.

The Groveland Four’s case started out none too dissimilar from thousands of others that led to lynching or indefinite incarceration of Black men, women and children during the nearly 80 year period of lawlessness and white vigilantism known as Jim Crow.

On July 16, 1949, Anna Padgett, a 17-year old white woman, and her husband Willie, 22, claimed that they were attacked by four young Black men on a country road in the town of Tavares, which is in Lake County near Orlando.

florida-governor-ron-desantis-posthumously-pardons-four-black-men-in-1949-rape-case-4(Willie and Anna Padgett circa 1949)

Local law enforcement rounded up four suspects: Ernest Thomas, Charles Greenlee, age 16; Samuel Shepherd, age 22, and Walter Irvin, age 22…

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