In the 1980s the husband moved to Florida. He was a teenager. He has a lot of stories about the racism he encountered there. I look at him and just see White Guy. Apparently people in his new town looked at him and saw him as not white enough to be acting the way he did. He was a transplanted New Yorker of Italian and Native American descent. Bad combination of attitude and melanin in a racially sensitive area.

His favorite story is about the guidance counselor who called his mother to complain about him acting white.

When I saw this book about a civil rights case in the same county he lived in I decided to listen to it.

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New AmericaDevil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 1949 a white woman in Lake County Florida claimed that she was kidnapped and raped by four black men.  The claim was suspicious from the beginning but that didn’t stop law enforcement officials from rounding up four convenient suspects. When the sheriff did not hand them over to a white mob to be lynched, the mob went out and burned black people’s houses and terrorized black residents.

What follows would be considered over the top and absurd if it was in a fictional book.  This is the kind of book that made me say,  “What the @#$$%^….?” out loud as I was driving down the road.  The trial and the aftermath just keep getting more twisted.  ‘Kafkaesque’ would be the best adjective if Kafka was on an acid trip and just letting his imagination fly.  Remembering that this is a true story makes all the more disturbing.

I’ve given it to the husband to listen to because strangely this was never covered in his high school history class.  (Read the sarcasm in there.)  I’ve also congratulated him on surviving his four years there.  He has declared it to be a minor miracle.   He’s always says that there “ain’t no redneck like a Florida redneck.”  After reading this I’m getting his point.