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.



10 Replies to “It’s Monday! What are you reading?”

  1. That last line really gets me. Many of my relatives were born in Florida or lived in Florida. “There is no redneck like a Florida redneck.” I won’t forget that quote. Hate is so ugly. Glad your husband is going to listen to it. I want to read a bio of Thurgood Marshall. Had this thought a couple of months ago. So I need to write in on a To Do list. Have a good week.

  2. My sister-in-law, (100%) Brooklyn born Italian moved to Florida when she was 15 in the mid 70s and told me about how hard it was for her. She is still there. Have a great week and Thanksgiving.

  3. I’m always sorry to hear stories like your husband’s. I’m 100% swedish in appearance but raised by an American Indian. She used to tell me stories about how her bag was stapled when no one’s was…

    I hope you are able to enjoy Thanksgiving, the pumpkin pie, stuffing 🙂

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