Groveland Four, Criminal Justice Reform, Black Crimes, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Fla. Apologizes to ‘Groveland Four,’ Men Wrongly Convicted of Rape in 1949 – The Root In 1949 in Groveland, Fla., four men—Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, Charles Greenlee and Ernest Thomas—were wrongly convicted of raping 17-year-old Norma Padgett in Groveland. Three of the men were imprisoned and another was shot and killed by a group of white men. They became known as the Groveland Four.

On Wednesday, Florida lawmakers voted unanimously as sponsors of H.C.R. 631 (pdf), which seeks to give the men a posthumous exoneration and asks for immediate pardons.

“This resolution, while seemingly minute, symbolizes the great state of Florida looking those families in the eyes—families, with children, who grew up not knowing their fathers but only knew their records,” said state Rep. Bobby DuBose (D-Fort Lauderdale), a sponsor of the bill. “This resolution is us simply saying, ‘We’re sorry’—understanding we will never know or make up for the pain we have caused.”

The Groveland Four from Aaron Hose on Vimeo.

Groveland Four, Criminal Justice Reform, Black Crimes, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN


A concurrent resolution acknowledging the grave injustices perpetrated against Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas, who came to be known as “the Groveland Four”; offering a formal and heartfelt apology to these victims of racial hatred and to their families; and urging the Governor and Cabinet to perform an expedited clemency review of the cases of Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shephard, and Ernest Thomas, including granting 11 full pardons. (Florida Senate.gov)