Devil in the Grove is a nonfiction account of a 1949 court case involving the Groveland Boys, who were accused of rape by a 17 year-old Caucasian-American. The book was published in 2012 by American writer Gilbert King. The book is set in Florida at a time when racist Jim Crow laws still existed. The ordeal began on July 16, 1949 when four teenage African-American boys were accused of rape. While four boys were arrested, one escaped and was shortly thereafter killed. This began a lengthy, and controversial trial that tested the boundaries of American justice.
The book also heavily features Thurgood Marshall, a judge who defended the Groveland Boys, and would later go on to become a Supreme Court Justice. After the boys were initially found guilty by an all-white jury, Marshall's appeal to the Supreme Court freed the surviving three defendants. King focuses on the legal prowess used by Marshall in order to free the boys, while also the ensuing outrage when two of the defendants were shot while being transported from prison. King also discusses the Ku Klux Klan and the broader context of American racism.
Gilbert King, the author of the work, was born in New York in 1962. He attended the University of Southern Florida but did not receive a degree. He began freelance writing and photographing in the 1990s, and worked with prestigious publications including Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. His first work, The Execution of Willie Francis was published in 2008, followed by Devil in the Grove four years later. Both works have received critical acclaim, with Devil in the Grove being awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. As of 2013, a film adaption has been in the works.