Groveland Four Apology Gaining Ground

Apr 6, 2017

A formal apology for the Groveland Four is gaining momentum in the Florida capitol. State lawmakers want to acknowledge the mistreatment of four black men who were denied fair trials.

Samuel Shepherd, Walter Irvin, and Charles Greenlee of the Groveland Four.
Credit Gary Corsair via /

In 1949, four black men were wrongfully accused of raping a white woman. Law enforcement beat the men and forced them to confess. Ultimately two died at the hands of officers. Representative Bobby DuBose, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, says it’s time to exonerate the Groveland Four and officially apologize.

“Although we can’t change the past, we can correct and change the future. And this means so much more to this family than I can express,” DuBose said. “Families who during this time had their homes burned down. Families with children who grew up not knowing their fathers, but only knowing their records. This resolution is us simply saying we’re sorry.”

The measure is now moving in both chambers. That implies the apology is gaining support and could have a way forward this session.