Florida House leaders on Tuesday passed an historic measure to exonerate four Black men who were wrongly accused of rape in 1949 in Groveland, Florida, “then tortured, murdered or unjustly imprisoned after one of the ugliest racist episodes in state history,” reports the Miami Herald:

Known as the Groveland Four, none of the four men—Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, Charles Greenlee and Ernest Thomas—are still living, but members of their families were seated in the gallery of the House chamber when lawmakers voted 117-0 to unanimously join as sponsors of HCR 631. The measure exonerates the men and asks Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet to expedite consideration of posthumous 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 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 four men were accused of raping 17-year-old Norma Padgett in Groveland. Padgett, along with her estranged husband, told police that on the night of July 16, 1949, their car had broken down just outside of town. They claimed that four black men stopped, got out of their car and then raped her.

A similar measure is headed for a vote before the full Senate and is expected to go to the governor, notes the report.

We’re glad the families are getting some semblance of justice. But the legislature should take it a step further and also posthumously prosecute those who committed the murders, namely ex-Sheriff Willis McCall, who reportedly shot two of men, claiming they tried to escape on the way to court. Thurgood Marshall, then head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, offered to take the case, which had risen to the US. Supreme Court, notes the Herald.

Let us know your thoughts in comments.

SOURCE: Miami Herald


18 thoughts on “Florida Lawmakers Prepare To Apologize To Families Of Four Black Men Wrongly Accused Of Rape

  1. Rosa on said:

    Where is the financial support to the families that will help with the healing. We are the only people that are expected to settle for the written words. Remember the Native Americans. Yes, Prosecute the Sheriff.

  2. Sorry needs to come with a financial settlement. No discussion since their families were deprived if theirvearning and support. Stop the craziness.

  3. RENO2AC on said:

    Throughout history white men have raped, murdered, lied, cheated, stole money, land, and human lives, and started wars. There are no worse creatures on this earth than white men. They kill their pregnant wives, and they rape small children. They are the scum of the earth. I bet Larry watches child pornography in the basement of his drunken mother’s house.

  4. Now guess how many more cases like this one are out here. White people killed black folks at will, whenever the hell they felt like it. Accused us of crimes we didn’t commit to justify their pure hatred of black men. Again, not enough space on earth to list all the wrongs & crimes white folks committed against humanity. The simple jested and acceptance of black people as equals could have saved us a whole lot of torment, grief, anguish, hostility and bad blood between the races.
    To the lawmakers of FL, you sorry ass mofos, it’s a little too late for these men because no one even remembers their story. F**king bastards.

    • jhuff on said:

      Looks like blacks are killing whites #Fresno CA, and the list of people saved by whites would fill all the books in a Library

      • Correction, l” A BLACK ” did the Fresno killings. Your like to give facts. Give the right ones.

      • jhuff on said:

        as usual WRONG again Diane the Black man in Dallas that targeted white police officers
        the 4 blacks in Chicago that kidnapped an tortured the white kid DAM!!! you need to start watching FOX news an be better informed

      • Diane on said:

        I’ll keep watching Lawrence odonnell. He gives me all he REAL/TRUE FACTS I need.

  5. It’s a moot point now–since all of those accused are now deceased!!!!!!!!!!!

    Far too many men of color have lost their lives over a LIE some white b–ch told!!!!!!!!!!!

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