Seven decades after four young black men were accused of raping a white woman in a 1949 case now seen as a miscarriage of justice, the central Florida county where their case took place has erected a monument in their honor.
The monument honoring Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas was unveiled Friday during a ceremony at the Lake County Historic Courthouse. The granite memorial for the men known as the Groveland Four features a bronze plaque imprinted with a written account of the men’s ordeal, which was prepared with the help of their families.
“While we cannot change the past, we can learn from it, and we can assure that our institutions today provide equal and fair justice to all,” said Lake County Commission Chairman Leslie Campione.
A year ago, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state's three-member Cabinet granted posthumous pardons to the men.
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The case of the Groveland Four is considered a blight on Florida's history. One of the four was killed before he could be charged.
One of the remaining men was fatally shot by the local sheriff and another was shot and wounded by the sheriff and a deputy. A third man was wrongly imprisoned.