Florida legislators are advancing a bill that extends a formal apology and seeks a full pardon to four black men – Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas – who were falsely accused of raping Norma Padgett, a 17-year-old white girl in 1948.
Watch the Florida House Full Address regarding Groveland Four:
From the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory: This shows Lake County Sheriff McCall and shooting victims. In 1951, Samuel Shepherd and Walter Lee Irvin were shot by Sheriff Willis McCall while being transported from Raiford to Lake County. McCall said they had attacked him. Walter Irvin survived and accused McCall of forcing them from the vehicle in which they were being transported and shooting them down. State Archives of Florida;Florida MemoryState Archives of Florida; Florida Memory
Josh Venkataraman, a University of Florida alumni started an online petition drive to encourage legislators apologize to the Groveland Four, which as of now has 9,000 signatures.