Gilbert King, author of three books on the fight against race-based violence and injustice — two of them set in Lake County, Florida — is set to speak at the Historic Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20.
The event is free.
King’s second book, Devil in the Grove, focuses on renowned lawyer Thurgood Marshall and his defense of four young African American boys in Groveland, two of whom were killed by the local sheriff. Devil in the Grove won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2013.
His latest book, Beneath a Ruthless Sun, concerns the efforts of journalist Mabel Norris Reese to clear Jesse Daniels, a mentally impaired white man, who was sent to a state hospital for the insane without trial in a 1957 rape case.
Through many years of effort, Reese helped secure the release of Daniels, with the help of Volusia County attorney Richard Graham, who was born and raised in DeLand. Graham went on to become a member of the Florida House of Representatives and a circuit judge of the 7th Judicial Circuit, before retiring in 2012. He is currently an attorney in Ormond Beach.
Graham will join King for the Aug. 20 talk in the second-floor Old Courtroom at the Historic Volusia County Courthouse, 120 W. Indiana Ave. in DeLand.
The location is apt — the second floor of the Historic Courthouse is also the location of the segregated balcony areas that were once walled off and hidden from view.
The event is hosted by the West Volusia Historical Society. An oral history interview with Graham is available on YouTube through the Historical Society’s channel.
“In two revealing books, Gilbert King has brought to light the many injustices suffered by young men unable to defend themselves against a powerful sheriff in neighboring Lake County,” West Volusia Historical Society programs and special-events chair Mary Lou Peffer said.
The doors of the Old Courtroom will open at 5:45 p.m. on Aug. 20, and the talk will begin at 7 p.m. Because the event will be filmed, the hosts urge attendees to arrive early.
Please enter through the West Indiana Avenue entrance; the Old Courtroom is handicap-accessible.
For more information, call 386-740-6813 or visit www.delandhouse.com.