Governor Fuller Warren
(undated. ca: 1948) Dear Governor:
Sane-minded Florida citizens ofall classes, creeds and colors must be shocked over recent developments in the famous Groveland Case. Despite the report of the coroner's jury that Sheriff McCall acted "in line of duty" when he shot Shepherd and Irvin, those fateful shots fired near Weirsdale on the night of Nov. 6th are still echoing around the world.
Thinking people naturally ask these questions: (1) In view of the mob action directed against those prisoners in 1949, was it safe to transport them into Lake County again with a guard of only two officers? (2) Did Sheriff McCall use sound judgement in attempting to drive his car and guard two prisoners at the same time? (3) Why did the officers follow a "blind" clay road after leaving Weirsdale? (4) If the prisoners did try to escape (which is extremely doubtful), was it necessary to shoot them four times in order to stop them, especially when they were handcuffed together? (5) Since the three Groveland boys had complained of severe beatings and inhuman treatment by Lake County officers in 1949, why were they permittedto leave Raiford again in custody of these same officers? (6) Is it true that the word of a Negro means nothing when weighed against that of a white person (as indicated by the three prisoners' complaints in 1949 and by Irvin's sworn statement last month)? (7) In the face of such strong evidence of gross neglect or wilful intent to murder the prisoners, why have those officers not been suspended?
Yes, these questions are too important to be ignored. We need not try to "whitewash" this case or bury our heads in the sand, like an ostrich. Florida is on trial before the rest of the world. Only prompt and courageous action by you in removing these officers can save the good name of our fair state. We also repeat our request for ample and constant State guard for Irvin in future hearings on this case.
Florida Negro citizens are still mindful of the fact that our votes proved to be your margin of victory in the 2nd primary of 1948. We seek no special favors; but certainly we have a right to expect justice and equal protection of the laws even for the humblest Negro. Shall we be disappointed again?
(signed Harry T. Moore)
Harry T. Moore, Executive Secretary
Progressive Voters' League of Florida
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