FLORIDA: Murmur in the Streets

The story spread across sleepy Lake County like fire in a stand of slash pine. By nightfall all the county knew that Willie Padgett's 17-year-old wife had been raped by four Negroes; two of the suspects were already locked up in the county jail at Tavares.

Sullen, glint-eyed men collected in murmuring knots in the dusty, farm-town streets. Soon, the small angry knots had. become one 125-man mob pulling up at the Tavares courthouse in a 20-car caravan. Most of the mob stayed behind while its leaders walked up the steps to talk...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!