The Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Gilbert King, will be speaking at the Orange County Regional History Center on Monday, May 14, as part of a benefit for the Historical Society of Central Florida and the First Amendment Foundation.

The talk will be based on King’s latest work, Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found, which is set in 1950’s Lake County.

“In December 1957, the wife of a Florida citrus baron is raped in her home while her husband is away. She claims a “husky Negro” did it, and the sheriff, the infamous racist Willis McCall, does not hesitate to round up a herd of suspects. But within days, McCall turns his sights on Jesse Daniels, a gentle, mentally impaired white nineteen-year-old. Soon Jesse is railroaded up to the state hospital for the insane, and locked away without trial. But crusading journalist Mabel Norris Reese cannot stop fretting over the case and its baffling outcome. Who was protecting whom, or what? She pursues the story for years, chasing down leads, hitting dead ends, winning unlikely allies. Bit by bit, the unspeakable truths behind a conspiracy that shocked a community into silence begin to surface.” – Penguin Random House

The evening will begin with cocktails and a book-signing at 5 p.m., followed by the main event at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 for members and $75 for non-members.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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