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The Rosewood Massacre: an important story with a history of being forgotten

Rosewood, Florida historical marker
Jud McCranie
Rosewood, Florida historical marker

By now, most people have heard of the 1921 massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma when white mobs attacked Black residents, institutions, and wealth — destroying the town’s Greenwood District, known as Black Wall Street.

But, far fewer people have heard of the Rosewood Massacre that took place here in Florida exactly 100 years ago.

Over the course of seven days at the beginning of 1923 a white mob killed at least five Black residents of the mostly-Black town of Rosewood, Florida about 45 miles southwest of Gainesville and burned every Black-owned building to the ground.

According to a 1993 state report produced by Florida university professors, it all began when a 22-year-old white married woman accused a Black man of assaulting her in her home and local white residents took up arms and began searching for the culprit. Researchers said some Black residents at the time and their descendants believe the woman’s attacker was her white boyfriend and that she had made up the story to protect her reputation.

We talk with two student reporters from the University of Florida College of Journalism's Fresh Take Florida news service to talk about their story, “Remembering Rosewood: Descendants mark racial violence that razed Florida town 100 years ago.”

Isabella Douglas, Fresh Take Florida reporter for WUFT News
Zachary Carnell, Fresh Take Florida reporter for WUFT News

Click here to listen to a recent story about the anniversary of the Rosewood Massacre from Florida Public Radio's Lynn Hatter.

Click here to learn about this week's 'Remembering Rosewood' events happening in Gainesville.