Orange County is home to some of the world’s most popular amusement parks such as Universal Studios and Disney World. But when you sift past through the rollercoaster and fireworks, there’s a city in the county with a powerful Black history.
Ocoee is a city that was known for a devastating massacre on November 2, 1920. But there’s much more to the story. The Black community in the city was flourishing. From owning land, employing our own, to standing up for their rights, Ocoee had it all.
“The people from Ocoee would come riding over here on horses with gold tassels. We thought, ‘They must be doing well over there,’” one nearby resident at the time was reported saying. Many Black residents in Ocoee owned fruit-bearing land, which not only gave them ownership but also an income. However, the bustling community still couldn’t escape the terrorism that was coming their way.
It was 1920 and the Black people of the city wanted to vote, but white residents opposed them. However, Ocoee residents were determined. They organized and attempted to vote in spite of white opposition. While their resistance led to a devastating massacre, the history of the Black Ocoee community will never die.
The Black community of Ocoee faced a devastating act of racism, but their unity showed how our people can flourish when we work together.