Rosewood, an all-Black Florida town, was doing well for itself. Folks had jobs, peace, and prosperity to spare. That is until a 22-year-old white woman named Fannie Taylor, in neighboring Sumner on New Year’s Day in 1923, screamed for help.
She claimed a Black man assaulted and robbed her. It was a lie, of course – she was trying to hide the affair she was having! But the sheriff immediately believed her white tears.
Coincidentally, a Black prisoner had escaped around that time. So without any investigation, they pinned the crime on him. The sheriff recruited a team to hunt down this Black man … and horror ensued.
The group quickly grew to 400 angry white men out for blood. The mob tore apart Rosewood, kidnapping, torturing, and murdering our people in their search! They burned down all the homes and buildings in the town and shot any person who tried to escape. The massacre ended in a destroyed and abandoned Rosewood.
So would apologies 70 years later be enough?
Nothing can take away past pain. But it’s a start, and if Rosewood is any indication, it CAN have some positive effect. Your move, America.