Sam Carter Lost His Life Helping Another Black Man

Rosewood, Florida sign
Shonda Buchanan
March 29, 2021

In 1923, a mob of white terrorists, already jealous of the well-off Black residents of Rosewood, Florida, found another excuse to exact racist revenge

How did Sam Carter get caught in their vicious path?

When a white woman in a neighboring town reported she was beaten by a Black man, her furious husband galvanized a “posse” of whites, including hate-mongering KKK members of nearby counties. Looking for any Black man to string up, they were led to Carter.

An innocent blacksmith at the local turpentine factory, Carter was at home when the mob burst in and grabbed him. A bogus tip said Carter was hiding a chain gang escapee suspected of beating the white woman! 

Poor Carter was tortured until he lied that he’d hid the fugitive in the swamp. What happened next will break your heart.

Carter, pleading for his life, was shot in the face, then his mutilated body was hung from a tree. Even worse, the barbarians took pieces of Carter’s fingers, ears and clothing as souvenirs. 

Did he, and others murdered that terrible week of violence, ever receive justice?

This is America – so no. Rosewood was burned to the ground. But Carter’s death is a symbol of the injustices Black people have faced in the past and still do today – and reminds of of the necessity of our fight for justice.

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