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  • Nia Clark

S2 E8 Rosewood: the Massacre


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It has been 98 years since Rosewood, Florida was destroyed. The first week of January marked the 98th anniversary of the tragedy. Rosewood, represented what was possible when Black people pooled their resources and knowledge to build a community even in the Jim Crow South. It was a economically diverse community made up of houses, industries, turpentine stills, saw mills, orange groves, market gardens, a train Depot and a post office. It has been described as a community similar to an old West town. Many Residents of this predominantly African American town in 1920s America owned their own property and businesses and in fact did well for themselves considering the times. Many people who lived in Rosewood were also domestic workers for white families in Sumner or worked in the sawmill in located in Sumner.


98 years ago, during the first week of January 1923 several mobs began what amounted to a violent, deadly racial cleansing in the rural hamlet. Accounts of the death toll vary, ranging from less than 10 people to more than 100. On January 1, 1923, a 22-year-old woman who lived in Sumner, Florida named Fannie Taylor, alleged that she had been beaten by a Black man. Most historical accounts claim this was a lie. If that is the case than that lie sparked - the events - that would cause the demise of a promising community and haunt survivors of the Massacre as well as their descendants for decades to come.


For the first time ever, Fanny Taylor’s great, great grandson is publicly speaking about about his family’s connection to Rosewood. Michael Leech only recently learned about his great, great, grandmother’s involvement in the Rosewood Massacre. Guests in this episode also include, historian and archivist, Sherry Sherrod DuPree of the Rosewood Heritage Foundation. Listeners will hear an account about circumstances surrounding the Rosewood Massacre by a man named Joe Eddie Scott, which was recorded as part of the African American History Project at the University of Florida. Finally, listeners will also hear an original song about the Rosewood Massacre that was written and performed by singer/song writer, Jane Ross Fallon, which won first place in the Will McLean Festival in Brooksville, and and the South Florida Folk Festival.


GUESTS IN THIS EPISODE


Sherry Sherrod DuPree of the Rosewood Heritage Foundation


...it's it's heart wrenching because you know, this was a thriving community. It was doing very well. And obviously I don't want to see, I don't like to see anybody hurt. But I mean, all, it was one P accusation and without any due process or. No actual investigation, an entire town was foundered and destroyed... ~ Michael Leech: great, great grandson of Fannie Taylor, whom historian believe sparked the Roseood Massacre.

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Musical attributions

1. Artist/Title: Axletree - Window Sparrows Licenses: Attribution 4.0 International URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree/Ornamental_EP/Window_Sparrows

2. Artist/Title: Lobo Loco - Place on my Bonfire (ID 1170) Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Adventure/Place_on_my_Bonfire_ID_1170

3. Artist/Title: Youssoupha Sidibe - Xaleyi Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Country?pageSize=20&page=1&sort=artist&d=1

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