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AMH 2070: The History of Florida: Early twentieth-century racial violence
Resources from FSCJ Libraries and other online links for Florida History classes.
PRINT: The Rosewood Massacre investigates the 1923 race riot that, in a weeklong series of events, devastated the predominantly African American community of Rosewood, Florida. The town was burned to the ground by neighboring Whites, and its citizens fled for their lives, never to return. None of the perpetrators were convicted. Very little documentation of the event and the ensuing court hearings survives today. The only signs that there was once a vibrant town are a scattering of structural remains and a historical marker erected in 2004 declaring the site a Florida Heritage Landmark.Drawing on new methods and theories, Edward González-Tennant uncovers important elements of the forgotten history of Rosewood. He uses a mix of techniques such as geospatial analysis, interpretation of remotely sensed data, analysis of census data and property records, oral history, and the excavation and interpretation of artifacts from the site to reconstruct the local landscape. González-Tennant interprets these and other data through an intersectional framework, acknowledging the complex ways class, race, gender, and other identities compound discrimination. This allows him to explore the local circumstances and broader sociopolitical power structures that led to the massacre, showing how the event was a microcosm of the oppression and terror suffered by African Americans and other minorities in the United States.González-Tennant connects these historic forms of racial violence to present-day social and racial inequality and argues that such continuities demonstrate the need to make events like the Rosewood massacre public knowledge.A volume in the series Cultural Heritage Studies, edited by Paul A. Shackel
PRINT: A symbolic embodiment of racial violence and hatred, “The Beast” openly prowled the nation between the Civil War and the civil rights movement. The reasons it appeared varied, with psychological, political, and economic dynamics all playing a part, but the outcome was always brutal--if not deadly. From the bombing of Harriette and Harry T. Moore’s home on Christmas Day to Willie James Howard’s murder, from the Rosewood massacre to the Newberry Six lynchings, Marvin Dunn offers an encyclopedic catalogue of The Beast’s rampages in Florida. Instead of simply taking snapshots of incidents, Dunn provides context for a century’s worth of racial violence by examining communities over time. Crucial insights from interviews with descendants of both perpetrators and victims shape this study of Florida’s grim racial history. Rather than pointing fingers and placing blame,The Beast in Floridaallows voices and facts to speak for themselves, facilitating a conversation on the ways in which racial violence changed both black and white lives forever. With this comprehensive and balanced look at racially motivated events,Dunn reveals the Sunshine State’s too-often forgotten-or intentionally hidden-past. The result is a panorama of compelling human stories: its emergent dialogue challenges conceptions of what created and maintained The Beast.
PRINT: Brief essays profile over 50 African Americans during four centuries of Florida history. Traces the role African Americans played in the discovery, exploration, and settlements of Florida, through the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement. For classroom use: one free teacher's manual with the purchase of three books.
EBOOK: In this penetrating examination of African American politics and culture, Paul Ortiz throws a powerful light on the struggle of black Floridians to create the first statewide civil rights movement against Jim Crow. Concentrating on the period between the end of slavery and the election of 1920, Emancipation Betrayed vividly demonstrates that the decades leading up to the historic voter registration drive of 1919-20 were marked by intense battles during which African Americans struck for higher wages, took up arms to prevent lynching, forged independent political alliances, boycotted segregated streetcars, and created a democratic historical memory of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Contrary to previous claims that African Americans made few strides toward building an effective civil rights movement during this period, Ortiz documents how black Floridians formed mutual aid organizations--secret societies, women's clubs, labor unions, and churches--to bolster dignity and survival in the harsh climate of Florida, which had the highest lynching rate of any state in the union. African Americans called on these institutions to build a statewide movement to regain the right to vote after World War I. African American women played a decisive role in the campaign as they mobilized in the months leading up to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. The 1920 contest culminated in the bloodiest Election Day in modern American history, when white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan violently, and with state sanction, prevented African Americans from voting. Ortiz's eloquent interpretation of the many ways that black Floridians fought to expand the meaning of freedom beyond formal equality and his broader consideration of how people resist oppression and create new social movements illuminate a strategic era of United States history and reveal how the legacy of legal segregation continues to play itself out to this day.
PRINT: In his expansive history of documentary work in the South during the twentieth century, Scott L. Matthews examines the motivations and methodologies of several pivotal documentarians, including sociologist Howard Odum, photographers Jack Delano and Danny Lyon, and music ethnographer John Cohen. Their work salvaged and celebrated folk cultures threatened by modernization or strived to reveal and reform problems linked to the region's racial caste system and exploitative agricultural economy. Images of alluring primitivism and troubling pathology often blurred together, neutralizing the aims of documentary work carried out in the name of reform during the Progressive era, New Deal, and civil rights movement. Black and white southerners in turn often resisted documentarians' attempts to turn their private lives into public symbols. The accumulation of these influential and, occasionally, controversial documentary images created an enduring, complex, and sometimes self-defeating mythology about the South that persists into the twenty-first century.
Click on the image above to watch a powerful documentary on Ocoee.
Some background on early twentieth-century race riots can be found at The Negro Holocaust: Lynching and Race Riots in the United State, 1880-1950 (read section on Race Riots for the larger context of racial tensions)