This Day in History

Jan. 1, 1923: Rosewood Massacre

Time Periods: 1920
Themes: Reparations, African American, Economics, Racism & Racial Identity

It has been a struggle telling this story over the years because a lot of people don’t want to hear about this kind of history. But Mama told me to keep it alive, so I keep telling it … It’s a sad story, but it’s one I think everyone needs to hear. — Lizzie Jenkins, niece of Rosewood schoolteacher

The Rosewood massacre or pogrom, which led to the total destruction of the rural Black town in Florida, began on Jan. 1, 1923. 

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A white posse formed on Jan. 1, spurred by the false accusation of a white married woman who claimed to have been beaten by an (unnamed) Black man. (Most likely to cover for the beating by her white lover.)  The posse carried out lynchings of African Americans and burned the town to the ground. 

Learn about the Rosewood Massacre or pogrom from:

  • The 1997 film Rosewood by John Singleton with actors Ving Rhame and Jon Voight.

Remembering Rosewood, a website by the Rosewood Heritage Foundation Inc, offers oral histories, photos, and detailed information about the history of Rosewood, Florida. The foundation also offers a scholarship fund for undergraduates descended from Black families affected by the massacre. It has organized globally and locally to preserve the memory and history of Rosewood, Florida. Also see the Rosewood historical marker.

Teach about the legacy of these “race riots” with “Burned Out of Homes and History: Unearthing the Silenced Voices of the Tulsa Race Riot” by Linda Christensen from Rethinking Schools. Read about more massacres in U.S. history.