The Rosewood Massacre is America’s Forgotten Tragedy

“They killed my grandfather. They forced him to dig his grave and after his prayer they threw him into the pit.

Minnie Lee Langley said in 1983 when she spoke about her traumatic experiences 60 years earlier on television.

As a nine-year-old girl at the time – in 1923 – she witnessed a racist hunt known as the Rosewood Massacre.

Video: Watch the Broadcast with Relatives (1983)

Rosewood was burned

Rosewood was a small, orderly town in Florida with a mostly black population of 200.

However, in early 1923, the folly came to an end when hundreds of whites attacked the city. Not long ago, a white woman was allegedly assaulted by a black man in a neighboring village, and now the group wants to take revenge on the culprit hiding in Rosewood.

In the days that followed, the city became a nightmare of murders and arson attacks. The police remained aloof, and eventually 1,000 whites participated in the destruction of the village.

When the whites left Rosewood after a week, the town was a ruin that could never be inhabited again.

Relatives were compensated

Officially, eight people were killed in the massacre, but eyewitnesses say there were many more. Despite the high number of victims, no one was ever convicted, and the Rosewood massacre was largely forgotten until a reporter picked up the story in 1982.

A lawsuit was filed in 1994 alleging the state of Florida was negligent in protecting Rosewood residents.

The state was ordered to pay $150,000 to all survivors of the massacre, including Minnie Lee Langley.

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