05/10/2022 Rosewood   Leave a comment

The Rosewood massacre was a racially motivated massacre of black people and total destruction of a black town that took place during the first week of January 1923 in rural Levy County, Florida.

Yesterday I was looking back through directories full of information that I’ve collected for the last 30 or more years. Something I found during the search has prompted this posting and still affects me today like it did when I first found out about Rosewood. At that time, I thought I was quite the student of history but when I stumbled upon an article about Rosewood, I was speechless. One of the most horrific acts of racial murder and virtually no one that I knew at that time ever heard of it. I know I didn’t. I was shocked and outraged by the act and by the lack of historical impact it apparently had. Maybe in other parts of the United States millions of people were aware of this outrage but not where I was raised, and that pissed me off too. I then made it a point to read as much as I could find about the Rosewood massacre, and I sat down at a table and wrote the following poem. It comes straight from the heart, filled with the outrage and shock that I experienced as I wrote it then and still. Here it is . . .


I learned today about Rosewood
and I really couldn’t explain,
why it took me nearly 46 years
to learn of those deaths, “White Shame”.

The attempt was made seventy years ago
to hide this sin from sight.
Buildings burned, people killed,
and buried in the night.

Two hundred deaths are a shocking reminder
that no matter who you may be,
when your group is outnumbered by anyone else’s
it could turn into another Rosewood, 1923.


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