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Liz Rosewood Sign.jpeg

Our Movement

What Happened In Rosewood Florida?

In the early 1920s, Rosewood, Florida was a thriving African American community nestled in the heart of the Sunshine State. It was a place where families flourished, businesses thrived, and dreams took root. However, tragedy struck when a false accusation ignited a wave of violence and hatred that forever changed the course of Rosewood's history.

The turmoil began when a white woman falsely accused a black man from a neighboring town of assaulting her. This allegation ignited a spark of racial tension that quickly engulfed the entire region. Fuelled by long-standing racial tensions and fueled by a climate of hatred, a mob mentality took hold, leading to a violent and devastating series of events.

As rumors spread like wildfire, a frenzied mob of white supremacists descended upon Rosewood, seeking vengeance for the alleged assault. Homes were invaded, businesses were ransacked, and innocent lives were tragically lost. The rampage continued for days, leaving a trail of destruction and despair in its wake. Men, women, and children were forced to flee for their lives, seeking refuge in nearby swamps and forests, their once vibrant community reduced to ruins.
 

Amidst the chaos, the residents of Rosewood fought valiantly to protect their families and their cherished community. With tremendous courage and resilience, they resisted the violence, doing everything in their power to survive and preserve their dignity. Their unwavering spirit in the face of unimaginable horror stands as a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit. The events of Rosewood serve as a haunting reminder of the atrocities fueled by racial hatred, and they underscore the urgent need for education, empathy, and justice in our society today.

Our Mission

The Real Rosewood Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to preserving the history of Rosewood, Florida through research, education, and public programs.

Our Vision

The Real Rosewood Foundation, Inc. endeavors to empower humanity by exploring the Rosewood journey and legacy to develop a better future for all. 

Executive Board

Board of Directors

Founder's Message

I had struggled for years to let people know that Black lives do matter, even before the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement became a part of our collective consciousness. Since 2003, the Real Rosewood Foundation has sought to preserve knowledge, spread awareness and foster cultural sensitivity around a massacre that wiped out the small Colored community of Rosewood, Florida, nearly a century ago. Even now, I am committed to keeping the story of the 1923 Rosewood massacre alive, because it is part of my family’s history, and directly impacts us all.

Remembering is an integral part of moving forward. Today, the BLM movement is replaying and reflecting on the civil rights work laid down by previous generations, while educating new generations of people who did not know the seriousness of hate and injustice. It is bringing forth awareness of the experiences that Black people in America have endured all our lives. I grew up under the Jim Crow era, dominated by hate and injustice, through which white society turned a blind eye to my needs and never accepted me as an equal. I remember the stares and glares very well as a child. I remember Mom packing a 38 COLT and a switchblade to protect her family, including my father who dared not raise a voice to defend his family. I remember the 1960 civil rights lunch counter sit-ins at the F.W. Woolworth store in St. Augustine, Florida, where I was a Junior attending Florida Memorial College. Locally I remember being blocked and driven out of classrooms.

From the age of five, 1943, my mom repeated to me the tale of how my Rosewood aunt and teacher, was attacked during the Rosewood massacre because she refused to lie about her husband’s whereabouts on the night, January 1, 1923, of the supposed attack on Fannie Taylor, the Sumner housewife who cried wolf . At age five I struggled to stay awake, but the fabric of the story attached itself to me and my heart and has become my life passionate life ministry. It was fresh on my mind the next morning, and I said, ‘Mom, I want to hear more.” She replied, “Not now” That story became our story, and we talked about it often. I carried it with me to school every day. I took it to college, and I took it to work. But I never talked about it (outside of our home). Today it is my work and your work. We must tell what others held, conspiringly. It’s history and that’s who we are.

I have long labored to keep the memory of Rosewood alive. My passion was fueled by the stories my mother told me. Through this Real Rosewood Foundation, I pass along the stories and histories handed down to me, educating the public in memory of the Rosewood victims, as well survivors and descendants (like my aunt Mahulda Gussie Brown Carrier and uncle Aaron Carrier) and their descendants. In looking at the work ahead of us, the Foundation is spearheading three major educational initiatives:

The establishment of a museum located on 29 acres at 14738 SW 159th Avenue, Archer, Florida.

The development of a K-12 curriculum for the Rosewood massacre to be taught in all Florida public schools.

The resurrection of the Rosewood town.

I am continuously humbled, honored, and blessed to meet people daily and invite them to join in peace-building, healing, and reconciliation through learning about the history of Rosewood.

Historically anchored,
Miss Lizzie

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