Rosewood, John Wright, Jesse Hunter discussed on Your Brain on Facts
Halfway between Tampa and Tallahassee, a hundred yards off state route, twenty four and ten miles from the next town stands a handsome Pale Yellow House with decorative white trim on the two story porch. The house was the only survivor of an episode of such extraordinary violence that it boggles the mind how quickly and completely it was swept under the rug. An entire community was burned to the ground in an incident of racist asymmetrical warfare. And most people have never even heard of it. My Name's Moxy and this is your brain on facts. The community had been or technically still is Rosewood, Florida. It was settled by both black and white people twenty years before the civil war, but the Jim. Crow segregation in the Post Bellum decades put a clear divide into the community. The town was incorporated in eighteen seventy after it got a post office on a train stop and was named Rosewood for the Pink Cedars that were also the base of its economy. Residents worked in lumber, yards, mills, and even a pencil factory. Until the cedars had been overharvested, and the factories began to close. Most of the white residents moved to nearby sumner. But one couple John and Mary right who ran the general store? They were kind to their neighbors, and were known to Slip Candy to the black kids who hung out at the store, possibly because their own children had died young. The white flight continued into the nineteen twenties when Rose Woods population of about two hundred was entirely black plus the rights. The little hamlet got by just fine. Until New Year's Day nineteen twenty-three. Over in Sumner, a woman named Fanny Taylor woke her neighbors, saying a black man had broken into her house and attacked her. Rather than alert sheriff, her husband immediately gathered a group of men. Including clansmen who were in the area for a rally and a tracking dog. the, dog, lead them to the railroad tracks, which led to Rosewood. The mob, which would grow to be three hundred strong got it in their head that they were looking for a black man named Jesse Hunter who had escaped from a chain gang. The dog ran through the open door of a house and back out with that of wagon tracks. When the homeowner swore that no one else had been in his house, the mob tied him to the back of a car and dragged him down a dirt road. Then they tracked down the owner of the wagon whose tracks the dog sniffed. When he also claimed ignorance and innocence, the mob mutilated and killed him. The mob came to the House of Sarah carrier the Taylor's laundries. Two dozen people most of them. Children were hiding inside having heard what was going on already driven out of their homes by fear. For whatever reason the mob was sure that carrier was hiding Jesse Hunter. They fired on the House and carrier. Sons returned fire. When it was over both Sarah and her son Sylvester carrier had been fatally shot, though Sylvester had managed to kill two of their assailants. Had, anyone bothered to talk to Sarah carrier about Fannie, Taylor. She would have been able to tell them about Taylor's lover. Her white lover who she had been with before the attack. As, the mob kicked in the front door of the carrier house, the people hiding inside fled out the back door to the relative safety of the nearby. Swampy Woods. Not. All were able to get away though. Carriers, other son James was found by the mob who reportedly made him dig his own grave before killing him. The newspapers of the nearby towns caught wind of what was happening. They ran exaggerated. Retailing's of the siege of the carrier House and blatantly false reports of roving bands of armed black citizens. Seeing that even more white men poured into Rosewood believing that a race war had broken out. Apparently it's only a race war when the race you're targeting fights back. The manhunt and terror campaign wasn't confined to that single night, but stretched on for nearly a week. The longer, the mob failed to find hunter, the more agitated and angry became. They weren't about to go home empty-handed. Not when the honor of a white woman was on the line. So they put Rosewood to the torch starting with their church. The mob set fire to homes and shot the people who fled the flames. One woman Lexi Gordon sent her children into the woods to hide as the mob approached, but she was sick with typhoid fever and couldn't run with them. The mob shot her as she tried to hide under her burning house. So it went for days. Florida's governor offered to send in the National Guard to help, but the sheriff declined saying that he had the situation under control. The Sheriff did help some black residents to flee, but he definitely did not have the situation under control, not by even the most generous interpretation of phrase. The terror almost subsided, but gained momentum again on January the seventh when more men joined them off to finish off the town. They burned every building still standing. Every building except one. The home of Rose Woods only white family. Some of the residents who didn't escape into the swamp ran to the rights house. John and Mary hit people in their attic in their closets. Even in their well anywhere, they could put a person to try to keep them safe. John Persuaded the White conductors of a freight train that came through town to take people with them. The conductors agreed but only women and children. Didn't want to risk drawing the attention or the anger of the mob by helping black men to escape. When it was over after more than a week of murder, arson and terror. Official reports said that only eight people had been killed, two white and six black. Survivors counted at least twenty seven dead mini, Langley recalled stepping over several bodies on the Porch of Sarah. Carriers House after the mob left. While claims that as many as a hundred and fifty were killed, have been refuted. The number was almost certainly higher than reported. In the years before the massacre at Rosewood Florida had more lynchings per capita than any other state. Several witnesses claimed to have seen a mass grave filled with black bodies. One remembered a plow brought from nearby Cedar Key that covered twenty six bodies. By the time, anyone took a serious interest in finding out the truth. Most of the witnesses were dead. Those who remained, were often to elderly and infirm to be of much help. Whether, it was six, dead or sixty, there were zero arrests the violence in Rosewood. No one return to their homes to rebuilt. Even John Wright who had saved so many of his neighbors met a miserable end. The white people in the surrounding towns knew that he helped black people during the siege, and he was ostracized. He turned to the bottle and died of exposure after passing out outside one night. A historic marker stands on the side of the road near the house. Some people stopped to shoot pictures of it. Others, just stop to shoot it. The current owner put the house up for sale, and it became too much for her to keep up in her old age. Her realtor daughter and son-in-law were careful where and how they advertised the house. The Rosewood Heritage! Foundation started a campaign to purchase the home, but were unable to secure the five hundred thousand dollar asking price. The. House sold earlier this year for three hundred thousand dollars though the new owners haven't made their intentions for the property public. In contrast to the little whistle, stop town of Rosebud. The Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa was.