This week marks the 100-year anniversary of the horrific destruction of the majority-Black town of Rosewood in Levy County, a story almost lost to time. To honor the lives lost during these dark days of Florida history, the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses and the Florida Legislative Black Caucus have sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, asking that he order the lowering of flags at all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds throughout the State of Florida immediately until sunset on January 7.
The letter (attached) goes on to say, “We cannot undo the sins of our past, nor should we hide from them. However, it is critical that we remember these acts clearly, honor those who were lost or wronged, and do the work to ensure that events like this are never repeated.”
Leader Fentrice Driskell (D- Tampa) said the following,
“It’s so important that we respectfully remember and honor our history, and that everyone comes together to participate in the constant quest to achieve that ‘more perfect union’ our Constitution promises.
What happened in Rosewood was so horrific that it’s hard to comprehend. A whole town, the entire community, disappeared in the wake of an angry extremist mob’s violence. It is so important that we remember the terror done to the people of Rosewood. And it is also important to remember the actions of their neighbors who tried to help: from the store owners and residents who sheltered terrified Black families, to the train conductors who whisked people away from harm, to the Black community in Gainesville who took in refugees who’d lost everything.
We hope that lowering the flags will cause people to remember this terrible moment from our past, and help solidify in their minds forever that we can never allow anything like this to ever happen again.”
Leader Lauren Book (D- Plantation) added, “On this, the 100th anniversary of the Rosewood Massacre we must pause and pay respect to the memory of the lives lost in a time of gross inequality and inhuman treatment of one another, otherwise we are doomed to repeat/relive the inexcusable event again.”
Representative Dianne Hart (D- Tampa); Chair, Florida Legislative Black Caucus, said, “As the Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus we are in full support of lowering our state’s flag in recognition of the one hundredth anniversary of the tragedy that took place in Rosewood, Florida. By lowering the flag over our State’s Capitol we show support for the lives lost and changed forever. Hatred must never be tolerated in the State of Florida.”