Whispered in the hushed tones of Black folklore is the ghostly tale of Rosewood, a thriving Black town in Florida that was burned to the ground 100 years ago by a white mob looking to terrorize Black folks.
Since then, many residents of the wooded area of Rosewood say the lost town is extremely haunted.
Some say a ghostly Black man roams the woods pleading to the winds for mercy before disappearing into the woods. Others have claimed they heard gunshots and loud screams pouring out of the woods at weird hours of the night. Some have witnessed old lanterns glowing underneath the tree line moving as if someone is being chased, all to just disappear in the blink of an eye.
Fascinating stories like these are whispered all over Florida, but is this lost Black ghost town really haunted?
Here is the story of the Massacre and haunting of Rosewood, one of the most tragic and overlooked events in American history.
In 1845, Rosewood was settled by free Blacks and white residents working the local timber mills. In the same year, Florida would join the Union as a slave state, which spelled trouble for any free Blacks looking to build a life for their families in America.
The small town began to expand, adding a post office as well as a train depot on the Florida Railroad.
By 1900, Rosewood had become predominantly Black, as most of the town’s white residents would move to the neighboring town of Sumner. But that didn’t stop Rosewood from growing and more Black families headed to Florida to join the vibrant community. By 1915 Rosewood’s population was more than 355 people.
By the 1920s Rosewood was mostly self-sufficient.
The town boasted three churches, a school, a large Masonic Hall, a turpentine mill, a sugarcane mill, a baseball team named the Rosewood Stars and two general stores, one of which was White-owned. Rosewood was seen as a happy place and was a symbol of middle-class prosperity within the Black community, something white people at the time weren’t too happy about.
Black prosperity scared white Southerners, so they turned us into monsters in their heads to justify what came next….torture, terror and tragedy.
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