The Real Story
You may already know that the movie was based on a true story. But here are the real deal facts just in case you were unclear. Like the film, the riots were started when a White woman, Fannie Taylor, in the nearby town of Sumner, claimed, initially, that a Black man assaulted her and then later that he raped her. But–and this is important– a Black woman who worked with Mrs. Taylor knew that she had a lover, in addition to her husband. Fannie and her lover had gotten into an argument earlier and he hit her, leaving bruises. Well, she couldn’t tell her husband that her lover hit her, so she played the well known “blame a Black man” game.
And in the ensuing riot, including hundreds of White mob members, resulted in at least six African American and two White deaths.
Survivors of the massacre had to hide in swamps until they were evacuated by trains and cars to other, larger towns in Florida. No arrests were ever made and none of the Black residents ever returned.
The story was generally underreported until the late eighties. Around that time, the descendants of the survivors formed a network and sued the state of Florida for failing to protect the African American community. As a result the descendants were compensated for the damages suffered due to racial violence.
And in 2004, Rosewood was designated a historical landmark.