Senators unanimously passed legislation Thursday to explore how schools could add the Ocoee Election Day Riots to state history curricula.
Ocoee Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy‘s bill (SB 1262) would call on the Education Commissioner’s African American History Task Force to recommend ways the history of that massacre can be taught in schools. Now, that measure awaits a House vote.
November marks the 100th anniversary of the lynching of Julius “July” Perry, a prominent leader in the early Orange County African American community who was attempting to turn out black voters. White rioters also drove survivors from the town and torched black-owned buildings in the neighborhood.
Last year, Ocoee declared the massacre an act of domestic terror and hoped to shed its history as a “sunset” town where African Americans weren’t allowed after curfew. Between three and 60 African Americans reportedly died in the 1920 violence, and the remaining black residents fled.
“The impotence for the violence was really land theft. We talk about this narrative of voter suppression, but at the core of it was the land theft,” Bracy said.
In recent decades, the event has also drawn significant attention in Orange County and Orlando, where a historical marker was placed this spring outside the Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando. But it has not garnered much state or national attention.
The legislation would also direct the Secretary of State’s office to find ways the Museum of Florida History and other national museums could highlight that history. And it would order the Secretary of Environmental Protection to see if state parks could be named after some of the victims.
Additionally, it would encourage school boards to consider naming buildings after Ocoee Riots victims.
Originally, the bill created a descendants’ compensation fund and required the Department of Economic Opportunity to prioritize applications from black businesses in areas directly impacted by the violence. While that language is no longer in the bill, Bracy hopes an appropriation or future legislation could start that effort.
Riviera Beach Democratic Sen. Bobby Powell, who attended public schools said he didn’t learn about the massacre until recently. He and former Senate Democratic leader Oscar Braynon, who currently represents Miami Gardens, thanked the Senate for taking up the legislation.
“This conversation and what has gone on with the African American population in America is one that we don’t have very often, and really don’t have it as often as I would hope that we have it on this floor,” Braynon said.
Billy seber Trump
March 5, 2020 at 6:10 pm
this version of the bill is fine, lets tell history, but, the earlier version where reparations were going to be paid, was wrong, that is why I spoke in the committee against it, it would have opened a legal can of worms, and at least the politicians got this one right.
March 6, 2020 at 11:03 am
Will this apply to all forms of cover-up, regardless of tinting? Obama so loved the anarchist, he gave them jobs in the White House.
March 7, 2020 at 9:33 pm
This is typical with black politicians.They get into office only to help their own people out and to bring up the past something that happened over 100 years ago. Why not solve the problems of today instead of bringing up stuff that happened before we were born.
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