The House and Senate agreed Friday night to provide scholarships to the descendants of what is widely considered one of the bloodiest massacre in American political history.
According to the latest budget agreement, the state will provide $305,000 worth of scholarships to Ocoee Massacre descendants. Up to 50 scholarships will be provided to students, amounting to $6,100 per scholarship recipient.
To qualify, a student must be a direct descendant of an Ocoee Massacre victim or a current African American resident of Ocoee.
They must also be enrolled as a degree-seeking or certificate-seeking student at a state university, college or career center.
The scholarship program marks a political victory for Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy, who represents the small Central Florida city.
Bracy unveiled and pioneered the program in the weeks leading to the 2021 Legislative Session.
Upward of 60 African Americans were killed during the Massacre, which happened after Mose Norman, an African American unable to vote for failure to pay a poll tax, was seen recording names of others who had not been permitted to vote in his precinct.
Black residents were killed in the riot, and others fled the community as homes, churches and a fraternal lodge were destroyed.
In November 2018, the Ocoee City Commission issued a proclamation on the Massacre.
“The historical record clearly shows that African American residents of West Orange County in and around what later became the city of Ocoee were grievously denied their civil rights, their property, and their very lives in a series of unlawful acts perpetrated by a white mob and governmental officials on Nov. 2, 1920, and the following weeks simply because they tried to vote, as any eligible citizens should be able to do.”
No African Americans lived in the city for the next six decades, the proclamation noted, resulting in the area being referred to as a “sundown city.” Sundown cities were communities where Blacks were expected to avoid after sundown.