The Ocoee Massacre: hidden Central Florida history

Florida — A documentary is set to release on a piece of Central Florida history you may never have heard about.

It is called the ‘Ocoee Massacre’ and the story centers around one group’s fight for the right to vote.

As the documentary’s producer, Channel 9 Eyewitness News' Darlene Jones, writes:

The atrocity in the rural settlement started on Nov. 2, 1920. It was Election Day; America was choosing a new president. That year remains an overlooked but deeply disturbing chapter in the civil rights history of the country and Central Florida. It occurred before the race-based massacres in Rosewood and Tulsa. It was, in fact, a prelude to those horrific injustices. However, many people, even in the greater Orlando area – don’t even know it happened.

An untold number of people were killed, Black and white. It led to the lynching of one of Ocoee’s most successful Black businessmen, Julius ‘July’ Perry, in downtown Orlando. Described as the “single bloodiest day in modern American political history,” it brought about the forced removal of hundreds of Black citizens from Ocoee. Black people would not return to what would become Orlando’s western suburb for decades, many unaware of the area’s fraught racial past.

But for those family members who have heard the story of July Perry and Nov. 2, 1920, passed down from one generation to the next, the Ocoee Massacre remains an open wound.

You can catch the full documentary on Sunday, November 1st at 7p.m. on WFTV and streaming in the WFTV app.

Mobile users click here to see the documentary trailer.

Laurel Lee

Laurel Lee

Laurel Lee is a reporter for WDBO and produces various Ask the Expert shows on the weekend.





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