Contextualizing the 1923 Violence at Rosewood:
Race Riots and Lynchings in the US
Rosewood did not exist in a vacuum, and its connection to local, regional, and national markets and media greatly affected the community and its neighbors. In order to fully understand the importance of Rosewood we need to develop an awareness of its historical context. In relation to race riots and the lynchings that often initiated them, a number of useful resources exist. One such resource is Stewart Tolnay and E. M. Beck's notable work "A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930" which presents a sociological analysis placing such events in the Deep South within a broader historical, economic, and political backdrop. Their analysis allows other researchers to understand the complex web of social relationships that far too often resulted in these brutal acts between Whites and Blacks.
Additionally, the period between 1915-1924 represents a particularly volatile moment in US history. WWI had just ended, Hollywood was releasing movies which painfully stereotyped African Americans as hyper-sexual, deviant, and dangerous (e.g., Birth of a Nation), and the eugenics movement reached its apex in 1924 when its leaders were invited to re-write US immigration policy. Economically, the country was increasingly under the influence of irrational, labor-hostile forms of global Capitalism which have come to dominate the 20th century. Understanding how these changing trends interacted at various scales provides a deeper analytical framework for understanding the riot in Rosewood, and require new explanations regarding racially charged collective violence in all its forms throughout the 20th century.
continue to next section: Virtual Rosewood & the Redress Movement