Photo credits: Warner Brothers Pictures
In retaliation to an attempt by African Americans to innocently use their legal and democratic right to vote, at least 50 of them were murdered during a brutal Election Day massacre in Ocoee, Florida on Nov. 2, 1920.
This horrific event in American history is now called the Ocoee Massacre.
On November 1, 1920, the day before the election, with robes and crosses, the Klan paraded through the streets of the two Black communities in Ocoee late into the night. With megaphones, they warned that “not a single Negro will be permitted to vote” and if any of them dared to do so there would be dire consequences.
Election Day (November 2) came and at least some Blacks did attempt to vote in Orange County; however, none were permitted to enter their respective polling places. White enforcers camped out around the centers and poll workers were given instructions to deflect their attempts.
One-by-one would-be Black voters were turned away either by threats of violence or by poll workers who found their names “mysteriously” absent from the voter registration rolls. Pollsters instructed them to get documentation from notary public R. C. Bigelow to verify that they were indeed registered to vote. Conveniently, however, Bigelow was unable to be located because he was out on a fishing trip that day (Byren 2014).
Watch The Ocoee Massacre: A Documentary Film below.
Reference: Byrne J. (2014, November 23) Ocoee On Fire: The 1920 Election Day Massacre. Retrieved from https://medium.com/florida-history/ocoee-on-fire-the-1920-election-day-massacre-38adbda9666e
*BlackThen.com writer/historian Victor Trammell edited and contributed to this report.