27 episodes

A look back in history at a time of great promise and great disappointment for Black Americans who dreamed of and struggled for the promise of community and full citizenship.

Dreams of Black Wall Street Nia Clark

    • History

A look back in history at a time of great promise and great disappointment for Black Americans who dreamed of and struggled for the promise of community and full citizenship.

    S2 E7 Rosewood: The Community

    S2 E7 Rosewood: The Community

    Like atrocities of a similar nature, the tragedy of the Rosewood Massacre draws attention to the community of Rosewood. It makes us take notice. But once that attention is fixed on these communities, we begin to discover worlds that many of us had little to no knowledge of previously. Too often, the stories of these worlds have been hidden or distorted and the narrative. They've been controlled by people who have very little connection to or understanding about them. Yet, so much of our world today exists because of the worlds of our past.

    Similarly, Rosewood was far more than another Black community that was massacred. It was a world of real people, with names, and lives, hopes and dreams, problems, pain and fear. Although those who destroyed Rosewood tried to erase every sign of Black life, Rosewood's legacy lives on. However, the fact is, far too few people have any knowledge of what kind of community Rosewood really was before it was destroyed. Most of those who are familiar with Rosewood are only familiar with the massacre of Rosewood. This episode explores Rosewood as a community beginning from the days when it was first settled.

    Guests in this episode include historian and archivist, Sherry Sherrod DuPree of the Rosewood Heritage Foundation as well as archeologist and University of Florida lecturer, Dr. Edward Gonzalez-Tennant.

    Musical attributions

    1. Artist/Title: Axletree - Window Sparrows Licenses: Attribution 4.0 International URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree/Ornamental_EP/Window_Sparrows

    2. Artist/Title: Lobo Loco - Place on my Bonfire (ID 1170) Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Adventure/Place_on_my_Bonfire_ID_1170

    3. Artist/Title: Youssoupha Sidibe - Xaleyi Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Country?pageSize=20&page=1&sort=artist&d=1

    • 50 min
    S2 E6 Perry, FL: One Month Before the Rosewood Massacre

    S2 E6 Perry, FL: One Month Before the Rosewood Massacre

    Throughout much of the 20th century, Florida had been a Ku Klux Klan stronghold. Klansmen found friends in government who occupied offices on local, state and federal offices. By 1925 the Klan had about 3 million members nationwide. Three years later, their ranks began to shrink. In Florida, however, the Klan grew. Their strongest factions could be found in Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa and Orlando. Members of the Ku Klux Klan were often responsible for lynchings. From 1900 to 1930, Florida had the highest ratio of lynchings per capita (per capita being the average per person). Some scholars believe that, "Black men were more at risk of being lynched in Florida than any other state” and viewed Florida as a lynching capital.



    Lynching was not only a tool of terror and control - but also a response to the changing landscape of the country. Such was the case in a community not far from Rosewood called Perry Florida, where an attack eerily similar in nature took place just one month before the community of Rosewood perished at the hands of a mob similar to those who terrorized Perry. The attack could be viewed as a foreshadowing of what was to come at the start of the New Year in 1923. However, as Florida State University Professor, Meghan Martinez explains, such incidents were unfortunately much more common and than most people understand. They had become woven into the daily realities of Black Americans and minorities in Florida in the early 1900’s. 


    Listeners will also hear recordings of a talk given by Dr. Paul Ortiz. Professor Ortiz is the director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. He is also the author of a number of books, including Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920. Professor Ortiz teaches undergraduate courses and supervises graduate fields.

    Musical attributions

    1. Artist/Title: Axletree - Window Sparrows Licenses: Attribution 4.0 International URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree/Ornamental_EP/Window_Sparrows

    2. Artist/Title: Lobo Loco - Place on my Bonfire (ID 1170) Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Adventure/Place_on_my_Bonfire_ID_1170

    3. Artist/Title: Youssoupha Sidibe - Xaleyi Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Country?pageSize=20&page=1&sort=artist&d=1

    • 53 min
    Ep 5 Eatonville, FL: One of America's first incorporated all-Black towns Endures Before and After Rosewood

    Ep 5 Eatonville, FL: One of America's first incorporated all-Black towns Endures Before and After Rosewood

    Michigan state University English Professor, Julian Chambliss, explains that the idea of town or community creation is not an exception for African Americans. The idea of creating ones own community because one isn’t able to get a fair shake was actually a common response to conditions such as the end of Slavery, the end of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow. It was also one of the ways African Americans sought to carve out a path to the rights one enjoys as a full citizen of the United States such as voting, free and fair civic engagement, land ownership, the opportunity to prosper and education. A good example of this philosophy is the town of Eatonville, Florida. Eatonville is known as one of the first - and some would argue it is the first - incorporated all-Black town in the United States. Like Ocoee, Florida, which was explored in the previous two episodes, it is located in Orange County.   





    Eatonville represents what is possible when - despite great odds - a community pools its resources, leans on informal safety nets such as faith and strong communal ties, musters a sense of resilience that is only possible after enduring generations of hardship and shares a collective dream of a better tomorrow. It was founded at a time when it was difficult for Black Americans to acquire land because many southern land owners refused to sell to them. However, an African American man named Joseph Clarke envisioned an all black town and was determined to make it happen. He discussed the idea with two white former Republican Union officers named Captain Eaton and Captain Lawrence, who both supported the idea. Eaton and Lawrence were invested in the idea of moral capitalism and believed that helping Blacks to purchase their own land and manage their own community could be a mutually beneficial allyship. This is how Joseph Clark and 26 other African American men were able to come into possession of the land they needed to found Eatonville. What is unique about Eatonville, is that it is one of a small number of all-black towns or settlements formed after the Civil War that still exists today. Throughout this time, it continued to exist in the Jim Crow south and beyond without disruption by violent race-based assaults such as those experienced in Ocoee, Perry and Rosewood, Florida. This is one of the reasons that African Americans in Eatonville were able to prosper in its early years and why they enjoyed a sense of freedom and security many other African American communities in Florida at the time did not.     





    Guests in this episode include N.Y. Nathiri is an Executive Director for the Association to Preserve Eatonville Community as well as Michigan State University English Professor Julian Chambliss. Chambliss also has an appointment in History and the Val Berryman Curator of History at the MSU Museum at Michigan State University. In addition, he is a core participant in the MSU College of Arts & Letters’ Consortium for Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research (CEDAR).   





    Musical attributions 



    1. Artist/Title: Axletree - Window Sparrows Licenses: Attribution 4.0 International URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree/Ornamental_EP/Window_Sparrows 

    2. Artist/Title: Lobo Loco - Place on my Bonfire (ID 1170) Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Adventure/Place_on_my_Bonfire_ID_1170 

    3. Artist/Title: Youssoupha Sidibe - Xaleyi Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Country?pageSize=20&page=1&sort=artist&d=1

    • 1 hr 9 min
    S2 E4: 3 Years Before Rosewood - the Deadliest Election Day in US History (Part 2)

    S2 E4: 3 Years Before Rosewood - the Deadliest Election Day in US History (Part 2)

    A continuation of the exploration of the 1920 Ocoee Massacre. The Ocoee Massacre occurred three years before the Rosewood Massacre and followed a massive Black voter registration and get-out-the-vote movement in Florida. The movement was perceived as a threat to those who wished to keep Black Americans subjugated and as a result, many Black Americans who participated in the movement, who voted or attempted to vote, were targeted in violent attacks. Adding to the tensions was the enfranchisement of women as they gained the right to vote the same year that the Ocoee Massacre occurred, which potentially increased the number of people who could vote against one-party rule in Florida and those who attempted and ultimately succeeded in quashing the Black voter movement. 

    Understanding the Black experience in Florida sheds light on how tragedies such as the Rosewood Massacre or the Ocoee Massacre could occur without any form of justice or recourse for the victims. Events such as the Ocoee and Rosewood Massacres were a product of the sociopolitical and economic conditions born out of racial hatred that created the space for the Massacres to occur.  Attacks on Blacks and Black communities prior to the Rosewood Massacre served as stress tests that gauged the boundaries intended to keep those conditions in check. Each racially motivated act of violence that victimized Black people and minorities that went unpunished, pushed those boundaries further and further apart while providing a wider opening for those conditions to take their place. The cause of the Rosewood Massacre is summed up in a nearly 100 page report following a state commissioned study, which characterized it as a "a tragedy of American democracy and the American legal system." In other words. Democracy and the American legal system failed the Rosewood victims. An analysis of the Ocoee Massacre in relation to the Rosewood Massacre in this context illuminates how widespread that failure of democracy and justice was for Black people at the time. In other words the Rosewood Massacre could occur - in part - because of the ability of the perpetrators of the Ocoee Massacre and dozens of other attacks on African Americans and Black communities to carry out those acts of terror with impunity.

    Guests in this episode include several descendants of Ocoee Massacre victim, July Perry: Sha’ron Cooley Mcwhite, Gladys Betty Franks Bell as well as her brother, Aaron Franks. Listeners will also hear from Michigan State University English Professor Julian Chambliss. Chambliss also has an appointment in History and the Val Berryman Curator of History at the MSU Museum at Michigan State University. In addition, he is a core participant in the MSU College of Arts & Letters’ Consortium for Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research (CEDAR).

    Musical attributions

    1. Artist/Title: Axletree - Window Sparrows Licenses: Attribution 4.0 International URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree/Ornamental_EP/Window_Sparrows

    2. 2 Artist/Title: Lobo Loco - Place on my Bonfire (ID 1170) Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Adventure/Place_on_my_Bonfire_ID_1170

    3. 3. Artist/Title: Youssoupha Sidibe - Xaleyi Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Country?pageSize=20&page=1&sort=artist&d=1

    • 55 min
    S2 E3 3 Years Before the Rosewood Massacre: the Deadliest Election Day in U.S. History

    S2 E3 3 Years Before the Rosewood Massacre: the Deadliest Election Day in U.S. History

    Exactly 100 years ago, what is known as the bloodiest election day in American history left a grave and everlasting stain on Florida’s history. On Election Day 1920, a number of Black residents who lived in the town of Ocoee, Florida attempted to vote and were turned away. They included a man named Moses Norman who became very angry. Norman was one of the most prosperous Black men in the Orange County community. Some accounts suggest that Norman went to the home of his friend July Perry - another prominent Black entrepreneur in town, to tell Perry what happened. That evening, a mob of armed white men came to Perry’s home in search of Norman. Shooting broke out. Perry was captured and lynched. The mob turned its ire on Ocoee’s Black population. An unknown number of innocent African Americans were targeted and killed. Their homes and property were set on fire before burning to the ground. Most African Americans fled Ocoee and never to return. However, Ocoee is not the only place blood was spilled in Florida on Election Day of 1920. Beginning in 1919, a massive voter registration drive aimed at politically enfranchising Florida’s black community was underway. Many Blacks had planned to reap the fruits of their labor by casting their ballots on November 2nd of that year. Eventually, the voter registration movement spread to more than half of Florida's counties. Democrats - and particularly the Ku Klux Klan, became alarmed and viewed the movement as a threat to white supremacy in the south and launched their own repressive tactics to thwart the movement. That didn't stop thousands of African Americans from attempting to vote on November of that  Hundreds were turned away from the polls. Aside from Ocoee African Americans in Gadsden, Manatee and Liberty counties.

    In this episode, guests will hear an account of the Ocoee Massacre given by The Orlando Guy. Pamela Schwartz, Chief Curator of the Orange County Regional History Center will lend her expertise to help fill in some missing pieces to the puzzle of that tragic day.


    Musical attributions
    1.
    Artist/Title: Axletree - Window Sparrows
    Licenses: Attribution 4.0 International
    URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree/Ornamental_EP/Window_Sparrows
    2
    Artist/Title: Lobo Loco - Place on my Bonfire (ID 1170)
    Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
    URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Adventure/Place_on_my_Bonfire_ID_1170
    3.
    Artist/Title: Youssoupha Sidibe - Xaleyi
    Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US)
    URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Country?pageSize=20&page=1&sort=artist&d=1

    • 55 min
    S2 E2: Road to Rosewood

    S2 E2: Road to Rosewood

    The predominantly African American Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was not the only so-called Black Wall Street in the early part of the 20th century.   There were a number of thriving Black communities in the early 1900’s. Some were also known by the moniker, Black Wall Street. These were communities that were very much made up of working people, which some say resembled middle-class prosperity. Some of America’s firs Black millionaires called these communities home. Though it was not uncommon to find Black Americans of different classes or income levels living in these communities together.  Nevertheless, creating such communities was no small feat for African Americans of this time. Segregation, Jim Crow, racism and corruption made it next too impossible for many black Americans to pull themselves out of poverty. Not to mention slavery was only abolished several decades prior. These communities began to take shape as the Black Americans became more politically engaged and economically mobile as a result of Reconstruction. However, an aggressive and often violent backlash to the improvement of the conditions of African Americans began to take hold in parts of the country, particularly the South. Unfortunately, wealthy, well-off, financially advantaged African Americans during this time often had targets on their backs. And because of that, many of these thriving black communities were destroyed and many people in them were killed. One of these communities includes the once-primarily Black, self-sufficient town of Rosewood Florida. What happened in Rosewood was a symptom of larger trends happening across the country, including but not limited to: the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan; a systemic effort to undo the gains Black people made as a result of Reconstruction through policy, discrimination and other aggressive measures; a rise in lynchings and massacres of Black communities; backlash against Black veterans who had recently returned from World War 1; the formation and growth of Black resistance to power structures; and efforts of Black Americans to assert their voting rights, the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Guests in this episode include Dr. Nashid Madyun who is the director of the Meek-Eaton Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum on FAMU’s campus. Madyun is also a distinguished publisher and researcher. Listeners will also hear recordings of a talk given by Dr. Paul Ortiz. Professor Ortiz is the director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. He is also the author of a number of books, including Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920. Professor Ortiz teaches undergraduate courses and supervises graduate fields. 



    Musical attributions 

    1. Artist/Title: Axletree - Window Sparrows Licenses: Attribution 4.0 International URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree/Ornamental_EP/Window_Sparrows 

    2 Artist/Title: Lobo Loco - Place on my Bonfire (ID 1170) Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Adventure/Place_on_my_Bonfire_ID_1170 

    3. Artist/Title: Youssoupha Sidibe - Xaleyi Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US) URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Country?pageSize=20&page=1&sort=artist&d=1  

    • 1 hr 6 min

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