The town of Rosewood, Florida was destroyed by a white vigilante mob in January of 1923. Centennial remembrance events will kick off on Jan. 7, 2023. (Maya Erwin/WUFT News)

Mark your calendar for Remembering Rosewood centennial events

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The Remembering Rosewood Centennial Committee curated a week of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the destruction of Rosewood – what had been a majority Black community in Levy County before a white vigilante mob murdered African American residents and set fire to the town in January of 1923.

The history largely remained a secret kept by survivors and their descendants until they began to share their stories to journalists in the 1980s.

Now, a half-dozen organizations have partnered to make sure it’s never buried again.

Browse the list of events below. Click on the hyperlinks for more information and to reserve a spot.

  • Centennial Kickoff
    • Saturday, Jan. 7, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Bo Diddley Community Plaza
    • 111 E. University Ave., Gainesville, FL, 32601
    • Free and open to the public
    • Live music, performances and more
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony
    • Sunday, Jan. 8, 2 p.m.
    • 123 State Road 24, Rosewood, FL 32625
    • Converging on the land which was once the prosperous community of Rosewood, Florida, the descendants of the eight surviving families will honor lost souls with a heartfelt wreath dedication hosted on the 5-acre property of Professor Marvin Dunn. The keynote will be presented by Gainesville City Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut.
    • Casual attire, comfortable, closed-toed shoes and insect repellent recommended.
  • Rosewood Docudrama Screening and Discussion
    • Thursday, Jan. 12, 7 p.m.
    • University of Florida – Levin College of Law Advocacy Center, Court Room
    • 300 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL, 32611
    • Join Kenneth Jones, writer and director of the Amazon Prime feature “My Music,” as he unpacks the filmmaking of the Rosewood docudrama. The film was vital to Rosewood descendants becoming the first African Americans to receive reparations in America.
    • Free
    • Reserve a spot
  • The Legacy Forum and Reception
    • Friday, Jan. 13, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
    • University of Florida – Levin College of Law Advocacy Center, Chesterfield Smith Classroom
    • 309 Village Dr., Gainesville, FL, 32611
    • What is an American legacy? Join a thought-provoking panelist conversation about the lost stories of American history, race relations, equality and the importance of generational wealth.
    • Free
    • Reserve a spot
  • A Conversation with the Next Generation
    • Friday, Jan. 13, 6 p.m.
    • University of Florida – J. Wayne Reitz Union, Rion Ballroom – 3rd Floor
    • 686 Museum Rd., Gainesville, FL, 32611
    • Those who do not know their history are destined to repeat it. A panel of distinguished speakers examine the juxtaposition of the “communities” of the past versus the “communities” of the present. Have our communities diminished or have they evolved? Has the definition of community changed? Has the value of experience, purpose and mission been passed on from generation to generation? What is more important – clout or community?
    • Followed by a social mixer
    • Free
    • Reserve a spot
  • Rosewood Movie Matinee and Q&A
    • Saturday, Jan. 14, 11 a.m.
    • University of Florida – Levin College of Law Advocacy Center – Court Room
    • 300 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL, 32611
    • Rosewood is the 1997 American historical drama film directed by John Singleton, inspired by the real life traumatic events that happened in 1923 in Rosewood, Florida. The film stars Ving Rhames and a stellar supporting cast. Meet these stars who brought this American history to the mainstream and ushered in a deeper conversation about reparartions in America. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session immediately following the screening.
    • Free
    • Reserve a spot
  • Awards Gala: Redefining the Next 100 Years
    • Saturday, Jan. 14, 7 p.m.
    • Hilton University of Florida Conference Center
    • 1714 SW 34th St., Gainesville, FL, 32607
    • Mouth-watering cuisine, curated cocktails, incredible music and special tributes to honor Rosewood’s trailblazers in one of the most prolific legal victories in American history. This awards gala will be an evening of excellence that will host influential celebrities from various professional spheres including entertainment, politics, business and academia. This exclusive event is promised to be an unforgettable journey of reflection, unity, and endless empowerment for the next 100 years and beyond.
    • Dress code: black tie
    • Tickets: $100 individual, $1,923 VIP sponsor tables of eight

Editor’s note: Descriptions were pulled from the event pages, edited and condensed.

About Katie Hyson

Katie Hyson is a Report for America Corps Member at WUFT News covering racial and rural inequities in East Gainesville and north central Florida. She can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org. Click here to learn how you can support her reporting.

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