Scholarship fund created for descendants of Ocoee massacre victims
OCOEE, Florida – It’s a dark and often overlooked chapter in Florida’s past; 100 years ago, the largest incident of election day violence in U.S. history took place near Tampa Bay.
A new scholarship fund signed on Wednesday will directly benefit the descendants of the victims of the Ocoee massacre.
The Ocoee Election Day riot happened in 1920, all because a black man attempted to exercise his legal right to vote. Houses and churches were set on fire, an unknown number of African Americans were killed, and nearly all of the estimated 280 black residents living in Ocoee were driven from the city.
“It decimated this city, it destroyed the lives of these people,” said FL Senator Randolph Bracy. “This is an important step in this fight for justice in what has happened.”
AFTER: The Ocoee massacre in 1920: the largest incident of election day violence in the United States occurred in Florida 100 years ago
Northwestern Orange County lawmaker has championed turning this traumatic past into a brighter future. Starting this fall, the massacre will be taught in Florida classrooms, and now the descendants of the victims will be compensated.
âThe state had a role to play, the state supplied the crowds in 1920 at Ocoee and so there is a fiscal responsibility to reimburse these people for what the state did,â Bracy said.
This year’s budget includes the Randolph Bracy Ocoee scholarship. The state sets aside $ 305,000 per year to help 50 students. Those who apply must be related to a massacre victim, no matter what city or state they currently live in. Any remaining funds will be allocated to African American residents of Ocoee.
“I think it speaks to the unit and our society to recognize what happened,” said Bracy. “And I think it really brings healing to the descendants and our community here in Ocoee.”
Additional eligibility requirements are expected to be available from the FL Department of Education in July. Each scholarship will be $ 6,100.